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Old 05-09-2012, 11:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default So how frequently do indoor adult cats really need to be vaccinated?

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:

Quote:
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:

Quote:
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:

Oscar: 2.5
Gizmo: 3
Chubs: 8
Clarice: 9
Tweetie: 9.5

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.

Last edited by heavyharmonies; 05-09-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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call me crazy and bitter, but i'm pretty paranoid about those vaccinations. i don't even want to think about ever getting any boosters for an indoor only kitty once they've had the initial shot of anything anymore.

we learned the HARD way about those adjuvanted vaccines unfortunately with our first kitty who was a stray. we had her for a few months before we had a vet come to the house to give her a check up. the only reason we had her come out was because we suspected an allergy to beef, but the vet pushed not only the rabies vaccine, but some other vaccine AND a dose of revolution flea treatment all at once! this was while Kitty was covered in scabs from the suspected beef allergy. not knowing enough about cats at all at the time and stupidly thinking the vet would truly be doing what's best for the cat and NOT her wallet, i gave in. i even voiced my concern to the vet that i thought having more than 1 shot that day was too much, but the vet insisted it was no problem. i still have nightmares about what i allowed to happen.

i am convinced that vaccine caused the cancerous tumor. Kitty went downhill the very next day and never came back. and when i look back, i believe a good vet wouldn't have pushed for the 3 treatments like that. it was obvious that although we took Kitty in as a stray, she was so well-behaved and well-groomed and otherwise healthy that she probably was very well taken care of by a prior owner and up to date on her vaccines and didn't need anything urgently that day.

anyway, i am against booster shots for indoor kitties, i guess. i think we humans get too many drugs pushed on us as it is. i don't want my kitty to fall victim to the same thing in the future.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That's a tough one. I'm not sure I had a true opinion on it. I just wanted to give you my experience.

My childhood cat, who lived to be 14 years old, only had annual vaccinations for the first few years of her life. Then my guardians at the time figured, why pay for vaccines when she's indoors all the time?

She never ran into health problems and she died of old age. Nothing crazy and she had no vaccines.

On the flip side, I had another cat who was sort of sickly, right from a kitten. She always had stomach sensitivity, would get sick and I decided that it was worth it to make sure she had all the help she can get. She is now going on 10 and is also is good health.

I think it might depend on the cat and the situation. That's my opinion anyway.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyharmonies View Post
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:

To which the vet responded:

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:

Oscar: 2.5
Gizmo: 3
Chubs: 8
Clarice: 9
Tweetie: 9.5

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.

If I were you i would ask your vet for a titer test instead. They can check your cats antibody levels to see if they even need booster shots. Prices vary widely so this may be less expensive than getting the boosters or it may be a lot more. It depends on the vet clinic. Just know that some booster shots last 2, 3, 4 or more years depending on the INDIVIDUAL cat. The only way to know how long it last is to get a titer test. Over vaccinating can be dangerous and cause health problems which is why it is important to titer test.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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They probably never need them in all honesty. The rabies is required by law and the one year purevax is safer than the three year, so if you get a yearly exam you're getting that vaccine. I would not give FeLV vaccine to an indoor cat...they can't get it unless you decide to get another cat who happens to have it. My vet recommends rabies and panleukopenia (feline distemper). Without the vaccine I'm 90% sure my cats would never get those diseases but we get them anyway because feline distemper sounds pretty deadly and easily spread and I volunteer as animal shelters. If I bring home some sort of URI I'm sure my cats could easily fight it off, but not panleukopenia. Although I've also heard most cats are already exposed to it which I feel should give them protection...so I don't really know. What really bothers me is that both vaccines likely last MUCH longer than the vets recommend they get them. There is evidence that many core vaccines can last the lifetime of the animal.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I hear you.

One thing I do know, at least with the rabies vac. that if you dont (and it is required by law) you may have a hard time finding a vet who will treat an unvaccinated animal in and emergency.

That in part has to also do with the protection of their employees as well.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marie5890 View Post
I hear you.

One thing I do know, at least with the rabies vac. that if you dont (and it is required by law) you may have a hard time finding a vet who will treat an unvaccinated animal in and emergency.

That in part has to also do with the protection of their employees as well.
Just to clarify, I was not considering abandoning the required rabies vaccination.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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We have decided, after recommendations from our vet, not to give our indoor only Ragdolls rabies vaccinations.

In Idaho, the only native strain of rabies found are carried by bats. Only one case since the 1960's has there been a mammal of any kind been in infected with rabies, and the tests came up positive for the bat strain. Since we don't live in a cave, or near one, and since the chances of our Ragdolls being bitten by a bat inside the house or when we are holding them on the patio are so extremely low, we are rolling the dice and going without the vaccine. The risk/benefit just happens to fall that direction for us.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Google little big cat and search thier library for the articles on the controversy about vaccines. The vet community is divided on the issue. Make up your own mind then find a vet which suppots you in this. I would give you the URL of the articles but I'm typing on my phone. Sorry.

I personnally made up my mind years ago to not vaccinate my indoor cats and fosters. Ive had tragic experiences with the results of vaccinating fosters and ferals. Which alerted me into doing research about side affects of continuing vaccines.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have never given my indoor cats an FeLV vaccine, I don't see any purpose in it and the effectiveness has been in question for a long time. Not to mention that if the cat did get out and taken to a shelter, the vaccine would make it appear positive for FeLV and the cat could be put down because of it.

I do rabies because it's the law and the possible impact of one of my cats biting someone is a concern to me. And because I have had a bat in my house, it's not all that uncommon here in the northeast.

I've settled on my own personal protocol for my cats for distemper...kitten shots, booster at age 2 and again at age 5 and that's it. No scientific evidence to back this up, it's just what I'm comfortable with. My vet is fine with it.
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