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Don't give annual vaccinations?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'd never heard of not giving my cats their annual vaccinations until I read it mentioned last night in a thread on this site.

If you don't give your animals annual immunizations, could you please explain to me why? Which vaccinations do you give only once? My sweet Lily is going for her annuals in January, and I might want to reconsider. Thanks in advance.

Cheers, from

p.s. What does your veterinarian say? Do you encounter resistance?
post #2 of 17
I take my cats in once a year for their vaccines. I am however re-thinking the rabies vaccine for Reilly this year. Last year he had a very serious allergic reaction that caused him to have a seizure.
post #3 of 17
Ginger got her 2nd annual rabies shot in September and had such a bad reaction to it that my vet told me in no uncertain terms that she is never, EVER to get another vaccination as long as she lives. They will give me a special rabies shot waiver form to hold in the event that the city ever requires proof of vaccination (which should never happen anyway.)

As far as Ferris goes, we'll see what they say when I bring him in for his annual next fall.
post #4 of 17
My last vet used to skip vaccinations once they got older as long as people committed to having them in for an annual exam. But he didn't recommend under the following circumstances:

- people that rescue animals where new potential diseases could come into the house unexpectedly
- indoor/outdoor cats
- indoor cats that were exposed to indoor/outdoor cats
- young to middle aged cats

Basically, if you had a stable household where all the cats lived indoors and they had gone thru their rounds of vaccinations in their youth, or if they had previous adverse reactions to them, then he would skip them.
post #5 of 17
Even though the vaccines are rated as lasting a year, they actually last longer than that. Some vets will do blood titers to check for immunity and give only vaccines needed when they are needed. Other vets have adopted a protocol for giving them every three years. Many if not most vets still give them annually. There can be problems arising from over vaccinating is why some vets have cut down on them as much as possible and still be controlling disease in companion animals. I have a cat who also had an allergic reaction to his one year vaccinations. He comes up for a rabies shot next summer. I don't know if it was the rabies shot or another one but the vet gives him a shot of benadryl 20 minutes before vaccinating. It has worked with the other shots but this will be his first rabies shot since having a reaction. The reaction wasn't too bad the first time but I know allergic reactions with the next exposure can be worse.
post #6 of 17
My current vet uses the three yr protocal if you want it .. but she believes the vaccines last much longer and will titer if requsted...

For my clan two are or will be at next shot time the age of ten and thus my vet doesnt deem it nesseasary to vaccinate and she showed me studies about the possible harm...

My youngest had a bad reaction and thus like Ginger will NEVER get shots again
post #7 of 17
I've read and been told that the rabies vacc only needs to be done once every 2 or 3 years for indoor only cats.
post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by Jokieman View Post
I've read and been told that the rabies vacc only needs to be done once every 2 or 3 years for indoor only cats.
There is a three year shot and in most places it is avail... there are many folks using the old one yr for three yrs... Newest vet protocal is 3 yrs in MOST places
post #9 of 17
They have reevaluated the frequency of vaccinations because they found the shots lasted longer than thought and the large numbers of carcinomas resulting from vaccinations. Here are the recommendations from the Winn Feline foundation.
post #10 of 17
thanks for the link kata. At the very least, the cat should be given rabies vaccinations (unless they have had an adverse reaction). I have heard of cats having to be put down and decapitiated because they bit a vet or vet tech and needed to be tested. In some states, such practice is mandatory. In my state the vet can choose either a 10 day holding period or a more drastic one such as euthanasia.
post #11 of 17
Here in Hawaii rabies inoculations are not required. Hawaii is rabies free due to strict laws requiring inoculation or quarantine of any animal entering the state.

The usual practice in my vets office has been to give upper respiratory inoculations yearly and FeLV inoculations if the cat goes outdoors or has medical problems that would make him/her susceptible to the virus. There are two vets in the office that I deal with. One vet continues to believe in yearly inoculations. Three of my cats see him and have been getting yearly inoculations. The other vet has offered the option of inoculations every two years. The other four cats see her and are on an alternate year schedule. Next year when the three come up for their annual exams I plan to ask about alternate year inoculations for them as well.
post #12 of 17
I will be having my indoor only cat vaccinated annually, because he has had no adverse reaction to previous vaccinations. If he had a reaction I wouldn't have it done, except for panleukopenia which could be brought in on our shoes from outside.

We don't vaccinate for rabies as we are free of rabies in this country, and being an island with strict quarantine regulations, it is not necessary.
post #13 of 17
My 4 year old cat Sho hasn't had this years annual round as last year's vaccinations left him sick for three days. When I took him in for a dental cleaning a few months ago I discussed with the vet about getting him on a three year vaccination plan, he promptly stated " that will cost a lot more". Since the dental work left my cat sick as well and the vet and vet tech again tried to push vaccinations the same day I lost pretty much all respect for that vet and switched to another.
The outdoor kitty Max on the other hand is a different matter, he's bitten me once and could do so again (still thinks he's a moody tom), so it's better for the cat and I that he's vaccinated yearly.
post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
They have reevaluated the frequency of vaccinations because they found the shots lasted longer than thought and the large numbers of carcinomas resulting from vaccinations. Here are the recommendations from the Winn Feline foundation.
Thanks for the link!

I will most likely continue to vaccinate Damita yearly until I can figure out why she gets sick all the time. Otherwise, I think I'll go the two to three years. I'm still not sure as I have not been able to find enough reputable information about vaccianting.
post #15 of 17
Vaccinations in Veterinary Medicine: Dogs and Cats
by Don Hamilton, DVM
A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual re-vaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccinations. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains for years, allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic (secondary) response when exposed to virulent organisms. Only the immune response to toxins requires boosters (e.g. tetanus toxin booster, in humans, is recommended once every 7-10 years). And no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs and cats. Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response as a result of interference by existing antibody (similar to maternal antibody interference). The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law (i.e., certain states require annual revaccination for rabies).

Summary: Yearly "boosters" are unnecessary, provide no benefit if given (will not increase immunity). Thus boosters are either a legal issue (Rabies) or a manipulation issue (inducing clients to come in for examination rather than directly suggesting an examination).

Personally, I could go on & on w/the subject of vaccines...it is a personal decision.

For more info: http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/petvacc2.htm
post #16 of 17
It's unfortunately the law to give rabies here in Cook County and I have enough students who are minors that come through my house that I feel like it's really important damage control to keep that updated. Wouldn't want to be sued by someone's parents and have my cats euthanized because some kid accidentally gets bit at some point. So I do that. I don't WANT to, but I do.

As for PCR, well, I do the one year dose every 3 years, but I'm thinking that when they're all safely out of "youth" I'm going to deep-six that. Raphael had one at 7, so he's probably good to go. The other two are younger and will need to be updated once or twice more, I think. This is what my vet reccommends. He says it's important they been updated at least intermittently when they are young (provided they have no adverse reactions), but that there is no reason in the world to vaccinate an older cat, especially with increased risks.
post #17 of 17
My vet - just feline practice- does shots every three years.
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