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Vaccinations: Annually or Not?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
My animals' previous vet said she now innoculates cats every three years because studies show that the preventative medication remains within the body for around that length of time (I know testing can be done to determine if a cat really needs another rabies/ whatever shot). My cats' current vet, whom I really like, gives shots annually; this bothers me because I've heard more talk about vets moving to the every-three-year timetable.

Do you think I should tell my vet that I don't feel comfortable with having my cats innoculated yearly? (I come from the school of thought that too much of a good thing isn't so good.) Or am I fretting too much?
post #2 of 38
You should tell the vet how you feel and see what he says. I am going to do the same with Zoey. I have only had her for a few months so she is not due for a checkup until next april, but I know she's had some shots before she left the shelter so I will ask my vet what she thinks. I dont think I would want to do it every year either.
post #3 of 38
I solve that problem by giving the shots to them myself. They go to the vet for the rabies (one-year) shot, I give the basic 3-in-1 shot to them every other year.

It's also way cheaper that way. Vaccinating 15 cats this year cost me $35.00, including overnight shipping for the vaccines. I can't imagine what it would have cost at the vets, not to mention all the fun I missed wrangling everyone into carriers and then into the car...
post #4 of 38
I decided last year that I'm going to have Spike vaccinated every other year. I didn't know that the vaccinations last 3 years though... I thought that was only for the rabies booster. I'll have to discuss it with Spike's new vet. If she tells me the vaccines they administer last for 3 years, I'll only be doing it that often. Over-vaccinating them worries me.
post #5 of 38
Ummmm Mom of 10 cats , how can you order them shots . I know a dumb question . I also don't belive on Rabies shots for my indoor cats .
post #6 of 38
neo gets very sick with shots so him and moe don't get them. I haven't decided what i'm going to do with the kittens. They are upto date with there baby shots, and I think I will take them for there first year shots but after that i'm not sure. I get my dogs shots every year.
post #7 of 38
You can order the vaccines from www.drsfostersmith.com , there is also a link to their website on Meowhoo. I think some states may not allow it, it should let you know on their website if you can order them.
post #8 of 38
Please be extra-careful vaccinating your cats - whether at home or at the vet! Observe your cat carefully for several hours after vaccination for any unusual behavior or signs of illness - vomiting and/or diarrhea or difficulty breathing after a vaccination is an EMERGENCY and if your cat gets these symptoms after receiving a vaccine please take it to the vet immediately!

My cat almost died after getting his vaccinations last year - he's 9 years old and never had a problem previously. He went into anaphylactic shock, vomiting continuously. I had to take him to the emergency clinic - when I got there they told me they weren't sure they could save him! He was very ill, but pulled through (thank goodness!).

We still vaccinate him, carefully premedicating, breaking up the vaccines, and observing him after each vaccination, because in our case the disease risk is high.

However often you & your vet choose to vaccinate your pet, just please remember a reaction, although rare, may occur in a cat that has never had problems before. Please watch your cat carefully after vaccinating and report any problems to your vet right away!
post #9 of 38
Here's a good article on the subject,

post #10 of 38
Thank you Mom of 10 cats , but I think after reading the one link I will go back to my vet . It scared me
post #11 of 38
Studies have shown that antibodies from vaccines have stayed in a cats system as long as 7 years after the vaccine was given. Some cats even longer!

Cats immune systems are very unique, that is why so much research is still going on and no one can give you a straight answer.

What we do know is that yes we are over vaccinating our cats. They do not need shots every year, and yearly vaccination could do more harm than good. Every two to three years for FVRCP is sufficient. Every three years for Rabies and every other year for FELV.

If you cat is an indoor/outdoor cat you MUST vaccinate EVERY YEAR!!!! Even though the antibodies are still there from the previous vaccine your cat is outdoors and is at risk for everything you are vaccinating for.

In a perfect world there would be no stray cats, vaccine sarcomas, FELV, FVRCP, Rabies and all these diseases, but there are and we have to figure out the best way to protect out cats w/out hurting them at the same time.

Just remember, when vaccinating do it on the legs or shoulders. If your vet tries to give a vaccine on the shoulder or in the scruff you smack his hand away!!!!! Most vets are aware of the risks of vaccine sarcomas and routinely vaccinate in the shoulders and legs, but there are still those old stubborn vets who are set in their ways. Its your cat and you are the boss, not the vet!!!!

Got a bit off topic!!!
post #12 of 38
Sorry, but forgot to mention - only ONE vaccine per visit.
post #13 of 38
Thread Starter 
...When vaccinating do it on the legs or shoulders. If your vet tries to give a vaccine on the shoulder or in the scruff you smack his hand away!!!!! Most vets are aware of the risks of vaccine sarcomas and routinely vaccinate in the shoulders and legs, but there are still those old stubborn vets who are set in their ways. Its your cat and you are the boss, not the vet!!!!

Please read your first two sentences. You mention the shoulder twice, both as a negative and positive place to give shots. Please clarify if shots should/ should not be given in the shoulder.

Thank you,

post #14 of 38
sorry...I meant not to give in between the shoulder blades, which many vets do.
post #15 of 38
I give my indoor cat a rabies shot. There is always the chance he might get out, and rabies is fatal.

I have Vet friends, I get different opinions on how often to give regular vaccines. My cats breeder believes once a year. At this point I am not sure. I have been speaking with Bengal breeders and they all seem to have a different idea on how often.
post #16 of 38
I am against all vacinations right now. I just don't see a reason for doing it if they don't ever go outside. I do believe in a yearly exam though. Jenk....I know you have Ragdolls like myself. I have read two books and did quite a bit of research on the breed. Make sure that if you give them the 3 and 1 vaccine that it is a "killed virus" type. My breeder also told me the same. Good luck with you decision.
post #17 of 38
Originally posted by Slave2_Ragdolls
I am against all vacinations right now. I just don't see a reason for doing it if they don't ever go outside. I do believe in a yearly exam though.
I think I have to agree with this.
post #18 of 38
My vet recomended three year shots so that is what I give mine. One year it is a distempor(sp) shot. Another year it is the rabies shot.

My mother had kitten that died after having several shots at one time.
post #19 of 38
For those of you who don't see any reason to give any shots because they never leave the house.

When you walk outside the house and then come home again you are tracking in many diseases.

If you cat were to bite someone who picked it up without your permission and you had no rabies record the cat could be destroyed to see if it had rabies.

If there were a fire, tornado, earthquake, or someone broke into your home, your cat could escape and die due to lack of imunizations.

It is always better to err on the side of caution. None of my cats leave the house, and yet I would rather have them get their shots than have them suffer and die decause I didn't.

You can't say what the future holds for your cat, but you can protect it to the best of your ability.
post #20 of 38
The vet said that these diseases are spread through cat to cat contact. It was my understanding that your inside cat would have no means to get rabies unless it came in contact with another animal that had rabies.

I dunno, personally I will think about it and talk it over with my vet when I take Zoey in for her next check up.

I just hear these scary stories about cats getting sick after getting shots or developing a sarcoma .. is it worth risking that if your cat never goes outside?

I suppose there are pros and cons to everything.. I will definately keep an open mind as I want whats best for my cat!
post #21 of 38
Please read this article called "Are vaccinations helpful or harmful"? It will make you think twice about vaccinations http://www.holisticat.com/vaccinations.html
post #22 of 38
I have read the articles and know the risks. It is the same for childrens vaccines. I still innoculated my children. I would not risk any of my kitties, but the sad truth is I feel better with than without.

I know rabies is only caught from another animal, it does not have to be another cat. If your kitty visits other kitties and they have been given a live vaccine your kitty could catch that disease. If a rabid mouse got in it could infect your kitty. The authorities will not care if the cat has never left the house, the only way to prove the cat does not have rabies is to destroy the cat and do a necropsy.

As for the injections, I am looking into an intra nasel vaccine that will keep the kitty from the risk of cancer from injections. The side affects are supossed to be milder as well.

The Rabies will still have to be injected though.

Slave to Ragdolls Did you read the third paragraph in your article? It is saying that you should let cats die off so the stronger ones can replace them. Isn't that kind of harsh? How would you feel if that vet was called to treat your sick cat and they told you to let it die as the stronger, healthier cats are better suited to live?

The article didn't impress me very much as there were nothing but statements of "often, in some cases, almost never, probably, in my opinion" ect. The early quote wasn't even a medical book quote it was a dated quote from someones opinion. It is all speculation as far as I could see. Please reread the article and look for definate statements. Such and such will cause this to happen. I don't think you will find any.
post #23 of 38
Originally posted by Slave2_Ragdolls
Please read this article called "Are vaccinations helpful or harmful"? It will make you think twice about vaccinations http://www.holisticat.com/vaccinations.html
If this stuff is really true...

Finally, while rabies is a very serious disease with the potential to infect humans (this is the reason for excessive vaccination laws), most animals are very unlikely to be exposed. One vaccine at four months of age will protect most cats for life. If one booster vaccination is administered, almost all animals (95 percent) are immunized for life. (Schultz)
Feline panleukopenia virus is very serious and the vaccine is quite effective, but most cats will not be exposed to the virus and the disease generally affects kittens only. Only those cats that are likely to be exposed would benefit from vaccination, and one vaccination between the age of ten to twelve weeks will protect 95 percent of cats for life. (Schultz)
Zoey has had these vaccinations before she left the shelter.
post #24 of 38
In some states (Texas, for instance) an annual rabies vaccine is required by law. Vets here were until recently required to give the 3-year vaccine every year, because rabies is such a problem. Now that the sarcoma risk has received more publicity, vets are allowed to give a special cat rabies vaccine that is good for 1 year (I think it is called Purevax).

Teresa's point about a cat being destroyed in case of a bite to determine if rabies is present is correct - they simply will not take your word that your cat couldn't have been exposed. Please check with your vet about the laws in your state to determine if your pet is legally required to receive the rabies vaccination. The rabies vaccines available now are safer than those used years ago, and the rabies vaccine is the least likely of them all to produce an allergic response - the vet told me that Mr.'s reaction was more likely from the distemper combo or the FELV vaccine.

*if you do have to vaccinate for rabies, check with your vet to make sure they use the safe cat vaccine - some vets here still give cats the 3-year one they use on dogs because they don't want to bother with ordering & storing 2 different types of rabies vaccine.*
post #25 of 38
Well since Zoey bites.. (not skin breaking but still... you never know) I will probly get her the rabies vaccine because now that I checked I believe its a law that they must be vaccinated for Rabies. I definately wouldnt want anyone destroying my cat to find out if she's been vaccinated.. that's just ridiculous.
post #26 of 38
I think that instead of trying to decide if we should or shouldnt vaccinate out cats we should take all that thought and put it into researching HOW to vaccinate our cats.

If you vaccinate safely and smartly than chances are you will not run into a problem. I have worked at a vaccine clinic for over 4 years and we have had cats die in our other regions that were simply given too many vaccines. If you follow these basic guidelines you can be more at ease w/vaccinating and not run into any problems w/the law or neighbors.

1. NEVER give more than one vaccine per time. They can be separated as little as 3-4 days or as long as 2-4 weeks.

2. ALWAYS give vaccines in the shoulder or hind leg. If your cat does end up getting a sarcoma (which ARE NOT only from vaccines) than the limb can easily be amputated and your cat will go on to live a happy healthy life.

3. NEVER leave your cat alone after they receive vaccines. Most vaccine reactions happen w/in the first 20-45 minutes, but some can happen even after that. The ones that happen right away are usually the most severe and yes can lead to death, but QUICK action can help your kitty. Also learn the difference between normal vaccine reactions and harmful vaccine reactions.

Normal Vaccine Reactions: Cranky, slight fever, lethargic, no interest in food, water or playing, may be a bit sore for 24-48 hours, hide and not want to come out. As long as you heck on your kitty just let them sleep and get through it. Most people who have children know these symptoms all too well!

Adverse Vaccine Reactions: Excessive vomitting and/or diarreah, seizures, facial swelling, limp.

4. If your cat has had a vaccine reaction to a particular vaccine DO NOT give it again.

5. If you are really truely worried you can pre-medicate your cat with Childrens Benadryl Allergy 15-30 minutes before the vaccine is given or have the vet give injectable Benadry at the office the same time the vaccine is given.

***If your cat is pre-medicated it will be very sleepy for the rest of the day which is a normal side effect to the medicine***

Teresa is every bit right, our cats lives are too precious to risk. We wouldnt dare not think to vaccine our children for Polio or Mumps, and the risks of them catching it are slim.

Here are two GREAT links to groups of people who are trying to get the word out on how to safely vaccinate our cats and educate the public about Sarcomas and vaccine reactions. They will also send you breeder packets to hand out to kitten buyers!

http://catshots.com & http://www.shorti-online.org
post #27 of 38
Tillie had a severe vaccine reaction to the rabies vaccine she got this year. She began vomiting within 30 seconds of the injection and was in acute distress. The vet gave her an injection of Benadryl and sat with us to observe her for another 10 minutes afterwards to make sure she was alright.

Poor Tillie! She was sooo sick! She had no problem a month later though when she got her 3 in 1 (distemper etc) vaccine. So it is the rabies shot she is allergic to.
post #28 of 38
The veterinary task force is recommending that single indoor cats not be vaccinated with Feline Leukemia because the chances of them getting VAS (Vaccine Associated Sarcoma) is greater than getting Feline Leukemia.
Yeah.. someone tell me how Zoey is going to get Feline Leukemia being an indoor cat? I can understand maybe vaccinating for distemper and/or upper respitory diseases because those could be transferable from humans touching other cats then touching your cat etc.. and rabies ok, because there's a law, but that's as far as I'd go!

Thank you for the education on where to give the vaccines. I will make sure my vet gives Zoey vaccines (if any) in her hind legs.
post #29 of 38
It's highly unlikely an indoor-only cat would be exposed to FELV. You don't even take her out on a leash, do you?

Momof10, I've never heard of a rabies vacc reaction. Yikes! That day Mr. reacted was one of the worst days I've ever had! (he had already left the vet so it took awhile to get him to the ER - think that's why he was so ill). I'm glad your baby came through OK.

Most vets who have the interests of the pet foremost will be happy to discuss your individual cat's vaccine risks vs. benefits. But it certainly can't hurt to be an educated consumer! If your vets realize this, then they'll understand that you don't need the annual vaccinations push to get you in for the annual exam, and can honestly make a recommendation based on the welfare of your cat.
post #30 of 38
Originally posted by tuxedokitties
It's highly unlikely an indoor-only cat would be exposed to FELV. You don't even take her out on a leash, do you?
Nope! Cant really around here anyway even if I wanted to .. its just busy streets and apartment complexes.
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