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Senior Cat Vaccinations?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
The search function won't work for me right now.

I'm looking for links on why you shouldn't vaccination your senior cat that are reliable....trudging through so many I'm not getting far.

If anyone could provide any - that would be great!

FYI - the cats in question are 13 years old...there are 5 of them ranging from I *think* 7 to 13.
post #2 of 21
I am not sure what websites lie or tell the truth but my vet said no more shots for Coco because she is old.
post #3 of 21
Hi there,

I did a bit of a search and really couldn't find much. Most of what I found was just "canned" recommendations that senior cats continue to receive their boosters.

I did find this page, and toward the bottom of it, it speaks to whether one should give boosters to their senior; what situations you shouldn't, etc. It also mentioned that you can have your Vet do bloodwork to run titres (antibody level) on the various things your cat has previously been vaccinated. This makes the most sense to me. If bloodwork reveals the cat is still immune to "whatever", why give them a booster?

I have 5 indoor cats, ranging in ages from about 10 yrs to 16 yrs. I stopped vaccinating them years ago. It was actually a good Vet I had wayyyyyyyy back then who told me that with his own cats, he only vaccinated them (boosters) every 3 years. That got me to thinking and reading. As a result, I decided not to continue vaccinating. They've never come down with anything, not even so much as an upper respiratory infection.....we've been very lucky.

However, my 2nd oldest, Taco, has vaccine associated sarcoma. That's a tough one for me. It says a cat can develop this, up to 13 yrs after their last vaccination (that would be about right for him). This makes me angry. He's a gorgeous cuddly big boy who's underwent 2 lump removal surgeries (Apr and May) but the tumor returned, with a vengence. He now has a large scruff tumor the size of half an egg, and one on his right side near shoulder blade that's about an inch from the scruff tumor. They don't seem to be bothering him at all, he seems very healthy otherwise, maintaining his weight of 18.5 lbs, appetite good............but it makes me angry that something I gave to protect him will be what takes him.

Oops, here's the link to that article:

http://cats.about.com/cs/vaccination...cination_2.htm

I guess there's a lot of things to consider when making the decision. Does the cat ever go outside? Ever come into contact with non-vaccinated cats? Does the cat have any chronic health issues? Any problems with the immune system? Any previous reaction to a vaccine/booster?

As far as I'm concerned, boosters are the brain-children of Vets who want to make $$. Why do some tell owners they MUST continue yearly while other Vets say every 3 years? Makes you wonder. I'm an RN and I'm all for children being vaccinated........but lets be real, humans don't continue to receive boosters for the remainder of their lives so why would an animal? Maybe my cats are just lucky but to me, they're living proof that cats can live a healthy life without them. I used to remember how the boosters would make 2 of them so ill for a few days. That's a huge assault to their bodies. Just my 2 CDN cents :-)
post #4 of 21
My lucy died from because of a shot at age 11 and I still blame myself.
post #5 of 21
Some vaccinations are made to last 3 years, and that's why they only get them every 3 years.

I don't want my nearly 13-yr old cat to receive vaccinations anymore...she's indoors only and doesn't come in contact with any other 'stranger' cats. My two younger cats have had their kitty vaccinations only...so far, neither has received his rabies shot...I've sort of snuck that one by the Vet's and no one has hounded me yet.

It is going to be really hard to convince my Vet's not to vaccinate the cats...I may have to try looking for a holistic Vet...I just don't like the thought of those shots. Fortunately, she has received the 3-yr shots for the last two times (6 yrs), but she still has to receive the rabies shot....it's the law.

And, our ER Vet office will only treat vaccinated pets. So, what do you do when you need an ER Vet, and your cat has not had vaccinations????
post #6 of 21
Mine just get the flu and enteritis parts, they have never been done for FeLV, as I feel they have a natural immunity to it, as most cats over the age of 8 do, regardless of previous vaccs. I dont think I would get mine done if I didnt foster though, as they hardly leave the house, but I know that mine are the only vacc'd ones on the street, so they could come into contact with un-vacc'd if they went out. Mine are 16 and 18.5
post #7 of 21
I wish I had saved my research before. I have found many ongoing research showing that it does more harm than good after 1 year of age. Unfortunately/fortunately my cats go in the backyard during the summer (with supervision) and our neighbors have dogs. I rather get the rabies vaccination then worry about what would happen if there was a fight. I opted for the 3-year shot though state law requires every year.
post #8 of 21
Nabu isn't due for his distemper shot again until he's 13 (he's 11 yrs old now). I will decide to revax for that based on his health and what his vet says (her specialty is feline medicine). But I'm leaning towards not continuing the distemper shots. He's had a history of reactions, had annual boosters for years, then we found a vet who did 3-yr cycles.
We use the Purevax Rabies vaccine. We will continue with the Rabies vaccine (required by law) until the vet feels he's not healthy enough for it.

The city (required licensing for cats here--you get tickets, etc if you don't) allows for not vaccinating for Rabies due to health, you need a written letter from your vet though. We did that for Raven since he had Fibrosarcoma and his health was quite fragile. Some neighboring cities don't have the health loophole and I feel bad for the animals living there.
post #9 of 21
Very interesting thread. I've know lots of cats in my college years that never got vax and have lived long healthy lives. My two are actually over due and I would skip it except I would like to have a Sr. panel run of Frankie just to ckeck everything out and since I rent they must be vaxed to be on the lease.
post #10 of 21
My vet uses only Purevax vaccines. Rabies is mandatory where I live, and I get them distemper also. I don't know what I will do in the future...
post #11 of 21
I have read quite a bit about this topic and have two books about it. But I still remain somewhat unsure about it for younger pets. For older pets, I am more convinced it is something of an insult to their systems. Having said that, I did stop getting boosters for my late Casey when he was about 10. He had never handled his shots especially well - lethargic, sparse eating for a day or two, etc. And he was an inside cat who never had any contact with dogs or other cats. So I felt pretty confident in my decision to do that. When I discussed it with my vet, while I cannot say she actually agreed, she did not contradict my rationale for the decision.

So I believe it is a discussion that needs to be held with your vet. Either you both agree and come to a mutual decision, you agree to disagree or you move on to someone who shares your philosophy of pet care. I feel that by a certain age, pets have all the immunity they need and this can be confirmed by titer testing if you are at all unsure. That is what I ended up doing.

post #12 of 21
post #13 of 21
I don't vaccinate beyond the two year mark.
My cats are all indoors and low/no risk.

After discussing things with a few vets, we concluded that it is not needed.

Spaz is 14 (15 in March), her last vax were when she was 9-10 (due to severe reaction I'll never put her through that again), her last titer showed an adequate level of antibodies.

We as humans get our vax as kids, we do not continue getting them throughout our life.
While I know that cats and humans are not the same animal, I also know that vax work in the same ways no matter what the mammal being vaccinated is.
post #14 of 21
My senior kitty is due for her annual check-up and shots this month. I've been debating on which shots to give her. She will get the 3 yr rabies shot, as rabies is required in our state. You have to specifically ask for the 3yr rabies or they'll give them the 1 yr shot. She's not been getting any other shots except rabies for the past couple of years, but I've noticed that she's been getting URIs several times a year, so I might see if they can give her just the rhino... (whatever that one's called) shot and not the rest of them.

The vet and I almost had a knock-down drag-out over not giving her anything except the rabies shot when I decided to do that a couple years ago, but seeing as how he still sees her several times a year for her kidney evals, he's okay with it now.

Stephanie
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanietx View Post
My senior kitty is due for her annual check-up and shots this month. I've been debating on which shots to give her. She will get the 3 yr rabies shot, as rabies is required in our state. You have to specifically ask for the 3yr rabies or they'll give them the 1 yr shot. She's not been getting any other shots except rabies for the past couple of years, but I've noticed that she's been getting URIs several times a year, so I might see if they can give her just the rhino... (whatever that one's called) shot and not the rest of them.

The vet and I almost had a knock-down drag-out over not giving her anything except the rabies shot when I decided to do that a couple years ago, but seeing as how he still sees her several times a year for her kidney evals, he's okay with it now.

Stephanie
I might consider this at my kitties check up. They are both indoor only and I don't plan on adding another cat any time soon. I need to see what's required by my state and my leasing office.
post #16 of 21
And just a reminder to those that are opting out of vaccinations for their older cats. They still should have annual exams, and once they hit senior status, they should have an annual geriatric profile, which would include blood tests to see if anything has changed from the previous year.

My old vet didn't push vaccinations past the age of about 8, but also complained about the number of people that simply stopped bringing in their oldsters after that age. This is when they need different types of monitoring. We live with them every day and don't always notice changes them that occur over time. Your vet can spot changes from the previous year.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
And just a reminder to those that are opting out of vaccinations for their older cats. They still should have annual exams, and once they hit senior status, they should have an annual geriatric profile, which would include blood tests to see if anything has changed from the previous year.
Absolutely. That is a very good point. Nabu, my older cat, gets an annual blood panel and thyroid check now (twice a year for the really older cats). Stimpy will be starting that soon, I think we have another year or 2 though.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
And just a reminder to those that are opting out of vaccinations for their older cats. They still should have annual exams, and once they hit senior status, they should have an annual geriatric profile, which would include blood tests to see if anything has changed from the previous year.

Good point and a great reminder, something I hadn't considered when I posted, I know I shouldn't take it as a given that people just do this as a matter of course just because I do.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
Good point and a great reminder, something I hadn't considered when I posted, I know I shouldn't take it as a given that people just do this as a matter of course just because I do.
I lot of people take this for granted, however, hearing my vet get all riled up about the topic, I know a lot of people don't understand this fact. My vet didn't rile easily.
post #20 of 21
Good point, and one I should have mentioned too, it is one of my big things with oldies!! Mine get 6 monthly checkups, with the most comprehensive bloods yearly. Vet doesn't see a need to do 6 monthly bloods yet, despite the girls being 16 and 18.5. I dont understand people who dont ever take their cats to the vets until they are poorly
post #21 of 21
Coco has blood tests this month.
She goes so often that everytime we call they say is this for Coco.
She has Crf now though.
Meeko who is 8.5 goes once a year for senior blood panels.
Hers was good last time.
Cleo will never get the Leukemia shot.
It is in the contract from the breeder never to give it to her.
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