There's been plenty of debate about childhood vaccinations, but what about the shots we give to the family dog?
The poor mutt can be in line for 16 different vaccines a year, although they're often given in one shot. They are supposed to offer protection against rabies, and various canine viral infections, along with other, milder, conditions such as Lyme disease.
But, as with our children, dogs can also develop side effects, such as skin rash, allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases. Cats that have been vaccinated have suffered even worse reactions, including the development of malignant tumours.
So are we vaccinating our pets too often and with too much? Canine vaccine experts in America believe that we are. Like humans, dogs could be vaccinated at an early age and be protected for life, instead of being given annual 'top-up' shots, they say. At the very least, the core vaccines, including rabies, should not be given more than once every three years.
(Source: Journal American Animal Hospital Association, 2003; 39: 119-31).