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Vaccinating old cats

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
A new kitty will be joining us in around 5 weeks and of course i'll be making sure she receives all her neccessary jabs. However i also have a 16 year old cat, Tabitha, who has never been vaccinated. She didn't come to me until she was 11 and the vet told me there was no point in giving her shots by then as she would have built up a natural resistance anyway. Tab is an indoor cat so is unlikely to pick up anything.
I checked with the vet on friday (Tab finally got the all clear after developing a brain inflammation a few weeks ago!) and she said i should bring tab in at the same time as the kitty to be vaccinated. I'm not sure what her motivations are behind this. If there was no point in vaccinating her before (despite the fact that there was another cat in the house back then who had been vaccinated) then why does it need doing now?
Don't get me wrong, i'm happy to go ahead and do it if needs be but she hates going to the vet after all the procedures she's had recently so i'd rather not unless i have to. Also, my local surgery does tend to get a bit over keen on procedures sometimes and tabs already had xray, ultrasound, five shots, a two night stay, and blood work this month due to her infection.
post #2 of 15
I wouldnt...My old vet did fully vaccinate my then 15yr 11 month old cat but she had been kept up to date her whole life... My new vet said she doesnt do shots ( rabies is not required where I live for cats) on animals over 10
post #3 of 15
I'm sure the reason your vet is now recommending the vaccines is because you're introducing a new cat. I would be a little reluctant to vaccinate a 16 year old cat though. You could have titers run instead (to see if she really needs to be re-vaccinated). The clinic where I work charges $120 to run titers.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks. i'll ring and ask her about titers. Tab was brought up on a farm with lots of other cats and has never caught anything in the past despite never having her vacs. I'll be keeping them seperate for the first week anyway and getting kitty checked by the vet before i bring her home.
post #5 of 15
I would not give Tab any vaccinations. You raise a good point when you mention that your vet says Tab has already built up a natural resistance. I wonder too why despite telling you that the vet now says to vaccinate.

As long as the new kitty tests negative for the major communicable cat diseases FeLV and FIV, there's no reason to subject Tab to shots. I'd also be very wary because she just had a brain inflammation, which is a serious condition. Shots can be a big strain on a young, healthy cat's body let alone an older kitty already fighting inflammation.

I don't think I'd bother running titers either. The problem with that is that vets don't really know how high a titer needs to be to afford protection. Vaccines are an inexact science at best.

If both kitties are to be indoors only, and are free of disease, they should be able to live very healthy lives without shots.

I would recommend requesting that the vet give your new kitty the shots individually, instead of the "3-in-1" often used. Many cats have adverse reactions to vaccines, and though it's more trouble to bring the cat back for separate shots, it's easier on the body to deal with one vaccine at a time.
post #6 of 15
Asking for seperate vaccines is a great idea (if you can actually find a clinic that has them available seperately). I live in a very rural area. All of the local vets order their vaccs in combo in bulk. Our clinic just recently started ordering Lepto vaccines seperately for dogs so we can now actually start giving them DHLPP every 3 years now (as recommended by AAHA). Dogs will still get Lepto every year though (because we're in a area more at risk for it) and since it's a bacterial vaccine it's still recommended annually for dogs.
post #7 of 15
Try a petsmart of petco even. I had rescued a cat 4 yrs ago. And they didnt think giving her all of them was necessary. Im pretty sure they had everything seperate. Because I remember the sheet even, and it seemed they were all like 8 dollars
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. The vet did say that she wouldn't have considered vaccinating tabs before because she was ill but thinks it would be ok in a few weeks. Unfortunately Tab has started acting strangely again today. She's hiding behind the sofa right now which is something she never does and she wobbled again when she walked to her bowl just now so it looks like she may be going downhill again. I'll keep an eye on her over the next few days but if the inflammation returns i think i'd best reconsider bringing another cat into the house.
post #9 of 15
Sure hope Tab is feeling better very soon. Sierra will be 12 this year, and has not received her vaccinations in several years due to her age. The exception is her rabies vaccine, which is required here by law.
post #10 of 15

Was Tabs diagnosed with an inner ear infection? The symptoms you're describing sound like the ones my 17 year old kitty has been experiencing. She was diagnosed with an inner ear infection several months ago. These types of infections are very difficult to fully cure, unfortunately, and often recur.

If this is what Tabs has, how has your vet treated her for it?
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
the vet sais she thinks its a brain inflammation based on the fact that she has ruled other causes out and because tab improved dramatically within 48 hours of being given an anti inflammatory shot. She has also had a repeat of that shot plus two of penicillen in the last two weeks, the last one being on friday. There's no sign of earmites at all and she's eating very well and looks bright and healthy. The only symptom has been the wobbly legs and she also held her head to one side for a few days. She's back out from the back of the sofa now and is curled up next to me. If it has come back again i'm expecting her to be much worse tomorrow. It came on very quickly before. Her blood work was mostly ok. Signs of a very slight infection and she was also a little anaemic but the vet said not enough to be concerned about.
post #12 of 15
I'm wondering what your vet thinks is the *cause* of the suspected brain inflammation. With all due respect to your vet, I'd still be concerned about "slight" anemia and infection! Why not address it now rather than wait for it to become serious?

Ear mites are not the only cause of ear infections. Like your cat, mine doesn't have ear mites either, nor does she have any *visible* inflammation/redness that can be seen by the vet with a scope. She was diagnosed by a neurologist who did some simple tests (one was to place her on her back and watch her eye movements) and was able to determine she had an inner ear infection.

These infections can be viral or bacterial in nature. Left untreated, ear infections can progress to the brain, causing inflammation, which is quite serious. That's why I was wondering what explanation your vet gave you as to the specific cause of the brain inflammation.

My cat was put on a fairly new antibiotic, Zeniquin, which has worked wonderfully for her. She too had balance problems to the point where she not only would wobble, but would fall. Like your kitty, mine also had a head tilt at one point. In addition, she lost some of her hearing as a result of the infection, but I believe the antibiotics have saved her from becoming totally deaf.

As I've mentioned, these infections have a nasty habit of reappearing. It's now five months later, and after having done so well for most of that time, my little girl had a recurrence of the infection with a repeat of some of the same initial symptoms, but with far less severity. It now seems (crossing fingers here) to have run its course again, and my vet advises me that sadly, it's not unusual for this to happen.

Is it possible your kitty is suffering from the same thing? If so, speak to your vet about antibiotics.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks ktlynn
i've made a note of the antibiotic you mentioned and i'll give the vet a call in the morning. She hasn't suggested what the cause of the inflammation could be. In all honesty i was so relieved to see Tab was better and the xray was clear to ask enough questions at the time.
post #14 of 15
I'm glad somone brought up the fact about older cats and shots. I know some continue giving shots till the end, but at least I don't feel guilty of not having Spooky vaccinated after he was 12 yrs old (he's 15 now). He's been shown from age 5 months and gotten regular vet visits/shots all that time.

IMO when you take an older cat in that hasn't been to the vet in a few years, the vet will find all kinds of things to test for, etc. If the cat has been heathly for years and years with no problems, why go looking for some now?
post #15 of 15
I am not sure if cat ear infections are the same as human ones, but I suffer from inner and middle ear infections, and I definitley lose my balance during an infection and my hearing is slightly damaged as well. They are also incredibly painful and once you had them, they can re-occur quite often. Oh, and I will hold my head at odd angles during an infection, as it relieves the pain somewhat, if I can manage to drain some fluid that way. If you are lucky, they are bacterial (like mine) and can be treated with antibiotics. If they are viral, I am not sure what can be done. Steroids will definitley help as it is the swelling which is so painful, not the infection itself, but it will mask the fact that it is still there. I don't like steroids, so I don't take them, but even then I have to take antibiotics for 8-10 days after all pain is gone to make sure the infection is clear and that the bugs don't become resistant to the meds.
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