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Lethargic after vaccines

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Well I took Oscar in for his annual and vaccines on Monday. We go to a cat only clinic that uses the purevax vaccines. Well we opted to just do the fvrcp vaccine and maybe do rabies in a few weeks. Good thing, as he has been kinda lethargic since then. I've been a tech and know all the usual vaccine reactions, and the fact that they may run a low grade fever for about 24 hours, but it has been three days. He is acting mostly normal, eating and he will play with the dog and pester Kattie, but it also seems he goes up on bed to sleep more than usual, the last few days. He was really punky on monday night, and less so the following days but still. Being a vet tech I worry about things more as I know all the things that can go wrong. Anyways, he isn't overtly acting sick just less active. I am wondering since I think the vaccine is a modified live virus, it might be making him feel a little icky like the flu vaccine does to us. I will call the vet tomorrow if he is still off, but honestly he is still eating, drinking and going to the litterbox, he is also playing but just less often. Any similar experiences? I believe that his last fvrcp was a killed virus but those are more risky as they have an adjuvant. Gosh makes me want to cancel his rabies in a few weeks...
post #2 of 13
I know how you feel. Queen Eva had diarrhea for a week after her first adult PureVax rabies. I've been putting off the FVRCP for that reason. She's had the kitten shots though and I do want her to have one adult FVRCP booster, just to be sure.

Tolly has never had a problem with PureVax rabies, but I stopped the distemper shots for him long ago, as they make him really sick and I don't think he (or the other adult cats for that matter) needs it any more.

But rabies vaccine is law here, so they get the annual PureVax rabies.
post #3 of 13
It is all so confusing....dontknow.gif

My kitties no longer get rabies ( Isis got really sick last year) and Dexter is 11 so no more vax for him but....
a couple of weeks ago, Isis had her second FVRCP vax since she as been with us.
It was just the regular vax but she still did not feel well for a couple of days.

She is 4 yrs old now...
that is 4 years of FVRCP.
Does anyone know when it is safe to stop giving the vax.
I don't want to put her though this again.

Here rabies is not required unless they are going to be boarded.
No rabies for my kitties .... ever!

This is never an easy decision for any kitty care giver. frown.gif
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah I know how confusing the vaccine issues can be. To give or not to give that is the question lol. My instincts as a vet tech say give vaccines, but a lot of the holistic and new info, shows just how bad repeated vaccines can be. Honestly, we only get vaccine as children, then the occasional booster for tetanus as adults. Pets aren't much different in the way they react to vaccines. Their kitten and puppy vaccines should be able to hold immunity for the rest of their life. Only toxin vaccines ie tetunus are the ones that don't stay with you,vand pets don't get those vaccines. Basically vaccines are an excuse to get you in for the yearly exam, plus they are a money maker for most vets. The more I read, the more I think I am going to question the boosters. I already don't give the leukemia one as my cats are indoors. The only reason I decided to give the fvrcp, was that both Oscar and Kattie got a bad uri last November. They were vaccinated then as well, but still got it, the vaccine is just supposed to make it less bad.
Anyways, oscarcis still being relatively normal, and as I write this is batting toy mice under the fridge and stove lol. I guess he is starting to feel a little better. Also he is 2 1/2 yo, I wonder if he might be slowing little from crazy kitten antics to lazy adult cat.
post #5 of 13

I can say as a vet tech, cat owner, shelter worker, and general animal care taker, most vaccines are very safe. It is normal for a cat to be lethargic for up to seventy two hours, after vaccines. I have noticed, if you keep the cats stomach "full" after vaccines that seems to lessen the physical side effects. Sometimes a "full stomach" after vaccines, for the first twelve or so hours, keeps the cat acting "normal". But I have NEVER seen a cat have stool related issues from vaccines.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

He is relatively fine now, but he hasn't had a MLV vaccine before and I think that is what did it. I know that vaccines as a rule are generally harmless, I have given thousands upon thousands in my career as an RVT, but I also believe that alot of people look at them as a relatively benign procedure done once a year at the yearly exam. Most of the time nothing happens, but there are the times where there are reactions. The severe reactions can be life threatening, the mild ones a minor inconvience. There are more studies coming out though that are showing the true side effects of over vaccinating. It is being linked to increasing in allergies because of the over stimulation of the immune system, kidney failure later in life in cats, and the clincher for me, vaccine induced sarcomas. The first two are still questionable as there are still more studies coming about, but the last one is very scary and very real for those that vaccinate their cats. In my career so far I have seen 6 cases that could be attributed to VIS. A seventh one is my aunts cat. This cancer is aggressive and can be ultimately fatal. There are other things that can cause it like Depo medrol, or really any other injection that can cause irritation under the skin in cats, but vaccines like the leukemia (which I don't give) and rabies are the culprits. The more research I do, the more I lean towards holistic ways of vet care and pet care in general. I try to vaccinate less frequently, not every year for sure. All my dogs and cats get their puppy and kitten vaccines, then a booster, then not more frequently than every three years. Once they are seniors I don't vaccinate at all. Why put an older immune system under the unnecessary strain of vaccines?  I have done titers for lots of breeders that have the same ideas on vaccines and surprisingly or not, every one of the animals over the age of three had sufficient immunity to not warrant revaccination.

I don't blindly trust veterinary medicine oddly enough or maybe because I am an RVT I hate Hills Science Diet and won't feed it even for free but that is another story lol. Vaccines are a good thing and prevent alot of needless disease, but thier abuse can cause more harm than good as well. It has been proven that the vaccines last longer than the manufacturers will put on the label. Why? because it isn't good for business to vaccinate less frequently. The drug companies make more money, the vets make more money, even animal control makes money on licensing and fines due to the requirement of rabies vaccines. So they will say that pets need them every year or three even when that may not be true. I don't know? I think I am just being cynical right now as currently I am out of the vet field temporarily while I pursue my other dream, art. I will probably  go back to it as I miss the science and the animals, but I just can't seem to find a vet I totally trust like my boss that I left so every  little thing that happens I always think it could be the worst lol. I guess in the end this post is just some food for thought to think a little about what is being injected in your pets as it may not be as harmless or benign as your vet may let on.

post #7 of 13

I think being a little lethargic after a shot is normal. I think (despite what the vet may say) that our kitties may be a little sore afterwords. I'm not saying the shot itself hurts but like most humans, I think there tends to be some muscle soreness after vaccines. I know after getting my flu shot, my arm hurt for the next couple of days. It felt like I was hanging from monkey bars with that one arm for an extended period of time. I have absolutely no doubt that its the same for cats. You said your cat is feeling better so I bet that's what it was.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah he probably was a little sore, but I have never had an animal that acted mopey and lethargic for more than 48 hours after a vaccine so that was what kinda worried me. I believe all is better now, but man the more reading and research I do the more vaccines are kinda scary. I don't even get the flu vaccine for myself as the one time I did I got deathly I'll with the flu. Go figure? I now take my chances on contracting the disease the old fashioned way. Haven't gotten the flu in years, even though I deal heavily with the public. My dad on the other hand gets the vaccine because he is diabetic and the flu can be deadly to diabetics. Even still, he got a pretty bad case last winter where he was out of work for a week. Vaccines aren't a hundred percent. The worst painful vaccine I remember though was my rabies vaccine. I had to get one to work with wildlife. Man I thought my arm was going to fall off! At least my titers are still good, don't look forward to boostering that one.
post #9 of 13
Originally Posted by Cat Person View Post

I can say as a vet tech, cat owner, shelter worker, and general animal care taker, most vaccines are very safe. It is normal for a cat to be lethargic for up to seventy two hours, after vaccines. I have noticed, if you keep the cats stomach "full" after vaccines that seems to lessen the physical side effects. Sometimes a "full stomach" after vaccines, for the first twelve or so hours, keeps the cat acting "normal". But I have NEVER seen a cat have stool related issues from vaccines.

Neither had my vet, but now she has smile.gif.

I wouldn't call it "stool related" I would call it intestinal related.

Queen Eva's diarrhea started 18 hours after the vaccine, and continued for 7 days, and then stopped. (Just because someone has never heard of it before, does not mean it is not possible. There was a time just recently, for instance, that no one else had ever heard of lactulose causing elevated blood calcium in CRF cats, and yet now it is common knowledge.)

Since my vet uses the non-adjuvanted PureVax rabies vaccine I can't blame it on the adjuvant, either. I am going to get her the distemper booster, and hope for the best. They are still using the adjuvanted distemper, at least as of two months ago.

It is the adjuvant in the vaccines that is thought to be the cause of VAS (vaccine associated sarcoma)
post #10 of 13
Glad Oscar is doing better. clap.gif
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yup he is back to his mischievious self. He is terrorizing Kattie, and I caught him batting Qtips under the dryer. He loves doing thatrolleyes.gif.

post #12 of 13
My Six year old spayed cat was throwing up/trying to cough up a hair ball after i got back from being away about 36hrs. Her behavior besides the vomiting was normal. Energy and hungry for food. Went to the vet who gave her pepcid to settle her stomach and she was fine after a day. Went away again and the same thing happened. Went to the vet and along with the pepcid they gave her and my male 6 yr old cat their rabies vaccine and distemper (sp) nose syringe. Male cat had no issue. Female cat was lethargic and refusing to eat. Back to the vet where they did blood work. Confirmed she had a mild fever which was attributed to the rabies vaccine and blood work came back normal. Gave her fluids and the kittie version of tylenol to help with the fever. Today is a week since the vaccine and shes still lethargic and has stopped eating today from what i can tell. She had some diarrhea yesterday. I've looked online and these are listed as normal symptoms for "a few days" after a vaccine. Especially if she was feeling under the weather right before the shot. My question is when should i be concerned and what should the vet be testing for? I don't want to stress her more by bringing her in for random tests and honestly i'm not so sure the vet isn't having a bit of a go at me with extra tests.
post #13 of 13

The problem is cats shouldn`t be given vaccines when they are `under the weather` as their immune systems are already compromised.   Really - this should be something vets learn straight away in school.


There are a few recent threads here about bad reactions to rabies vaccines.    I agree it is best not to stress her more at this point.   Could you take her temperature at home?   The info on how to do it is somewhere on TCS.    If she doesn`t improve I would call a vet on the phone and ask them what is the longest time to wait for the vaccine reaction symptoms to subside.    If she is beyond that threshold and still symptomatic then it would be time to act.    It might be worthwhile to research immune system boosters in the meantime.


Wish you well

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