I'm certaintly not the first to ask this question, but I am seeing all sorts of conflicting advice on this, so I would appreciate some different perspectives before I take my first two cats in for their annuals at the end of the month.
I have never really paid much attention and dutifully got my cats their annual checkups and vaccinations every year as recommended by the vet. However, recent financial difficulties have prompted me to start looking at ways to cut costs where I can in different places. Given that all my cats are strictly indoor-only, I started wondering if they need as many vaccinations as they receive, and for the first time I'm reading recommendations that adults NOT be vaccinated every year.
I don't know what to believe.
So I sent my vet the following email:
I'm due to bring in Gizmo and Oscar for their annuals this month, and I have some questions:
1. Do my cats, being strictly indoor, need to be vaccinated every year? I'm reading more and more discussion and opinions online recommending against "overvaccination." I've never bothered to ask about it, but (a) I want to do what's in their best interest, and (b) I've run into some financial difficulties, so I'm hoping to cut costs where prudent. I don't want to put them at risk, but at the same time if there's something I can cut from the expenses I'd like to.
2. I'm seeing warnings against ever using adjuvanted vaccines on cats and that some vets are still not using safer non-adjuvanted vaccines. Do you use the former or the latter?
We've reached an equilibrium in the household amongst the 5 cats (Gizmo Oscar, Tweetie, Chubs, and Clarice), and there have been no changes in temperament or outward changes in health. The status quo is good. All are still eating Taste of the Wild grain-free dry.
Does frequency of both necessary exams and vaccinations change throughout their lifespans?
To which the vet responded:
All cats need to get at least an annual exam. ***** County requires rabies vaccination for all cats (indoors or out). We have always used the safer non-adjuvanted rabies vaccine (merial's purvax), which is an annual vaccine. The 3-year rabies vaccine is the one that causes the most problems in cats.
Our Felv and FVRCPC are also non-adjuvanted, and so require annual boosters, but have a much better safety profile than adjuvanted vaccine.
We can review what vaccines are necessary for your cat family at there annual exams (for instance, the older 3 maybe able to drop the FeLV if no one is going outside).
Cats over 10 years or with any chronic health concerns should probably be examined every 6 months, especially as they get older. Based on their physical exams, weight and dental health, we may suggest baseline labwork on the older kitties.
I don't have their medical records here, but we can review their options more specifically when they come in.
So if I'm interpreting properly the vet is still recommending the FVRCPC for all 5 cats and FELV for the 2 younger ones.
For reference, the ages of my cats are as follows:
All are strictly indoor.
Is the vet making good recommendations? I'm always cynical about any entity making recommendations that serves its own financial interests.
What do my cats really need?
Thanks in advance.