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The Irreverent Vet Speaks Out on Owners That Want to Give Their Own Shots

I recently saw a client that gave all their own shots to their dog and puppies. One of the puppies came down with a disease that is generally prevented by vaccination – called Parvovirus. This brought the issues of pet owners giving their own shots to my attention.

The Irreverent Vet speaks out about his true thoughts. They are often not popular thoughts but none-the-less, you can be guarantee that they are honest.

What do I think of owners that want to give their own vaccines?

On one hand, I understand that they are probably doing it to save money. I understand this, I do.

But I don’t agree. I think that there are times to cut corners and times not to cut corners and health care is not one of them. If a pet owner can’t afford to give their pet shots – they probably can’t afford that pet. They probably shouldn’t have that pet.

There, I said it.

There are several reasons that veterinarians don’t recommend that owners give their own shots to their pets.

One nurse wanted me to sell her shots that she could give to her dogs and cats at home. Giving shots to a person is different than giving shots to a dog. I have seen a few pet owners bitten by their pets at home when giving vaccines. This is liability that I don’t want to even consider. I would NEVER give vaccines to an owner and expect them to give them at home. It is also important that the vaccine be given by the proper route. Some vaccines are to be given intramuscularly, some subcutaneously or intranasal. In cats, there are recommendations on where each vaccine is given on the body.

I actually saw one client give a vaccine (demonstrating how effective they are), entered the skin and came out on the other side of the skin – giving the vaccine on TOP of the skin. The vaccine was wasted – the pet did not effectively get the vaccine.

It is important that the vaccines be stored properly (at the proper temperature) for them to be effective. Most veterinarians feel they can guarantee what they do and how they store them but cannot make assumptions about how pet stores and/or owners store the vaccines.

If a pet is boarded, most boarding facilities will not honor home-vaccines. They cannot fully determine if the right vaccines were given at the right interval.

Consider the same thing in human medicine. Human hospitals and doctors don’t distribute flu shots to owners to give themselves or each other at home. Pediatricians don’t give parents vaccines to give to their children at home (even to doctors and nurses).

As with any medication or vaccination, there is always the possibility of an allergic reaction. Veterinarians are equipped to deal with this situation and most pet owners are not.

My Final Thoughts

I am sure it is more expensive to have “shots” done at your veterinarian but it is a way that you can ensure that the vaccine is of good quality, stored properly and given correctly. Don’t be cheap. Do the right thing for your pet.

That’s my opinion and that’s all I’ll say.

Feel free to disagree or give me your thoughts. Take our short survey, I’m curious about what you think.