FVRCP vaccine causing kidney failure in senior cats? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-16-2007, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2006
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FVRCP vaccine causing kidney failure in senior cats?

My 14 year old kitty recently passed from kidney failure. This threw me into research mode to try and understand what happened to her.

Unfortunately, the disease was in the final stages when she was diagnosed. It all happened so fast. She was fine one minute - acting lethargic and not acting like herself practically over night. She was also vomiting any water she tried to drink and wouldn't eat. The vet said we would have to give her IVs twice a day (that the vet would need to administer, since it required finding a vein for the IV) for the rest of her life, granted we could get her to eat again. And that was no guarentee that she would ever recover and have a good quality of life. Subjecting her to twice daily IVs and seeing how sick she was - I knew in my heart I needed to be strong enough to let her go. Putting her down was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

While on my quest for answers, I came across some very interesting studies/articles stating that, due to kidney disease being so common in senior cats - studies were done and it was found that the FVRCP (distemper) vaccine may contribute to kidney disease. The study found that CRF (kidney disease) cats have infiltrations of lymphocytes and plasma cells in the kidney tissues. These cells can indicate an immune reaction.

Furthermore, the FVRCP vaccine is developed/grown in kidney cells. So along with the protection from the vaccine, kidney cells are administered along with it - thus causing an immune reaction and causing the body to treat it's own kidney cells as invaders and slowly shutting down the kidneys over time.

Articles can be found here:
and here:

I don't know about you, but my indoor only kitties are up for their first FVRCP booster in the spring - I'm going to suggest to my vet that we skip it. I've read that the boosters aren't necessary - and in my opinion, the less of the vaccine they get the better. But maybe the kidney failure risk isn't enough to constitute them not being properly protected with FVRCP.

Thoughts? What to you guys/gals think?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-16-2007, 04:49 PM
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Location: Eagan, MN
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I have never heard of anything like this and will be interested to hear what others have to say. I took one of my girls for her yearly on Monday and the vet suggested that we skip the distemper. She took back what she said when she realized that my cat was only one and this was the last of her kitten vaccinations.

Apparently my vet clinic is doing a study to determine if yearly distemper shots are really necessary. They are trying to prove that the booster last longer than one year. They first do a risk assessment on your cats lives to see what their risk is for being exposed to distemper. If they have a low risk for being exposed to distemper they opt to skip the vaccination for one year. This will apply to my 2 year old Gabby when I bring her in March. I am not sure if I want to skip it or not.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-16-2007, 06:21 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Wisconsin, USA
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That study has already been done. The recommendation now is for it to be done once every three years. That would certainly cut down on the risk. Give your vet this article:

http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedi ... 2&PID=2615
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-16-2007, 07:02 PM
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Holistic veterinarians recommand vaccinating kittens against distemper with one initial shot and a booster shot a few weeks later, and then leave it at that for the rest of their lives. Young cats are the most vulnerable to distemper, adult cats very rarely "catch" it, because their immune systems are stronger.

I personally vaccinated my four cats as kittens, and will not give them any of the conventional yearly booster, but it is a personal and controversial choice.

I think researching by yourself, and reading books by veterinarians from both "camps" - conventional and holistic - is the best thing you can do to make an informed decision.

I am very sorry for the loss of your kitty...

"It is never too late to be what we might have been."
- George Eliot -
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