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Are Low-Cost Vaccine Buses a Scam? Don't Put Your Pet at Risk

Based on an article that first appeared at

You've surely driven around your city and seen signs for a low-cost vaccine bus. As a mobile service, it seems like a pretty convenient way to stretch the dollar and still make sure your pet stays healthy, right? Let us explain why that’s so very wrong.

Many might say to those of us in the veterinary community, “Of course you’re against low-cost vaccine pop-ups—they hurt your bottom line.” Part of that is true, but that’s because we can see that they often don’t have you or your pet’s best interests at heart. Devotion to your pets isn't just a marketing ploy—it's at the heart of why we became veterinarians in the first place. It’s why we come to work every day, and it’s why we are committed to continuing education and to learning how we can better help your pets live their best lives for as long as possible.

low fee mobile vaccinations unsafe

One Size Does NOT Fit All For Pet Vaccinations

Low-cost vaccine pop-ups are temporary setups that have the goal of getting as many animals vaccinated as possible. Do they ask you about your pet’s lifestyle, breed, where they go, who they come in contact with, and what their previous vaccine and medical histories are? There are many different types of vaccines available and not all are recommended for every pet, and not every pet needs vaccines every year. We don’t want to over-vaccinate your pet. Therefore, we give each pet their own individualized dog vaccination and cat vaccination protocols.

Low-Cost Vaccinations Don't Come With Safety Screenings

Your pet must be healthy enough to receive vaccinations; that’s why we perform a thorough wellness examination when we see your pet. For new clients, we ask to review the pet's previous medical records to look for any past reactions to vaccinations.

At mobile clinics, if the pet is given an exam at all, it’s usually just a quick look at the eyes, ears, and nose. If a reaction occurs hours or days later, is the veterinarian on the bus available to see your pet?

The lack of pre-vaccination exams becomes an even bigger concern because some vaccine buses have:

  • Purchased inferior vaccines
  • Purchased fake vaccines
  • Stored vaccines at improper temperatures
  • Gotten vaccines from illegitimate sources 

We use only vaccines from legitimate, well-known, and trusted pharmaceutical companies with decades of experience behind them.

low fee mobile vaccinations can be unsafe

The True and Dangerous Cost of Low-Fee Vaccines

Finally and probably most importantly, the biggest reason we do not recommend “low cost” mobile clinics is because all too often they end up hurting owners financially. When a low-cost clinic vet performs their brief “exam” and declares the pet healthy enough for vaccination, the pet parent can be misled into thinking that everything is fine, even when it isn’t. This also leads to the misconception that vaccines are all that’s required to keep a pet healthy.

You and your pet’s relationship with your vet, regular exams—including diagnostic lab work when needed, and the education we provide on caring for pets are all invaluable to the health and wellness of your pet. It’s also the most economical way to provide the care your pet needs in situations where early disease would have been detected and addressed during a regular vaccine appointment. Diseases are much more difficult and expensive to treat when they are identified after they’ve been allowed to progress. And if you can save your pet emotional and physical distress, won't you do that?

Anytime we decide to cut costs in our spending, we have to ask ourselves, “Will there be a loss of quality and, if so, will it be worth the savings I receive?” It’s our hope after reading this article that you will agree: low-cost vaccines aren’t worth the cost to your pet. If you want to know more about getting your pet on a safe vaccination schedule, give us a call.


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