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Hi there, long time no post.

Question on getting a Distemper vaccine for Hachi. I never take Hachi to the vet - he's been when he was a kitten, and once for a non-health related issue many years ago. I recently took him for a general checkup, and his back couple teeth were fairly dirty. Dirty enough that the vet wants to put him under to clean them. She requires a Distemper shot to do this. I very much disagree with getting Hachi any vaccines; he's never outdoors, never around other animals, never in any real risk. I don't plan on going back to the vet for a long time unless he gets sick, so there will be no routine folllow-up shots.

I really don't know why exactly I'm against them. Research I did 8 years ago when I got Hachi, but things change in that many years. She says the shot is non-adjuvanted. I really want to get his teeth cleaned, but also don't want to give him any vaccines. Can yall ease my mind on Distemper?
 

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Hi there 0ozma, good to see you and Hachi. :)

I can't reassure you about distemper though - it's an important vaccination. It's the P in the FVRCP combined vaccine. If Hachi got the kitten series vaccinations, then he should be ok, although many vets seem to still go with the 3-year booster protocol.

I stopped all vaccinations a few years ago after Celia had an adverse reaction, and my vet was not happy. My kitties used to get the FVRCP booster every year, then every 3 years once the guidelines changed. But I've heard some rumblings about vaccinations potentially being associated with kidney disease (which Celia has) though I haven't looked too much into this. Many people are hesitant to give vaccinations, usually because of the risk of injection site sarcoma (ISS). It is a small risk, but it is a risk, and an unnecessary one if vaccinations confer lifelong immunity as they should.

That said, if your vet requires it before a dental, personally I would do it and go ahead with the dental while it's just a cleaning. I'd rather take my chances with ISS rather than with gingivitis or teeth that need to be extracted. And then I'd stop further vaccinations.

There is less risk with non-adjuvanted vaccines. I know Merial is the only one that makes a non-adjuvanted rabies, but I don't know about for distemper. My kitties have always gotten the combination FVRCP, also by Merial I believe.
 

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I find it extremely odd that she is requiring distemper but said nothing about rabies which is a legal requirement in most states. If Hachi had his kitten series of vaccines then you could have a titer done to see if the initial vaccine is still protecting him.

Finding a different vet would also be an option. My vet does not require boosters after the initial kitten series for indoor only cats. She's not even adamant about rabies and told me she would never refuse to treat an indoor cat because vaccines were not up to date.
 

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From what I've read, rabies is required for dogs but not cats in Michigan. I have tried a few highly rated vets in my area and they all seem to push and require vacs. Seems like its just a sales push. I found it interesting that she performed a general health checkup at the office without him being vaccinated, but wont do the cleaning.

She said she hasn't seen a cat develop ISS in over 12 years. I can try to pursued her again and look around more for other vets, I just feel bad waiting more to get his teeth cleaned :(

Titer is something I didn't think of. He had his kitten shots and renewals when he went to the ER in 2012. I'll reach out and see if she offers that. Thank you both!
 
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