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Vaccination Questions

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have some questions about vaccination -

My two older cats, Meeko and Esmeralda (nine and eight years old) have not been vaccinated since they were kittens. Terrible, I know, but the choice wasn't up to me, it was up to my parents (I only moved out with the cats this past May). Since I've had them and been on my own, I've been really hesitating on getting them vaccinated, because I'm afraid they'll end up with a sarcoma or some other reaction, and I'll have done more harm then good. I know these things are quite rare, but still. My two younger cats, Phineas and Henry, are both up to date on vaccinations (Phineas was vaccinated in the shelter, Henry by his previous owners before ending up at the shelter). So, questions...

- Is a reaction more likely in my cats since they're older and haven't been vaccinated in so long?

- What should I have them vaccinated against? I've done some research - definitely Rabies and Distemper, and definitely NOT FELV or FIP (they're exclusively indoor cats), but Phineas and Henry's records both say they were vaccinated against rhino-calci - I did not come across this on any of the sites I looked at - what is it, and is it recommended, and what are the risks, etc.? Are there any other vaccines that I haven't mentioned here that they should or should not be vaccinated against?

- Does anyone know how I can find out if the three year rabies vaccine is legal in my province? If I do have them vaccinated using this vaccine, do they still need to be vaccinated each year against Distemper or anything else I vaccinate against?

I'm really nervous about making this decision, so thanks very much in advance for any advice!
post #2 of 23
Definitely rabies and distemper. Those are the two main ones. My girl is 10 years old and that's all that she gets and since she's been getting them they are both good for 3 years. I work at a vet and we rarely see any reactions to vaccinations.

Sometimes when they are young. But it's usually nothing deadly. Just like a allergic reaction and then we put in their record not to give them that vaccination again. So, if your kits have had it before they should be OK. If there was a real problem with any vaccines they would take it off the market. Which is what happened with the ProHeart Heartworm injections. They were having some reactions to the injection site in some animals so they took it off the market until they can improve it.

You should be able to call your local gov't. to see about the 3 year rabies. If you keep up with the vaccines you can do both the rabies and distemper every 3 years. But since they haven't been vaccinated in a while you might have to do it this year and the next and then start doing it every three years.
post #3 of 23
Hi Kylie,

I just went through my own moments of 'questioning' the validity of vaccinations after one of my cats, Lion, had a serious allergic reaction to one of the vaccines - I don't know which one - and have made the decision that I won't be redoing the annual vaccinations on my 5 cats for the time being except for those legally required (rabies). They have all been annually vaccinated against everything up until now, and from what I have ready, probably have as much immunity to what they have been vaccinated against as they can have. There is a lot of good useful information out there on the validity of vaccinations on an annual schedule.

The rhino-calici vaccination is for rhinovirus and calicivirus - the viruses which cause cat equivalents of colds and Upper Respiratory Infections. Both of them are quite common and can be very serious and debilitating diseases in young kittens and cats, or ones who are already ill or have a weakened immune system. They are highly contagious. From what I have read, vaccination against them is no guarantee they won't get the illnesses if exposed, but a pretty good bet that if they do get them, it will be mild and easily fought off. I nursed a stray with calicivirus two winters ago and none of mine - who had all been vaccinated against it - caught the virus.

Your cats are older cats while not being 'old' cats and may have, over the years, already developed some natural immunity to some of these viruses. If they are strictly indoor cats, their chances of exposure will likely be very limited. If they had been regularly vaccinated up until now, they would probably have a full scale immunity that would not necessitate re-vaccination. As they have not been vaccinated since kitten-hood I am not sure how that would affect their status.

There is a really good ariticle on this site somewhere that discusses vaccination pros and cons. I will see if I can find the link for you. You may also want to read articles on upper respiratory tract infections caused by rhiinovirus and calicivirus to see what the 'worse case' risks are if you chose not to vaccinate.

I know that when I moved from Ontario earlier this year the three year rabies vaccines were not yet available for my vet, although she said that they were coming. The best thing to do is to call your vet and ask- they will tell you if they are allowed to use it or if they have access to it. The three year rabies vaccine is only valid for rabies so you would have to re-vaccinate for distemper or anything else you chose on a separate basis.

Kathryn
post #4 of 23
Juniper,
I am unaware of the requirements for vaccinations since you don't live in the US. But, I do know what our clinic recommends for vaccinations and what research has shown. We vaccinate for distemper, etc every 3 years. Research has proven that the vaccine lasts AT LEAST this long. In New Mexico, and many other states in the US, the Rabies vaccination is required every 3 years also. New Mexico changed their law from 1 year to 3 years in June 2003. The Feline Leukemia vaccination is one that our clinic does not recommend unless your cat is outdoors and comes in contact with other cats that could not be vaccinated. Reactions to the feline leukemia vaccine, although still rare, are more common than to the FVRCP (our distemper/upper respiratory combination vaccine) and Rabies vaccine. It is very uncommon for cats to have a vaccination reaction. However, if you are worried about this, we recommend that you get vaccinations about a week or two apart to decrease the possibility of a reaction even more. For example, we recommend giving the rabies vaccine one week and then coming back in another week or so to give the distemper vaccine and so on. Spreading the vaccines out over a period of time will reduce the strain on your cats immune system. I know several clients that do this and swear that it helps their animal. I would contact your local shelter to see what the law is for rabies vaccinations. They should know. And if not I would try law enforcement next...because they should definately know. Heck if they don't, then I wouldn't worry about compliance with the law...haha. j/k But anyways, I have an 8 year old cat with a very compromised immune system. And the vet I work for wrote me a letter saying that Bella cannot have vaccinations due to a health condition. If your two kitties are healthy, you should not have a problem though. I suspect that if I vaccinated Bella she would be fine, but I don't want to take a chance. Bella did have vaccinations when she was a kitten and one of the vets where I work heard about a study that showed cats vaccinated when they were kittens and never again showed resistance throughout their entire life. Although the study did show that, it's not enough to say if it's true for every animal or not. I also have two kittens that were sick when they were very young, but are healthy now. I give them all of the recommended vaccs. and they are totally fine. I don't think a reaction will be more likely in your cats because they have not been vaccinated in so long. But I do strongly recommend that you tell your vet that you are going to do the vaccinations over several weeks time since you are concerned. In the end, I really believe that it is the owners choice about vaccinations. I know that some vets really pressure you into vaccinating all the time. It isn't right and if you vet tells you something you feel uncomfortable with or you feel isn't quite right, don't be afraid to get a second opinion. Good Luck...I hope this helped at least a little bit...I didn't mean for it to get so long...LOL.
post #5 of 23
Hi again

Here is a link from one of the previous forum discussions on this topic (June, 2003) that one of the members posted (opps - I don't remember her name or I would give her credit for the orginal posting). It has all sorts of articles that discusses the pros and cons of vaccination. Hope this helps.

Kathryn

http://cats.about.com/od/vaccinationsforcats/
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Wow, thank you guys so much for all of the wonderful, detailed info and advice!

Another question - is there actually a distemper vaccine which is specifically meant to last three years (like the three-year rabies vaccine), or if I chose to vaccinate only every three years against distemper, would I be using the same vaccine that is also used for yearly vaccinations?

Thanks again!
post #7 of 23
We use the same vaccination. But, I'm not sure because there are several different companies that manufacture the vaccine. I would ask your vet. about the vaccine. Then you can do a little research about the manufacturer online and see if they do make different ones that last for either 1 year or 3 years.
post #8 of 23
It would be the same vaccine that is used yearly. Vaccine companies do not have to prove how long their animal vaccines are effective, except in the case of reportable diseases etc.... That is why we know that a rabies vaccine is good for 3 years.
Most other standard small animal vaccines are given yearly because that is what the companies reccomend to vets. Vets want to ensure that they give these vaccines on schedule as directed by the companies so that they cannot get sued if the pet becomes ill. (they would be liable for reccomending using vaccines "off-label")
Recently some studies have suggested that these vaccines provide more than one year of immunity so more vets are becoming more comfortable reccomending a 3 year vaccine schedule. In fact it is becoming the "standard" to vaccinate every three years or at least do titre testing to see if the animal requires re-vaccination.
Regardless of whether or not you vaccinate every year, it is still necessary to have an exam done yearly to detect medical problems early on and maintain a good rappor with your vet. Trust me- a good relationship with your vet certainly comes in handy in a crisis!
post #9 of 23
Hello Juniper! Most vets here in Toronto use the three year rabies (including the clinic I work at), not the 1 year- the three year has been available in Ontario for quite some time; any vets here who are still not using it are likely just trying to make more money by giving it yearly. As for the FVRCP vaccine, we do encourage people to give it yearly, at least for younger cats, and then possibly give it every other year as they get older.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you, everyone!

I have a couple more questions as well (I know, too many! )

- Is the vaccine for distemper and the vaccine for rhino-calici available separately, or only together?

- I've read that chalmydiosis is not usually recommended, but may be recommended in environments with lots of cats - I have four, is this enough to warrant using this vaccine?

Thanks once again!
post #11 of 23
Ass far as I know distemper/rhino/calici/chlamydia all come together and I don't think you can order them separately. Call you clinic and ask them to check with their supplier.
post #12 of 23
You can get the Rhino-Calici-Panleukopenia-only shot without the Chlamydia included. Simply ask your vet to do a 3-in-1 instead of a 4-in-1. I like Merial as the brand.

Vaccine-Associated-Sarcoma is quite rare, however, it is my belief this is a genetic issue and not one caused by the actual vaccine. For me, the risk of illnesses like Rhino, Calici and Panleukopenia are much, much higher than the risk of vaccine-associated sarcoma, so I would vaccinate.
post #13 of 23
Julya BLESS YOU and YOUR VET!!!!!! Any chance you all could come and practice in California in Modesto? The Vet here gets people to vaccinate annualy telling them the Vaccine may not work and do they want to take that chance!

VAS MAY be rare but would that matter if it was YOUR cat who got VAS? NOT to us whose cats have either died or lost their legs to it! AND a lot of vets still vaccinate in the scruff!
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juniper
I have some questions about vaccination -

My two older cats, Meeko and Esmeralda (nine and eight years old) have not been vaccinated since they were kittens.
- What should I have them vaccinated against? I've done some research - definitely Rabies and Distemper, and definitely NOT FELV or FIP (they're exclusively indoor cats), but Phineas and Henry's records both say they were vaccinated against rhino-calci - I did not come across this on any of the sites I looked at - what is it, and is it recommended, and what are the risks, etc.? Are there any other vaccines that I haven't mentioned here that they should or should not be vaccinated against?
I'm really nervous about making this decision, so thanks very much in advance for any advice!
THe Best way to answer your questions is to refer you to some sites that deal with vaccination like thsi one by a Texas Vet who is pushing for truth in vaccinating adn who WILL answer any questions you have by email:http://critteradvocacy.org AND shorti-online.org AND http://ebvet.com/7news.htm: http://www.vas-awareness.org/ : http://evidencebasedvet.com/forum/vi...ghlight=income :and the last one (that I will post!) catshots.com!!!!!

Here is what the rabies vaccine did to MY cat and SHE was LUCKY as if it had been given in the scruff she most likely would be dead by now! BTW Vaccines last at LEAST 3 years and most longer!
[IMG] http://pic3.picturetrail.com/VOL22/5...9/21710721.jpg [/IMG] THIS is about a year after she lost her leg to VAS vaccine associated Sarcoma!
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you! Wonderful links! So sorry about what happened to your kitty!

Does anyone know if the Purevax rabies vaccine actually has been approved for every three years administration? One site says that it has been since November of 2003, but the others all say that it is not (and they seem pretty up to date?) - can anyone confirm this?
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBabies
VAS MAY be rare but would that matter if it was YOUR cat who got VAS? NOT to us whose cats have either died or lost their legs to it! AND a lot of vets still vaccinate in the scruff!
I certainly did not mean to imply that it wasn't an important issue ... it most certainly is! And I follow it VERY carefully, pouring over various feline practitioner-related journals which publish study findings, researching the Internet and talking with other cat owners who have experienced VAS in their own cats. It is devastating to people who believed they were only doing the right thing - vaccinating their cats to keep them OUT of harm's way - only to lose them (or a large piece of them as the case may more accurately be) to VAS.

It is my understanding that when a sub-q (under the skin) vaccination (such as FRCVP) is given, there really are only two places on a cat where it is indicated; the scruff and the flap of skin between the belly and the back leg. If not in those two places, where would the sub-q vax be given? If a lump comes up, the accepted rule of excision is to remove to a one-inch clean margin ... this can be easily accomplished at the scruff area as well as the belly - but of course, this is presuming we are talking about the SUB-Q vax and not the intra-muscular ones like Rabies. There is a 4-way vaccination protocol now in use by most vets because there were early study results that a certain vaccine adjuvant may be causing VAS - I can't remember exactly which shot goes where at the moment - but I think Rabies is given in the Right Rear - R for Rabies. I think Leukemia is given in the left - L for Leukemia, but I can't remember if it is in the front or back at the moment. However, early results in newer studies have indicated a genetic link - causing cats with anomalies at certain loci on the DNA strand to have a sarcoma appear after injection with only sterile water. Oh, and in this study, they also found that the gene required to make a cat more susceptable to VAS is recessive, requiring another cat also carrying the recessive gene to activate it in their offspring. There were geographic pockets where cats were showing a higher incidence of VAS and it was determined that inter-breeding amongst colonies of cats was the culprit in those pocket-areas.

While I totally sympathize with anyone who has ever lost a cat to this horrible illness, I have to look at the statistics and decide for myself whether or not the risk of VAS outweighs the risk of Panleukopenia, which - in case you didn't know - can easily be brought into your home on your shoes or clothes. And for me, it simply doesn't. The chances of my cats having VAS are significantly smaller than the chances of them contracting Panleukopenia. To caution anyone differently IMO is not sound advice.
post #17 of 23
Very helpful info and links!!
post #18 of 23
Purevax is accepted as a three-year vaccine; that is what we give at my clinic here in Toronto; and we give all vaccines on the hind leg, never the scruff!!
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mellanie
Purevax is accepted as a three-year vaccine; that is what we give at my clinic here in Toronto; and we give all vaccines on the hind leg, never the scruff!!
Even the sub-q vax????
post #20 of 23
My cat died following a vaccination. I cannot remember what it was for, honestly it was a painful time. I did not request it, they gave it without my permission or foreknowledge, saying it was for her protection. I did question the vet i was seeing at the time, but they did not appear to care, or listen. i did a bunch of research at the time and learned about averse reactions. It may not have been what killed her, maybe only in part, or maybe it wasn't that, but she sure didn't need the stress on her immune system at the time. i know of a friends cat that died inexplicably following a vax. that one, not my cat, was not reported to the vet. but i believe it is wrong to take an older cat, esp. one who has heart disease or cancer or the like and just keep on vaccinating them year after year after year. i try to not do the combination vaxes, just one at a time if possible, and i believe they give at least several years protection so i don't do it every year. still, my vet recently did both feluke and distemper at the same time though i had asked her just to do distemper, and i saw them do it in the scruff, i think. it is my understanding that distemper is the most important one to give, at least in my area, that feluke can have bad reactions (she was definitely down for two days), and that the rabies vax, again in my understanding, has the most bad reactions of all. i don't do it. i don't believe the law requires it in my area. it's for humans protection, not for the cat's, i think, if the law does require. also, with my pets vax history is unclear, they are rescues, maybe they just got their second one this year from me, or maybe they never had any. it's a gamble. i have read and heard about nosodes, which are one of the homeopathic alternatives, but i haven't tried them yet. i've read mixed reviews, some good and some bad.
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
So sorry about your kitty, glowbugm!

Mellanie, do you mind if I ask what clinic you are at? I really like the sounds of how things are done at your clinic, so if I talk to my vet and it doesn't sound as good, and yours isn't terribly far away, I'd be really interested in having the vaxes done there. You can PM me if you don't want to announce where you work to the whole board for privacy/safety reasons (and if you're not even comfortable telling me, I totally understand!).
post #22 of 23
So sorry about your baby's leg, Heidi, and your kitty as well, Glowbugm. I, too, lost my terrific boy Louie, to a VAS.

IMO vaccines have been a mixed blessing. They're a wonderful advancement in the care of our beloved felines, but we overuse them. It was once thought that vaccines were mandatory annually. That thinking has changed. Now it is being recommended that they can be given every 3 years. I don't doubt that several years from now the protocol will again change and vaccines will only be administered once with a one-time booster for the life of the cat.

My cats are strictly indoor. Two have been vaccinated for rabies and distemper when they were kittens, with a booster at one year. They are now 10 and 4 and in good health. I will not vaccinate them again. My oldest is 16 and I dutifully vaccinated her every year of her life until she was 9 years old. I have not vaccinated her since. She has numerous health problems, some of which are suspected to be the result of too many vaccinations. In addition to VAS which causes disfigurement or worse, death, there is evidence implicating vaccination as the cause of many serious chronic health problems, including auto-immune disease, allergies, skin problems, arthritis, even kidney disease.

I think everyone needs to evaluate the pros and cons of vaccinating depending on their own situation. If you run a cattery, or deal with many foster cats or are a shelter worker, you may choose to vaccinate your cats because of the increased risk of exposure for your cats. Kylie, if Meeko and Esmeralda are indoor only and are healthy, IMO I wouldn't vaccinate them again since their risk of exposure is virtually non-existent, especially for rabies. Your cats are already 8 and 9 years old and have been doing just fine.

Keep in mind that if you decide to vaccinate, that all vaccines are approved for use in healthy animals only. If your cat has any signs of disease or a chronic condition, vaccine manufacturers do not recommend administration of the vaccines. Despite this, many vets still vaccinate cats who are ill. Also, unless something has changed, the 3 year rabies vaccine still uses the harmful adjuvant that is suspected to cause VAS. If you do decide to give rabies shots, you'll have to ask for the Purevax rabies which must be given annually. The trade-off is the safer adjuvant.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KTLynn
So sorry about your baby's leg, Heidi, and your kitty as well, Glowbugm. I, too, lost my terrific boy Louie, to a VAS.

IMO vaccines have been a mixed blessing. They're a wonderful advancement in the care of our beloved felines, but we overuse them. It was once thought that vaccines were mandatory annually. That thinking has changed. Now it is being recommended that they can be given every 3 years. I don't doubt that several years from now the protocol will again change and vaccines will only be administered once with a one-time booster for the life of the cat.

My cats are strictly indoor. Two have been vaccinated for rabies and distemper when they were kittens, with a booster at one year. They are now 10 and 4 and in good health. I will not vaccinate them again. My oldest is 16 and I dutifully vaccinated her every year of her life until she was 9 years old. I have not vaccinated her since. She has numerous health problems, some of which are suspected to be the result of too many vaccinations. In addition to VAS which causes disfigurement or worse, death, there is evidence implicating vaccination as the cause of many serious chronic health problems, including auto-immune disease, allergies, skin problems, arthritis, even kidney disease.

I think everyone needs to evaluate the pros and cons of vaccinating depending on their own situation. If you run a cattery, or deal with many foster cats or are a shelter worker, you may choose to vaccinate your cats because of the increased risk of exposure for your cats. Kylie, if your cats are indoor only and are healthy, IMO I wouldn't vaccinate them again since their risk of exposure is virtually non-existent, especially for rabies. Your cats are already 8 and 9 years old and have been doing just fine.

Keep in mind that if you decide to vaccinate, that all vaccines are approved for use in healthy animals only. If your cat has any signs of disease or a chronic condition, vaccine manufacturers do not recommend administration of the vaccines. Despite this, many vets still vaccinate cats who are ill. Also, unless somethin has changed, the 3 year rabies vaccine still uses the harmful adjuvant that is suspected to cause VAS. If you do decide to give rabies shots, you'll have to ask for the Purevax rabies which must be given annually. The trade-off is the safer adjuvant.
Thank you for the advice! And so sorry about the loss of your kitty. To be honest, I would really prefer to not vaccinate at all - I just don't like the risks. However, in my province, rabies vaccination is mandated by law - I've been breaking that law for the past few months and I'm really not comfortable with that, so I know that I need to vaccinate at the very least, against rabies. I really wish that the law was different, and that I didn't have to, though.
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