You've heard the excuses: "My Fluffy never goes outside," or "I've had pets my whole life, and I've never had a problem, so
why do I need to vaccinate now?" To help take the frustration out of these conversations, Liza W. Rudolph, LVT, CVT, a technician
with the internal medicine service at VCA Newark Animal Hospital in Newark, Del., offers these tips.
1 Remind clients that the benefits of recommended vaccines outweigh the risks. "Vaccination has been used in companion animals for more than 40 years, and it has been effective in controlling many major
infectious diseases," Rudolph says. "Through the proper use of vaccines, many diseases are seen infrequently, and they may
even be eliminated in the future. This can lull pet owners into a false sense of security. Without continued vigilance, these
diseases can quickly rebound and become large problems again." Adverse reactions to vaccines are possible, Rudolph says, but
most are rare and of little significance in otherwise healthy pets.
2 Discuss the risks of zoonotic diseases and the threat to public health. "Rabies is a fatal viral disease that affects many species, including humans, and it's still seen in practice," Rudolph says.
"Not only is it deadly, but the legal ramifications of non-compliance can be severe, particularly when a non-vaccinated animal
bites a human or is exposed to wildlife." Remind clients that you're required to follow state and local regulations when you
schedule rabies vaccination in companion animals. Without any proof of vaccination, the owners may be put in the difficult
situation of placing their pet in quarantine—or even euthanizing their beloved pet.
3 Explain that vaccination recommendations are tailored to the pet. The veterinarian considers the pet's age, lifestyle, and medical problems when she formulates a vaccine protocol for a particular
patient, Rudolph says.
"There are many sources of misinformation," she says. "As members of the veterinary team, it's our responsibility to educate
concerned pet owners."