How Much Is Too Much When Vaccinating Your Pets?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pets and vaccinations have been getting more attention lately, and vets are having to answer a lot of questions.

As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reports, some experts say that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Dog owner Harley Branitz believes a lot of pets are over-vaccinated.

“Just like we are concerned about children today and vaccinations and even adults, my last dog had a reaction to the rabies vaccination,” Branitz said, “and we don’t know a lot of information about what can happen over time.”

Veterinarian Dr. Bonnie Brown from Gotham Veterinary Center says there’s a lot of concern over giving pets too many vaccinations.

“Sometimes people will say to me I’m not going to vaccinate or I’m not going to give heartworm or I’m not going to give flea and tick preventative because I think it’s toxic and then I have to tell them what diseases are prevented by them and tell them they’re deadly diseases,” Dr. Brown said.

Whether you have a cat or a dog, experts say the best way to protect your pet is to ask your vet a lot of questions.

Dr. Brown says to ask if the vaccine is really necessary with your pet’s lifestyle, how often the vaccine needs to be given, and if your pet has any conditions that would make vaccinations unsafe.

Experts say the key is to vaccinate your pet depending on what environment they’re in.

“If they live in an apartment all the time they’re not going to need very many vaccines,” Dr. Brown said. “If they’re in the park or go to daycare, they’re playing with a lot of other dogs then there’s a different need for vaccines, same thing with cats.”

Susan Warner says she wishes she didn’t have to give her dog Winston so many vaccinations, but three-years-ago she lost little Benjie from complications of Lyme disease.

“I think the Lyme vaccination is important and leptospirosis, which you can get from rat droppings and things they can die from here, so I really don’t think I have a choice,” Warner said.

She says Winston will get all the shots he needs to stay safe.

You can also ask your vet about a simple blood test that will show what vaccines your pet needs.

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