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BOOSTERS – Are they really necessary?

Primary (puppy) vaccination is essential if the major killer diseases that were rife only a relatively short time ago are not to once more become a scourge. However there is evidence today that some vaccine injections may not be essential.

If you have any concerns in this area please do not hesitate to discuss them with us. The problem is one of risk and benefits. There is no evidence that annual booster vaccination is anything but beneficial to the majority. To establish whether boosters are really necessary, blood tests are necessary which are usually more stressful and certainly cost more than a simple revaccination. Recently, published surveys have shown conclusively that omitting to re-inoculate against some of the major diseases can put pets at risk.

I would prefer my pet to have boosters only when necessary. Is this possible?

It is possible but the level of immunity against any of the inoculable diseases has to be established by individual blood tests (although there is currently no reliable blood test for Leptospirosis immunity). That immunity has to be boosted and cost factors have to be considered. The inoculation against a single disease is likely to cost as much as a multivalent vaccine and at present there is no scientific evidence that annual multivalent boosters actually cause harm. Obviously from your pet’s point of view it is preferable to receive one injection than a series. Also manufacturers have to submit evidence to the Veterinary Medicine Directorate (VMD) regarding the efficacy of all the components of the vaccine and the fact that the vaccine is safe before the product licence is issued.

Are there any other advantages of annual vaccination?

The annual booster appointment also involves a thorough health check – ears, eyes, heart and chest are all examined; dental, ear, heart and other problems frequently come to light during this examination and can be successfully treated because the condition has been detected early in its course.

As a result of the annual booster vaccination programme, major fatal diseases once common are now seldom seen. However, if you have genuine concerns and would prefer to have regular health checks and discuss revaccination of either all or some of the inoculable diseases please contact us and we will arrange this.