Why is it unnecessary and unethical to vaccinate our pets annually?

Well-respected and widely revered Homeopathic Veterinarian Don Hamilton has written this article on pet vaccinations, and in my opinion it is one every pet owner should read.

The gist:

A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccinations. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains for years, allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic (secondary) response when exposed to virulent organisms.
— Don Hamilton, DVM
  • there is some argument that vaccinating across the board allows those pets with weaker immune systems who would otherwise have succombed to disease (survival of the fittest) are now protected from them, and thus contributing weaker immune systems to the overall population
  • studies are being conducted to identify if the increase in behaviour problems in dogs is related to the increase in regular vaccinations
  • booster (annual) vaccines are completely unnecessary.  Increased exposure to the disease causes increased risk of problems and side effects
  • There are 4 rules which vets should be following.  

            Only give vaccinations to an animal if:

  1. the disease is serious or life-threatening
  2. the animal is likely to be exposed to the disease
  3. the vaccine is known to be effective
  4. the vaccine is considered safe
  • vaccinations should NEVER be given to unhealthy or stressed animals
  • an unvaccinated animal is far less likely to suffer from allergies and chronic skin problems
  • vaccinations are often administered directly into body tissue, getting a 'jump start' on the immune system and causing it to react with a delayed response (Diseases usually enter the animal's sytem through oral and nasal passages, giving the bloodstream and internal organs much lead time, often as many as several days to form a defense, by comparison.)
  • vaccinations commonly contain dangerous and harmful materials which can cause other health problems and disease, but often taking years to manifest so correlation is difficult to fathom
  • fear-mongering in the traditional pet medicine circles
  • guilt feelings associated with peer and societal fear of disease and expectations of what makes up competent, loving animal care