Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spay or neuter your pets - and don't forget to vaccinate your kids

Growing up, I remember watching The Price is Right more often than is probably healthy. I rarely watched it at home. It was usually at my girlfriend's house or something, but one of the things I remember - that most people remember - is Bob Barker reminding people to spay or neuter their pets.

It was good advice. We had mostly male cats growing up, and it saved on cleaning up after spraying. What females we had, we never had to worry about ending up with a mittful of kittens we couldn't get rid of. It's a surgical procedure, and it comes at some risk to the animal, but the end results justified it. It just made life a little easier, a little more convenient.

Cats - feral cats, specifically - can be a potent vector for disease. They're also, well, cats, and packs of wild creatures roaming the city streets could get dangerous for dogs, others pets and even small children. Read any book on feral animal packs and you'll inevitably come to a chapter on the horrible things that packs of feral domestics can come up with the keep themselves entertained. In these situations, routine spaying and neutering pets doesn't just make life a little easier, it can save lives.

Vaccination has of late unfortunately become regarded as something that we do as a matter of convenience, because parents just don't want to deal with a child have measles, the mumps or chicken pox. And it's also become demonized, the risks of vaccination blown vastly out of proportion and distorted beyond recognition with the actual underlying science.

Lately, there have been reports of schools closing due to high rates of pertussis. Measles is being reported for the first time in decades. Herd immunity is being damaged by parents and caregivers who believe that vaccines cause autism, that they contain aborted fetus DNA, that they have dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

Yes, vaccination carries risk. There can be serious side effects, and you should discuss vaccination with your doctor, as should anyone seeking medical treatment for a child, but please, consider carefully whether you want the higher levels of infant mortality and child mortality of yesteryear to return.

And, no, I'm not saying that kids are only as important as your pets. I know for myself that my boys are much more important to me, but it is precisely because of this that I want to do everything I can to protect them, and vaccination is a way to keep them safe that has been proven safe and effective.

No comments:

Post a Comment