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Feline Leukemia Vaccine?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
My 8 year old cat just started going outdoors - he only goes out with me into our fenced in back yard, and is declawed, so cannot climb the fence. Should I vaccinate him for feline leukemia? Until now he's lived all his life in apartments and never went outside, and is the only pet in the house.
post #2 of 21
I would use extreme caution letting a declawed cat outside - something can spook him & he could go over the fence. My Twitch has no teeth, no front claws, and is deaf. She has jumped high enough to clear a 6' piece of solid steel fencing (was a chicken coop).

If he has no exposure to other cats, and you never leave him unattended outside, I wouldn't vaccinate him. I believe the vaccine is only 80% effective, and carries some risks (along with any other vaccinations).
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I took him to his new vet 2 weeks ago & he said it was my decision, but I wasn't sure what to do - I made an apointment for next week, but can always cancel.

Will loves being outside on the patio in the sun - he only goes out with us and it's a very quiet neighborhood. He's a big wimp too, when scared he's most likely to adopt the flat cat pose as I call it. He lays flat as possible and pretnds he can't be seen
post #4 of 21
He won't get FeLV from being outside. FeLV can only be caught from direct exposure to other cats - through fighting or mating, or prelonged casual exposure to an infected cat. It's actually a fragile disease that doesn't survive outside of a host.
post #5 of 21
I would not give that shot.
That shot killed my Lucy.
I have not given any of my cats that shot since then.
Most breeders I know have it in the contract not to give that shot.
Its your choice but to me its not worth the risk.
post #6 of 21
I thought I had read that the FIV shot is the one that shouldn't be given? I know none of my cats has had that one, but they've all had the feline leukemia vaccine as part of the regular series. They are all indoor only cats.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldyCat View Post
I thought I had read that the FIV shot is the one that shouldn't be given?
You aren't alone, I thought the same thing.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldyCat View Post
I thought I had read that the FIV shot is the one that shouldn't be given? I know none of my cats has had that one, but they've all had the feline leukemia vaccine as part of the regular series. They are all indoor only cats.
The FIV vaccination will cause a cat to test positive for FIV afterwards. Since it's not 100% effective and FIV is not nearly as bad as FeLV, I don't give it to mine. That's why you will hear people say not to vaccinate for FIV.
post #9 of 21
Mine do not get either shot.

post #10 of 21
The FeLV shot is only 83% effective, and cats can develop a natural immunity of the same level - both FeLV and Rabies use adjuvants that can cause reactions. I personally dont get mine vac'd as mine are older cats that have spent some time outside, so have likely got their own immunity to it. FeLV can also be shed by a cat, after which time they will have a lifelong immunity to it, there is a test you can do to see if they have that immunity, which would be better than vacc'g every year.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldyCat View Post
I thought I had read that the FIV shot is the one that shouldn't be given?
I've heard the same thing. Because we travel with our cats and stay at homes where they are around other cats, our vet vaccinated them for FeLV. However, he only did the kitten vaccine and one adult booster and said that was all; he would not advise anymore FeLV boosters.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
I've heard the same thing. Because we travel with our cats and stay at homes where they are around other cats, our vet vaccinated them for FeLV. However, he only did the kitten vaccine and one adult booster and said that was all; he would not advise anymore FeLV boosters.
I just checked my records and so far that's all my kitties have had so far. Of course, their second adult shots aren't due until July. I'll be sure to ask the vet about skipping the FeLV from now on.
post #13 of 21
Cats over 18 months of age have about a 90% immunity to FeLV (and the shot give less immunity than that).....so the shot is only needed for kittens that go outside or who live with a FeLV-positive cat. I don't give the FeLV or FIV vaccines to my cats.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
Cats over 18 months of age have about a 90% immunity to FeLV (and the shot give less immunity than that)
Having lost a 3 year old cat to FeLV, and doing a lot of digging into the disease, I have to say that this is absolutely not true. I consulted with a cat specialist who is involved with current ongoing university research into FeLV. An unvaccinated adult cat has about a 25% - 30% immunity to FeLV. Kittens born with it or exposed prior to vaccinations have a 95%+ fatality rate, which means they have a 5% or less immunity.

Some positive kittens don't test as positive until they are a few months old. If you bring a new kitten into your house with FeLV and your resident cats aren't vaccinated, you are risking their lives.

I don't want people on this site to get a false sense of security about FeLV. If your cat goes outside, is exposed to outside cats, or is exposed to new cats in your household, they should be vaccinated. Regardless of age.
post #15 of 21
I have to agree with Momofmany - I've seen adult cats who have healthy immune systems who are not vacc'ed for FeLV get it. And I have seen quite a few stray cats, adults, come into the shelter who test positive, a weak positive.
post #16 of 21
I guess there was a study done that shows 89% immunity in adult cats......here's the link, they have the study's number but I don't know how to use those to do research. I'm sure someone here does: http://www.critteradvocacy.org/Felin...mendations.htm
Though that site said you might want to err on the side of caution and go ahead and vaccinate a cat that gets into a lot of fights.

My cats don't go outside and I do FeLV/FIV test every cat that comes into the homes before the cat is released into the general population.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info. I think I am going to call my vet to discuss it more, but since Will is never unsupervised outside and has no contact with other cats I am leaning towards skipping the vaccine.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
Cats over 18 months of age have about a 90% immunity to FeLV (and the shot give less immunity than that).....so the shot is only needed for kittens that go outside or who live with a FeLV-positive cat. I don't give the FeLV or FIV vaccines to my cats.
What about a kitten that goes outside on harness and lead? Low risk since felv is spread through more than just casual contact? What about FIV? How do they develop immunity as they mature without exposure (indoor cats, i.e.)? Thanks!
What about cat shows? Proof of these vaccs required?
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by booktigger View Post
The FeLV shot is only 83% effective, and cats can develop a natural immunity of the same level - both FeLV and Rabies use adjuvants that can cause reactions. I personally dont get mine vac'd as mine are older cats that have spent some time outside, so have likely got their own immunity to it. FeLV can also be shed by a cat, after which time they will have a lifelong immunity to it, there is a test you can do to see if they have that immunity, which would be better than vacc'g every year.
There are non-adjuvants vaccines now for both the combo shots and rabies. My kittens received the 3 in 1 combo and rabies, both non-adjuvants. I discussed the FeLV with my vet, as they go outside with me, and there are other cats in the building - he said I don't need either the FeLV or FIV vaccines, as these diseases are not transmissible through casual contact - they would need to fight or to mate in order to catch it...
post #20 of 21
Honestly, since I take a minimal vaccine approach (only rabies and feline distemper), I find it completely useless. Besides, it's a fragile disease and the vaccine is not very safe (I'm not sure so don't quote me on that).
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by fattykitty View Post
Honestly, since I take a minimal vaccine approach (only rabies and feline distemper), I find it completely useless. Besides, it's a fragile disease and the vaccine is not very safe (I'm not sure so don't quote me on that).
I do too--thank you for the positive affirmation!
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