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Opinion Letters Annual vaccinations could be potentially harmful

I agree with Ms. Shower's letter last week stating that the $5 cost of a rabies vaccination at the public clinic does not cover the costs involved in administering the shot. Obviously, it does not. Anyone who has their pet cared for by a vet understands the costs of running an office, not to mention the educational requirements for the vet. Veterinarians deserve to be well rewarded. I am glad to employ a vet that we trust.

However, the statement that the myriad costs listed by Ms. Showers: "one-year vaccine, syringe, needle, cost of tag, vaccine storage, technical support wages, veterinarian's time, cost of the license and continuing education needed to maintain the license to be able to administer the vaccines, the liability insurance necessary to participate nor the time both veterinarians, their staff and administrative help lost with their families" make it sound like each rabies shot should cost hundreds of dollars just to break even! (Is that list a little over the top?) Maybe then we would be offered a three-year certificate. The three-year and one-year vaccines are identical in cost, and the vaccine is also the same, according to numerous sources.

Fortunately, the other preventive medications routinely required by dogs are available at Seay's, Tractor Supply, and other local sources. If one has a healthy canine and a little knowledge, you can administer these medications yourself without a visit to the vet. (You must save your receipts in case you need to board your dog; the kennel will need to view or copy them.) Rabies is different, and it should be. In order to have assurance, for public protection, the vaccine needs to be administered by someone licensed to do so. We need to be certain of the quality of the vaccine and the injection.

In 2003, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) revised its vaccination guidelines, recommending that vets vaccinate adult dogs only every three years – not annually. Many enlightened veterinarians changed their canine healthcare protocols to reflect the guidelines, and now suggest annual wellness examinations with vaccinations only every three years. In Whole Dog's Journal's opinion (and that of the experts they consult), "annual vaccination for most canine diseases is unnecessary and potentially harmful. Dog owners should avoid employing those oldfashioned veterinarians who recommend annual vaccines."

Tom Hill — Otto, N.C.


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