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I Avoid Taking My Cats to the Vet...

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
...unless absolutely necessary (UTI, other illness).

But after discussing senior cat food and folks asking me if I've had a senior cat panel done, I'm worried that I'm making a mistake!

The reason I've avoided yearly shots is because
1. I have strictly indoor cats that have never escaped and do not spend time around other cats
2. I've heard that getting shots year after year (especially in the same spot) can lead to cancer/other probs (though I'm starting to question this line of thinking and wonder were I got it in the first place)

What's necessary in terms of annual veterinary visits for my cats and what isn't? I have two 12-year-olds and one 4-year-old.
post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by anjhest View Post
...unless absolutely necessary (UTI, other illness).

But after discussing senior cat food and folks asking me if I've had a senior cat panel done, I'm worried that I'm making a mistake!

The reason I've avoided yearly shots is because
1. I have strictly indoor cats that have never escaped and do not spend time around other cats
2. I've heard that getting shots year after year (especially in the same spot) can lead to cancer/other probs (though I'm starting to question this line of thinking and wonder were I got it in the first place)

What's necessary in terms of annual veterinary visits for my cats and what isn't? I have two 12-year-olds and one 4-year-old.
I don't give annual boosters to the majority of my cats either - and please, don't question the line of thinking as Feline Vaccination Sarcomas are a very real possibility in some cats and there is no inexpensive way to know if your cat is one who might develop this until it is too late to do anything about it. My cats are also strictly indoor only and do not escape without being immediately caught and carted back into the house. No interaction with "foreign" cats is permitted at all except for my stud boy, Tonka, who sees a couple of queens a year for breeding purposes. Those queens come with a health certificate from their vet and I know they are healthy because I trust their breeder (long time friend who wouldn't screw me over). Rabies is required by law in my State (Virginia) so all of them get the three-year vaccine for that and Tonka is the only one who gets the annual boosters (required by the breeder I work with before sending her queens here to be bred).

As for necessary vet care, for your 12 year old cats, I would recommend at least one annual vet visit for a thorough exam, including a dental checkup, urine labs and senior panel, and a fecal exam for parasites (better if you have it done every six months IMO) ... you can tell your vet you do not wish to vaccinate but know that if anything happens that requires your cats to stay overnight at the vet clinic, they may very well require you to vaccinate.

For the 4 year-old, at least an annual checkup including dental exam, bloodwork, urine labs and a fecal exam is recommended. The relative youth of this cat is such that you can establish a bloodwork and urine baseline of what is normal so that if (or when) anything goes wonky, you'll have something to compare it to.

Others may have differing opinions, but this is what I do.
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by anjhest View Post
2. I've heard that getting shots year after year (especially in the same spot) can lead to cancer/other probs (though I'm starting to question this line of thinking and wonder were I got it in the first place)
I have considered changing vets after I found out a cat expert moved nearby. I gave them a call to find out how the practice works, and one thing they said the vet does is not give 3-year rabies but 1-year. My previous vet has always done the 3-year. New vet's reasoning was the the cancer-risk

Now, someone educate me - which is more cancer-risky: Vaccinating more often (more hits) or vaccinating with the more powerful (?) stuff only every 3 years?

I am unsure what to think. I would like to trust a vet but obviously there are different opinions, and I can make more educated choice. It's a slight nuisance to have the cats on different schedules. (All others just had their 3-year everything).
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by piikki View Post
I have considered changing vets after I found out a cat expert moved nearby. I gave them a call to find out how the practice works, and one thing they said the vet does is not give 3-year rabies but 1-year. My previous vet has always done the 3-year. New vet's reasoning was the the cancer-risk

Now, someone educate me - which is more cancer-risky: Vaccinating more often (more hits) or vaccinating with the more powerful (?) stuff only every 3 years?

I am unsure what to think. I would like to trust a vet but obviously there are different opinions, and I can make more educated choice. It's a slight nuisance to have the cats on different schedules. (All others just had their 3-year everything).
My vet told me the concern with the 3 year injection was the amount of vaccine in the injection. She would rather do smaller amounts each year than a large dose every 3 years.
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef View Post
I don't give annual boosters to the majority of my cats either - and please, don't question the line of thinking as Feline Vaccination Sarcomas are a very real possibility in some cats and there is no inexpensive way to know if your cat is one who might develop this until it is too late to do anything about it.
I'm curious for those who don't do annual boosters, when the cats were younger and going for their first shots.... Did you get the 3 sets of shots? Or just go for the one set instead of 3 sets over 8wks.

thx.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake_Lady View Post
I'm curious for those who don't do annual boosters, when the cats were younger and going for their first shots.... Did you get the 3 sets of shots? Or just go for the one set instead of 3 sets over 8wks.

thx.
All of my cats were vaccinated (as kittens) at 8, 10, and 12 weeks old for Rhinotraceitis, Panleukopenia and Calici Virus. All of my cats were vaccinated at 16 weeks old for Rabies. Lexus and Tonka received the first year booster for Rhino, Pan and Calici, as well as Rabies, but George and Pearl did not.
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by piikki View Post
I have considered changing vets after I found out a cat expert moved nearby. I gave them a call to find out how the practice works, and one thing they said the vet does is not give 3-year rabies but 1-year. My previous vet has always done the 3-year. New vet's reasoning was the the cancer-risk

Now, someone educate me - which is more cancer-risky: Vaccinating more often (more hits) or vaccinating with the more powerful (?) stuff only every 3 years?

I am unsure what to think. I would like to trust a vet but obviously there are different opinions, and I can make more educated choice. It's a slight nuisance to have the cats on different schedules. (All others just had their 3-year everything).
Good question - but one I will have to consider and ask my vet about. I just read on the Virginia State site (regarding animals) that they do not recognize the three year rabies vaccine and require the one year vaccine certificate. I may have to rethink the way I do things. I am glad you brought this up as evidently, the rules have changed here in my location regarding rabies.
post #8 of 27
Jack had his initial kitten boosters just like any kitten but will not get any other booster only a rabies shot.

Harley had a booster at the shelter and is due for rabies shot.

to the OP--I wouldn't avoid the vet, I would find a vet who agrees with your decision to not vaccinate yearly. A vet should be someone you know and trust and would go to for anything--big or small. Your pet's lives are in their hands.

Leslie
post #9 of 27
My vet practice will only use the 1 year non-adjuvenated(sp.) vaccine. They say it is much safer than a 3 year vaccine. You would know, when we got Kody at a shelter they would not let me take him to my own vet for his shots and they used the Ft. Dodge 3 year vaccine--I was later told by Kody's breeder to make sure the vet does not use that one!
Anne
post #10 of 27
I talk with my vet regarding the latest vaccination protocols and my cats in particular - how they live, if they're exposed to outside agents, etc. However, I'm definitely planning on starting senior panels as they're both approaching the definition of senior. If nothing else, we'll have a base line from which to judge changes down the road. And, depending on age and overall health, I really don't think an annual exam, with or without shots, depending, is a bad thing....often objective, professional eyes may notice changes that we simply don't see on a day to day basis, and it's a good time to bring up any concerns we as owners may have regarding health care, weight, dental & eye check-ups, fecal checks, etc.

My vet so far prefers the annual rabies shots for some of the reasons cited above - and, as it's required in my state, I'm not planning on taking chances. There are rabid animals, even in the Chicago suburbs, and, just in case one of mine were to bite anyone, don't want to mess that that scenario at all!
post #11 of 27
My cats are vaccinated yearly - as I have high exposure to distemper & other things in cats. I've actually had kittens with distemper come home to die before (knowing they most likely had distemper). Once my cats reach a certain age, I will have to re-think vaccines....and find a vet who will do titer tests.... the risk of vaccination sarcoma is greater due to vaccinating yearly - but I guess I'd rather have them "fully vaccinated" as per veterinary standards than risk bringing distemper home to them.

IMO - if you are not going to vaccinate over life - they need at least the kitten set of shots (2-3 distemper shots & a rabies shot), then they need the 1 year boosters.

Whether or not you vaccinate is up to you - but vaccines or not cats need at least yearly exams. You never know what the vet might find that you would miss (heart murmur, a lump, etc). A blood panel can also be an early indicator of some "senior" health issues like renal failure....can alert you to it before your kitty shows sypmtoms, allowing you to prolong their life.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
You never know what the vet might find that you would miss (heart murmur, a lump, etc). A blood panel can also be an early indicator of some "senior" health issues like renal failure....can alert you to it before your kitty shows sypmtoms, allowing you to prolong their life.
This was one reason I am considering changing vets. I have not been particularly motivated taking my boys for annuals unless they need something because I feel that the check-ups have been fairly half-hearted. I doubt too many lumps would be found (vet does not really feel the cats over much), and blood panels have never been performed. Mouth is usually checked but more than once the vet has not even peeked in the eyes and/or ears. Temperature has never been taken from anyone.

So the only thing with annuals I feel good about is that 1) I took them, 2) heart/lungs were checked and 3) poop was analyzed (and poop they allow to bring in for checking without appointment anyway).
post #13 of 27
Forgot to say in my above post...my vet does recommend the yearly rabies(as rabies is required by law), but they only recommend the other vaccines every 3 years. I will probably even question this with Kody, as he doesn't go outside. I think I will request the titer test for all the vaccines (even rabies) from now on.

Anne
post #14 of 27
If you don't like your vet - don't hesitate to switch.
post #15 of 27
I take my cats to the vet at least once a year, and for my senior cat usually twice a year and bloodwork once a year (or more if she is on meds). My vet recommended not vaccinating her because she is a senior and has had a few health issues in the past.
My previous cat Sylvia was lucky I do this. She was losing weight one spring so I took her in and we had bloodwork done which came back normal. The issue resolved and then I took her back in the fall for her regular exam and we were going to have her teeth cleaned so they did bloodwork again. They called me the next day and told me I had to come back in and learn how to give her sub-q fluids because she had CRF. Since she had regular bloodwork and vet visits we knew that we had caught it very early, all her values had been normal the previous spring and she had no obvious symptoms. Since we had caught it early we were able to manage it with diet and sub-q fluids and no other meds for 2+ years. When she passed away it was from an unrelated disease (cancer).
post #16 of 27
You can go in for an exam and bloodwork or even just a physical exam without having to get vaccinations. Many more progressive vets now are trying to separate the connection between vet visits and vaccinations in their clients' minds. Older pets especially need exams more frequently than they need vaccinations. The general recommendation for cats over 10 years is exams twice yearly, and bloodwork as recommended by your vet.

In a good thorough exam (in my experience) the vet checks the eyes, ears, teeth, and feet, listen to the heart and lungs, feel the neck for the thyroid, and feel the cat all over, checking for lumps, bumps, anything in the abdominal area, and checking the legs for free movement or pain. Unless your cat is too upset to examine, of course. Some vets will check blood pressure, though not all will have that sort of equipment (my regular vet doesn't, the specialist does).

I try to take my older cats in for a thorough physical exam and blood tests every 6 months. You always have the right to decline vaccinations if your vet suggests them, and some vets will actually suggest skipping vaccines for older cats who've been kept vaccinated throughout their younger years and are kept indoors. Blood tests are generally recommended for older cats to screen for problems that are common in old age, so if anything shows up it can be addressed earlier, even before symptoms appear.
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've scheduled an appointment for all three at the end of this month. I'll refuse vaccinations but I will feel better about getting the exams and having their bloodwork done (especially for the older ones).

I've had it done before, it's just been several years because of my aversion to vaccinations.

They are actually very well-behaved at the vet (even Taxi, our resident drama king), so a physical exam and drawing blood is usually drama-free.
post #18 of 27
I'm curious for those who don't do annual boosters, when the cats were younger and going for their first shots.... Did you get the 3 sets of shots? Or just go for the one set instead of 3 sets over 8wks.
I got them done in sets not in one sitting. After kitten vaccinations, my cats will never get another one. Why? cause I believe that even the one year lasts much longer and I think they do more harm then good. JMO
There is no proof that boosters extend the life of the vaccine and may actually shorten the duration. They can also kill or cause major health problems. I recommend the first set of vaccines for kittens and that is it.


I find these stats unreal
http://www.vaclib.org/legal/PetsDying.htm
and another
http://www.geocities.com/Petsburgh/F...cinations.html
http://www.holisticat.com/vaccinations.html
http://www.pgferals.org/info/display?PageID=111
http://www.pgferals.org/info/display?PageID=1369
http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/petvacc.htm
post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by optionken View Post
I recommend the first set of vaccines for kittens and that is it.
That's all that I've done. I've been talked into another vaccination here and there over the years, but it has been far from yearly. More like once every 4 years, when they inevitably end up at the vet for something else!
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by anjhest View Post
That's all that I've done. I've been talked into another vaccination here and there over the years, but it has been far from yearly. More like once every 4 years, when they inevitably end up at the vet for something else!
This makes me angry. I've been to numerous vets who don't hear the word NO when I say it. I don't know what they hear, but they don't hear it as NO. They just keep trying to get me to do what they want me to do and I keep saying no no no no no.

After these numerous experiences, it finally dawned upon me that there are vets out there who are only in it for the money they can make off administering these unnecessary vaccines. *gasp* You tend to think that vets, like our own human doctors, would have more compassion towards the best interest of the pet (or us in the case of our own doctors). I tend to picture a little boy or little girl being asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and watching them clutch and cuddle a beloved pet in their arms as they respond, "I want to be a Veterinarian!!".

But, just like any other business, they are in business to make money. If they didn't want to make money, they would be a not-for-profit instead of a for-profit entity. So, they "advise" that certain treatments, diagnostic procedures or other costly things actually ARE in the best interest of your pet, knowing full well they can get along just fine without it but seeing the bottom line rise the whole while.

What I am going around my hiney to get to my elbow trying to say is this ... if your vet can "talk you" into doing things you don't feel are in the best interest of your pet, then you need to seek a new vet who listens to you, hears you when you say no, seeks information from YOU - the person who knows your pet the best - and actually values your input.

So, put on whatever warpaint makes your strength meter increase and don't let anyone talk you into anything you don't feel is best for you and your pets.
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef View Post
So, put on whatever warpaint makes your strength meter increase and don't let anyone talk you into anything you don't feel is best for you and your pets.
Some of them are quite effective with the guilt factor. At the time that I was "talked into" things, I didn't have enough information to even know if I should say no or yes...so I allowed the vet to sway me.

The last few times that I have been to the vet, I have refused vaccinations with no problems.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef View Post
This makes me angry. I've been to numerous vets who don't hear the word NO when I say it. I don't know what they hear, but they don't hear it as NO.

.....

What I am going around my hiney to get to my elbow trying to say is this ... if your vet can "talk you" into doing things you don't feel are in the best interest of your pet, then you need to seek a new vet who listens to you, hears you when you say no, seeks information from YOU - the person who knows your pet the best - and actually values your input.

So, put on whatever warpaint makes your strength meter increase and don't let anyone talk you into anything you don't feel is best for you and your pets.


That is SO true!

A couple of years ago I took my 19 year old cat in to the cat specialist clinic for a checkup and bloodwork. I saw the intern vet on that visit instead of the main vet. After running the tests and coming back in with some syringes, she explained to me that my cat was in the early stages of CRF. She then gave her one of the injections. I asked what she was giving her, assuming it was a medication or vitamin injection, and she told me it was her vaccinations. I objected and stopped her. She began the BIG PUSH (after giving the first shot), explaining the my totally indoor cat was at risk because I worked with animals and could bring something home (though I was always careful to wash & change before handling my pets). I foolishly gave in. They were cat specialists, after all...why would they promote doing something harmful to my cat?

Poor little Felixia, who because of her age and her CRF status absolutely should NOT have been vaccinated, got very sick afterward. My amazingly healthy cat who had still been able to effortlessly leap 3 feet onto furniture the day before was barely able to walk for weeks afterward, and lost a pound of body weight (a huge amount for a very petite cat). I was afraid I was going to lose her - all so a vet could get some extra $$ for shots, when I'd already spent a small fortune there on bloodwork and a thorough senior checkup!

Thankfully, she eventually gained the weight back and became active again, though she still has not regained her ability to jump quite as high, and it takes a noticeable effort on her part to jump more than a couple of feet. She's 21 now, and while I'm ever so grateful that she's still with me and still amazingly healthy and active considering her age, I can't help but wonder if those vaccines took one of her 9 lives. I'm still furious at that vet.

I hope I'll never let myself be pushed around like that again.

The vet I go to now doesn't push vaccinations on older pets, does very thorough exams, and always takes the time to explain what she does - she's a treasure.

I still believe vaccinations are important, but I really wish more vets would take a step back and focus on exams and client education than on pushing overvaccination on pets who are already fully vaccinated, or who should not be vacinated because of health status. They also need to take the time to explain the possible risks and the symptoms of adverse reaction, too.
post #23 of 27
Tuxedokitties!

How amazing that you have a 21 year old cat! I can only hope to be this lucky with my Alpine.
I'm sure Felixia appreicates the amazing care you've given her.
post #24 of 27
Hi all. I just joined after finding this site and checking out the forums. This vaccination issue interests me. I have not had my cats, except for one, vaccinated after their initial kitty shots. They are basically indoor cats but are allowed in the fenced backyard during the spring, summer and fall. There is no way for them to get out and I went through a long training period to accomplish them not wanting to leave the back yard. It took time and effort but works and they are great about it. They also have a curfew and are never left outside while I am not home or during the night. A little off topic but I thought it would be a good idea to explain this outdoor thing. Anyway, should they be vaccinated even though they are not in contact with any other animals, just because they do have outdoor time?
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by misschiv View Post
Hi all. I just joined after finding this site and checking out the forums. This vaccination issue interests me. I have not had my cats, except for one, vaccinated after their initial kitty shots. They are basically indoor cats but are allowed in the fenced backyard during the spring, summer and fall. There is no way for them to get out and I went through a long training period to accomplish them not wanting to leave the back yard. It took time and effort but works and they are great about it. They also have a curfew and are never left outside while I am not home or during the night. A little off topic but I thought it would be a good idea to explain this outdoor thing. Anyway, should they be vaccinated even though they are not in contact with any other animals, just because they do have outdoor time?
the only reason my cats are vaccinated after kitten shots is the fact that one presently goes into the back yard... My vet put it to me this way... 5 yrs down the road that I did not vaccinate ( which she does 3 yr protocal) and the cat caught a bat or some other wild creature , what would I do( answer freak out because she was not even semi up to date ) ....

In many jurisdictions a cat without proof of a rabies vaccination is automatically PTS if a bite of any kind happens ...

Yes , backyards are far safer than a cat wandering loose but wild animals can and do enter ( birds , flies , mosquitoes , mice ect) ... kitty can come into contact with kitty or kitty have contact with their wastes
post #26 of 27
Thank you. That is pretty much what I thought and were my concerns with spring coming up and them all clamouring to get outside and breathe the fresh air. They are all gettng a little stir crazy especially my black feral rescue, Dakota.
post #27 of 27
I have 4 senior cats and the 5th I had to have put down 3 weeks ago, due to a Vaccine Associated Sarcoma - he was nearly 16 yrs old and despite 2 surgeries to remove the scruff/side tumors, they came back with a vengeance. Little did I know many years ago, when I used to faithfully get his yearly shots; did that with all of them up until they were about 3 yrs old then I just decided it was silly for they were strictly indoor cats and I saw the push to do it yearly as more of a 'money making' racket on the part of vets.

I recently adopted a new kitty who'd had his first 2 sets of shots while at the Humane Society, prior to me adopting him. I did take him for his rabies shot. The Vet gave it to him in his scruff. I figured this was "okay" as the vet told me previously that the "newer vaccines today" don't create the same risk for causing VAS as the old ones did; which I've since found out is complete BS. So now I feel horrible; knowing that because I was misinformed, he may develop a VAS down the road and I will once again have to face the horrible VAS monster. I guess my other cats could also as well.

I do believe, however, in taking older cats in for a yearly check-up; which includes a senior blood panel, urinalysis and a dental if needed. Older cats are at risk for things like diabetes, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism......and if caught early they can be much easier to control and treat.
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