To vacc or not to vacc.... - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
View Poll Results: How do you vaccinate?
Everything yearly 0 0%
3way (or 4way) vaccine every year, and rabies every 3 (or 4 depending on state laws) 2 8.70%
Kitten shots, then that's it (indoor cat) 10 43.48%
Kitten shots, rabies according to state laws 5 21.74%
Yearly plus others 0 0%
Other (please explain in a post) 6 26.09%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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To vacc or not to vacc....

I've been doing a lot of reading the past few months about vaccinations. I'm not sure what I've really decided, but I have an inkling of where I'm headed. I decided not to put this in the 'Health and Nutrition' section because I mostly want opinions of what you are/will be doing.

Here's what got me looking. Muffin came to me at about 4 weeks old. By day 2 he was sneezing a lot, so off to the vet we went (call the vet visit 5 weeks). He gave us meds and said come back in 2 weeks. Well, when we came back to the vet Muffin was doing much better, but not completely better. The vet gave him his first kitten shots anyways.
Muffin's sneezing/wheezing promptly came back. It took a while to get him over it, and that was the first time he was on l-lysine. After that he got wheezy and sneezy about every two months, so I kept him on the l-lysine. It's worth noting that some of the times his 'cold' came back were right after his shots, the other 2 sets of the kitten booster and a worse bout after the rabies shot. Another after his neuter as well.

When Muffin was about 9 months, right after we moved into our new house, he got a sore above his lip. It looked very much like a cold sore, and went away when I upped his dose of L-lysine again, and put on a little polysporin to prevent infection. It went away in about a week or so.

Now he's wheezing again, I've put him back on the l-lysine. he had been off it since summer, with no issues.

I've done a ton of research on this and I think that this 'cold' is linked to him getting the original shot when his immune system was still weak. IMO this shot weakened his immune system, causing the virus he was fighting to strengthen and become feline herpes. Again, IMO and from what I've found. my vet also thought feline herpes was likely when I asked, but also said testing isn't worth it.

Now my dilemma is whether to keep vaccinating. From the things i've read in the vast majority of cases one or two shots as a kitten, done at the appropriate time, can provide lifetime immunity. this does make sense to me. We don't get many shots yearly, just the flue vaccine and that's because it's a different strain every year. So why do they need yearlies?
Especially when you hear about sarcomas, long lasting immune issues, and serious reactions to vaccines.

I guess what I'm asking is why do you do what you do? Do you vaccinate, will you continue to do so? What kind of vaccine protocols do you follow with your pets?
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post #2 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 11:21 PM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

I usually just get the basic necessary first shots and that's it, better safe than sorry. I, myself never ever get any kind of shots or vacs ever and I am exposed to potentially harmful bacteria/viruses out in the world. So why should I waste my time and money(and possibly do harm) on shots/vacs on my healthy, heavily pampered, indoor only cat?
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post #3 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 11:43 PM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

So far with all my cats I've done kitten shots only. With Nito, I brought him in for Chica's kitten appointment because they were having a special (buy one get one cat checkups) and the vet convinced me to do Nito's rabies again. I obliged, since I knew he would get a lot of outdoor time this summer. My mom's cats go out whenever they went, and she does their rabies every other year because of this. She does their distemper on the years in between. Her cats are 13 and 10 and have done fine all their lives with this.

I don't think it's a huge issue if your cat is indoors. The boosters work best for cats that go out, with a "just in case" sort of notion. Now, if you cat bites someone and isn't updated on their rabies shot... that can bring some issues down the road, which could result in your pet getting quarantined for rabies.

As far as Muffin haves the herpes virus... yes, getting the vaccine probably weakened his immune system a bit, allowing his "cold" to worsen. I would not waste money getting him tested- many, many, MANY cats carry the herpes virus, which can be equated as to something like a human cold. These cats tend to be sniffly, and it all can be controlled with the lysine. I use it for Chica, who gets the sniffles every couples of months. Just watch for secondary bacteria infections (green runny boogers) and take him to the vet if that happens for antibiotics. Otherwise I wouldn't worry- it's not something you can make go away. But I wouldn't keep giving him vaccines, not if he isn't an outdoor kitty, and especially not if it causes the virus to act up.
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post #4 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 12:57 AM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

I started having bad reactions with my own personal cat and then some of my foster cats when given their vaccinations. So started doing research. Then had a long talk with my personal vet about my concerns.

She basically advised me to make sure all the kittens I get in get the full coarse of vaccinations their fist year. Then their immune systems will have a strong resistance to the diseases and not to worry from then on since they are indoor cats. The only vaccinations she would recommend continuing is the rabies but itís become a bad problem around our area. If a cat got out or a dishonest person dumped one of our fosters theyíve adopted it would be best if it was vaccinated with the rabies.

But Iíve decided not to give my personal cat even the rabies anymore. I have one mostly indoor cat but does go out of doors so I had him vaccinated with the 3 year rabies shot. Iím convinced it just a big money maker for vets and not much benefit from giving indoor cats & dogs the shots. In fact, I think its a detriment.
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post #5 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 09:45 AM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

Since I got Scooter and Charlie when they were older, the Humane Society gave them all their shots, so I didn't have worry about them. With Freaky, we got her as a kitten and did get her the first kitten shots and then the follow-up shots for the first year only. All my kitties are indoor kitties, so I'm not too worried about it.
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post #6 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 10:21 AM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

Quote:
Originally Posted by librarychick
I've done a ton of research on this and I think that this 'cold' is linked to him getting the original shot when his immune system was still weak. IMO this shot weakened his immune system, causing the virus he was fighting to strengthen and become feline herpes. Again, IMO and from what I've found. my vet also thought feline herpes was likely when I asked, but also said testing isn't worth it.

Now my dilemma is whether to keep vaccinating. From the things i've read in the vast majority of cases one or two shots as a kitten, done at the appropriate time, can provide lifetime immunity. this does make sense to me. We don't get many shots yearly, just the flue vaccine and that's because it's a different strain every year. So why do they need yearlies?
Especially when you hear about sarcomas, long lasting immune issues, and serious reactions to vaccines.
Excellent question and one frequently discussed on the forums! My friend is a DVM and I myself will be graduating from MD school this year. Generally, guidelines for vaccinations already have the risks and benefits weighed for you. Studies and mathematical extrapolations such as cost effectiveness, morbidity and mortality, etc. are considered. For example, in the annual human flu shot, it was found that it may just be cheaper to vaccinate higher risk populations as opposed to treating the actual flu and the flu in select populations has frequently even caused death (e.g. elderly, immunocompromised, etc.).

With regards to the question about whether the vaccine immunocompromised your cat: it seems unlikely. Vaccines typically have only proteins or dead virus or very very weak virus. They are aimed at exposing just a tiny bit to kitty so they can develop an immunologic memory, memory immune cells are actually made in the process and that way kitty can have a fast robust response in an exposure as opposed to literally taking the long time to make up an army while an infection progresses. Making memory cells takes awhile. However, I trust the vet would not have administered it should s/he suspect it will do more harm than good.

With regards to research, it is excellent that you are doing your own reading! I find it helps patients and their caregivers be more enthusiastic about giving the best care. Can vaccines cause adverse reactions? Of course. But everything comes with risk, most things can cause severe outcomes albeit the vast majority of the time it is extremely rare. There is a lot of information out there, but please take caution to make sure the source is reputable i.e. from someone licensed and/or with a good educational background in the field. The vet as well as vet schools will have the best resources to offer for further reading.

If you are still unsure, I would set up a time to meet with the doctor and discuss what the rationale behind the vaccination schedule is and weigh the risks and benefits together. For my own Snowy, we just follow the guidelines!

Snowy also has feline herpes virus and the vet explained that flare ups can happen throughout life. The virus will be in him forever so I am not surprised Muffin continues to have airway and mucocutaneous findings. The lysine does wonders for him. My bf stopped the lysine supplements too and the symptoms came back. Some of Muffinís findings can be related to not being on the lysine +/- a typical herpes flare up.
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post #7 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 12:09 PM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

With Jonah, who came at 3 weeks, I've done NOTHING so far. I will do ONE rabies shot when he's a year old and that will be all he'll ever get. Period. My other cats were adopted as adults and had been given vaccinations at the shelter. They have gotten nothing else since I've had them.

That is for INDOOR ONLY cats. My barn cats get vaccinated (combo shot/FeLV/rabies) every 3 years or whenever I can catch them (they are 90% feral).
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post #8 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 12:16 PM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

Hoofmaiden- you may want to consider get the Feline Panleukopenia (distemper) vaccine for Jonah, at least just once (and perhaps a booster). While cats *can* recover from the disease, many cats die from it. It is a horrible disease when he rears its ugly head, and the worst part is, it's common and fairly contagious. You can even accidently bring it into your home on your shoes. They say most cats end up exposed at some point in their life, so it shouldn't hurt to take precautions! (plus the vaccine for distemper is generally much cheaper than the rabies vaccine!)
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post #9 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 12:16 PM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

Hoofmaiden- you may want to consider get the Feline Panleukopenia (distemper) vaccine for Jonah, at least just once (and perhaps a booster). While cats *can* recover from the disease, many cats die from it. It is a horrible disease when he rears its ugly head, and the worst part is, it's common and fairly contagious. You can even accidently bring it into your home on your shoes. They say most cats end up exposed at some point in their life, so it shouldn't hurt to take precautions! (plus the vaccine for distemper is generally much cheaper than the rabies vaccine!)
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post #10 of 88 (permalink) Old 02-22-2010, 12:26 PM
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Re: To vacc or not to vacc....

ooh, also forgot to mention. With the timing of the symptoms and association with vaccines, it may not necessarily be due chemically to the vaccine itself. For human herpes, even emotional stress can trigger an outbreak. Perhaps the feline herpes virus does that too? Going to the vet and getting a shot can be quite stressful to Muffin .
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