Is There a Risk of Overvaccination in Pets?

September 19, 2018

Richard Ford, DVM, MS, professor emeritus at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses alternatives for pet owners who are concerned about overvaccination.

Richard Ford, DVM, MS, professor emeritus at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses alternatives for pet owners who are concerned about overvaccination.

"From the client's perspective, who as we discussed earlier, clients are often parents and there is a concern about overvaccination of children—particularly the issue of measles, mumps, rubeola and autism spectrum disorders. Now I want to be clear, that has been disproven categorically, scientifically disproven, there is no cause and effect relationship between those.

But yet, this is in fact spilling over into veterinary medicine and clients are concerned about giving too many vaccines to a pet, dog or a cat. And one of the options that exists out there for clients who are asking for alternatives, and this does happen, is you can do an antibody titer. In other words, draw blood and you can test the individual for the presence of antibody in the blood that says this animal is protected or it is not. And the tests, which are available commercially or you can buy in-house test kits, are good, they work.

And a positive test for parvo, for distemper, correlates with protection. So, you've got a resource tool that you can use. And in the AAHA guidelines we have a section on antibody testing. Really a good section, something that veterinarians should look at if they're interested in helping a client decipher this risk of vaccine."