Vaccinations: friend or foe? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Vaccinations: friend or foe?

I've recently received a letter from my vet reminding me one of my cats is due for her annual "booster vaccination". However, I've recently heard there is a lot of debate as to whether an annual vaccination is doing more harm than good (not to mention costing fellow pet owners an arm and a leg). There's some (rather rusty research) linking vaccinations to tumors.

The following quote, from Ron Schultz, Ph.D., and Tom Phillips, DVM, appeared in Current Veterinary Therapy XI in 1992 (This is a purely conventional textbook, and Drs. Schultz and Phillips are respected veterinary immunologists in the academic community):

"A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains for years, allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic (secondary) response when exposed to virulent organisms. Only the immune response to toxins requires boosters (e.g. tetanus toxin booster, in humans, is recommended once every 7-10 years), and no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs and cats. Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response as a result of interference by existing antibody (similar to maternal antibody interference). The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law (i.e., certain states require annual revaccination for rabies)."

In essence, Drs. Schultz and Phillips are stating that the only reasons for annual vaccination are legal (as with rabies vaccination) or as a means of manipulating guardians into bringing their companions for examinations (rather than simply recommending an examination). They also clearly state that booster vaccines provide no other benefit, including improved or added immunization. Although it has been some years since this was published, the veterinary community has made little headway toward following these recommendations. Some university experts now recommend vaccinations every three years, and other university clinics recommend titer testing to determine need. While both concepts are a step in the right direction, they still do not reflect the actual picture.

For further reading follow this link:-

http://cats.about.com/cs/vaccination/a/vaccination.htm

I would appreciate anyone's opinion or personal experience on this matter?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 08:48 AM
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Well, to greatly abbreviate a long story, vaccinations do carry a risk of injection-site sarcoma. That's been well-proven. However, this has to be balanced against the risk of the illness the vaccine protects against. New guidelines for feline vaccination protocol recomends vaccination once every three years after the initial kitten series.

http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/health/ ... lines.html
http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedi ... 2&PID=2615

And there's plenty more along the same lines available on the internet.

If that's the protocol you wish to follow, I suggest you copy the article and give it to your vet. "Old school" vets may not be up to date on the latest recommendations.

IMO, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. However, I'm going to be following the three-year schedule so the risks are even smaller.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I agree and I'll definitely follow your advice. Once every 3 years sounds better than none at all, even taking into account the risks.
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