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Discussion Starter #1
Just as I made an appointment for Barnaby's annual FRVCP shot, my mom told me that she had just heard on TV that annual shots for certain cats are not always necessary, and can even be harmful sometimes.

Is anyone aware of this? Being strictly an indoor cat, he is not exposed to the things that can give him disease so are annual shots truly necessary? I know that asking my vet will not give me a completely unbiased answer because necessary or not, annual shots are job security for the vets of the world.

Anyone have any good information on this?
 

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I was wondering the same thing too. That link helps, Jeanie, thanks.

Punky got her vaccinations in March; Elly in September. To make things easier on me, I'd prefer to have them both go at the same time. Should Punky wait an extra few months? Can Elly go in early? Or should I just have them done seperately? I'm not going to take any risks with my cats, so if I have to take them at seperate times of the year that's fine.

I too am a little hesitant to ask my vet because I think they'd just want to bring them both in as soon as possible.
 

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One cool thing is that now they have shots like rabies for example that only need to be give every 3 years. Thanks for that link Jeanie, it was really helpful, b/c I wondered the same thing. I have always taken my cats at the same time so I dont know if you should take them at seperate times but it doesn't hurt if you wait for Punky to get her shots same time as Elly......I would make sure with your vet though. The reason why I thought it would be ok is that one time I couldn't take my cats in for their yearly shots unitl a few months later when I came back to town and when I had money, and the vet was like "ok, just bring them in when you can...." Plus my cats are indoor only too :D
 

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annual vaccinations

Annual vaccinations are NOT necessary and may be harmful to your cat. This has been known for many years. It has been published in every journal, every website, every place that any vet might look. Virtually all vet schools and professional organizations have changed their vaccine protocols in the last 7 years, and this fact is widely published. You’d have to live under a rock to be a vet and not know that vaccine recommendations have changed.

IMHO, there is no longer any excuse for any practicing veterinarian to be recommending routine annual boosters, other than laziness and/or greed.

The FVRCP (distemper/upper respiratory) vaccine is a great vaccine. It produces effective, long-lasting immunity. How long? Estimates currently range from 5 or 6 years to LIFE. Nobody—not vet schools, not immunologists, not the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP, http://www.aafponline.org/pdf/guidelines_vaccine.pdf ), not nobody, not nohow—recommends that vaccines be given annually as a matter of routine. Every expert agrees that a vaccination program should be tailored to each individual animal’s age, health, and lifestyle. Even for "high-risk" cats, AAFP recommends that the FVRCP vaccine be given *no more often* than every 3 years, and even that is probably way more than they need.

What's the problem? Just this:

Every vaccine given to an animal causes the animal’s body to produce antibodies to proteins found in the vaccine. This, of course, is how vaccines protect you—you’re supposed to produce antibodies to the virus! However, it has been discovered that there are other proteins in vaccines. It turns out that the filtration process by which vaccines are made isn’t perfect, and proteins from the serum the vaccine was cultured in can leak into the vaccine. They get injected right along with the virus. Naturally, the animal produces antibodies to those proteins, too. The immune system cannot distinguish among proteins you *want* antibodies to, and those you *don't*! Some of the proteins that antibodies are made to include red blood cells, collagen (the framework of skin and connective tissue), thyroid, albumin, and many others.

In the case of the FVRCP vaccine, it is grown in a culture of feline kidney cells, therefore the cat will make antibodies to feline kidney cells. Unfortunately, the cat also has kidneys of its own. These antibodies react to the cat’s own kidneys, causing a low-grade inflammation. Every booster causes more and more antibodies to be made, causing more widespread inflammation.

Guess what causes chronic renal failure in cats? Chronic low-grade inflammation!

Yes, I’m serious. Every distemper booster your cat gets increases its risk of developing chronic renal failure. What a foolish, unnecessary risk for a cat living indoors, whose risk of actually getting distemper is virtually zero!

Now, a vet might justifiably say, “well it says on the label, booster annually.” Of course it does. If it said “booster every 2 years,” the vaccine manufacturer would sell HALF as many vaccines. Why would they do that? The label recommendation carries no legal force, and vets are absolutely not required to follow it. Don't let any vet tell you otherwise.

There is not and never was any scientific justification for giving vaccines annually. It was an arbitrary choice thathas been perpetuated because, for all these years, it has made *boatloads* of money for both vaccine makers and veterinarians. This particular information was published in a major veterinary textbook, basically the veterinary "Bible", in 1992.

Rabies, of course, is required by law in many jurisdictions, and you should follow the law with respect to this vaccine.

Since this is the second time today I've faced this question (no, it's not just you guys!), I guess I'll have to break down and put an article about it on my website, LOL! I'll let y'all know when it's up. There's a lot more to cover!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Very interesting, Dr. Jean. Please let us know when you publish the article on your site.

So what do you do for annual checkups at your practice?
 

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annual vaccinations

I do a thorough physical exam! This is the most important thing, and for me it's the entire point of having an annual exam. For instance, I recently did an annual check-up on 10 year old collie, and found that he had severe dental disease. Since I don't do surgery (housecalls only, it's just me and my little Land's End bag!), I sent him to a colleague who removed 8 teeth--and, thankfully, neutered the dog while he was out! So we took care of the pain and infection, and prevented prostate cancer at the same time.

I only vaccinate for rabies in adults cats and dogs. I use a 3-year killed product for dogs, and Merial Purevax for cats. I don't even carry the other vaccines. If I'm seeing a kitten or puppy, I borrow any needed vaccines from the clinic down the road. I believe in minimal medicine--only what the animal absolutely needs to stay healthy and to heal itself. I'm just here to support the body in its own natural processes--mother nature usually knows best!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies. I'm going to call and cancel his vaccination. Should I still take him in annually for a checkup?
 

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annual vaccinations

Annual check-up, absolutely. Very necessary. I have an article on The Importance of the Annual Veterinary Exam on my website at http://www.littlebigcat.com/?action=library that gives all the reasons why you must take your cat in every year for a thorough examination and, in the case of older cats, blood screening tests when appropriate. Even if you aren't vaccinating, they still need to go.

Just make it crystal clear that you don't want the cat vaccinated. Your Cat = Your Decision. And do not let the cat out of your sight. Don't let them take him into the back or anything. I can't tell you how many horror stories I have of techs taking the cat to trim its nails, and giving it vaccines anyway, because *they* think it needs them. One such cat had a severe reaction and was injured because of it. It's not legal, and not ethical, but once it's done, it's done. Stand up for your rights and for your cat's ultimate health!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Re: annual vaccinations

drjean said:
Annual check-up, absolutely. Very necessary. I have an article on The Importance of the Annual Veterinary Exam on my website at http://www.littlebigcat.com/?action=library that gives all the reasons why you must take your cat in every year for a thorough examination and, in the case of older cats, blood screening tests when appropriate. Even if you aren't vaccinating, they still need to go.

Just make it crystal clear that you don't want the cat vaccinated. Your Cat = Your Decision.
Cheers,
Dr. Jean
You made my night, Dr. Jean! I switched vets a couple years ago from a fancy "your cat need$ thi$, your cat need$ that" vet, to a nice plain and simple old-fashioned vet who cares for the animals, not the $$$. I have never had my indoor cats vaccinated, and never intend to.

Wow, I feel like I came out of a dark closet. Thank you for the liberation! :D
 

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It IS important to get all the boosters for the first shots, right? Oreo gets his second booster Monday. So it's not necessary for them to have any more yearly shots after the first ones? I must talk about this with my vet Monday!
 

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Depends on what the first shots were! Distemper, definitely yes. FeLV, if you're getting it, requires two vaccines in the initial series, after that most cats don't need any more. Rabies is a one-time shot with a booster at one year, then it depends on the vaccines used and the law in your area what they need after that.

I do recommend getting only one vaccine at a time, because a kitten's immune system does not really know what to do with many at a time (none have ever been tested with each other to see the effects!). To mount a proper immune response takes up to 21 days. So I try to space vaccines 3 weeks apart, and don't give rabies until at least age 16 weeks.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 
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