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Discussion Starter #1
Here are the topics I'm interested in. Does anyone have more info?

injection-related cancer
communicability of feline diseases (how contagious are they)
true length of vaccination protection time (why yearly vaccines)
the risk of contracting disease vs. the risk of vaccination

Thanks for any info any of you may have.
 

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kristi said:
Here are the topics I'm interested in. Does anyone have more info?

injection-related cancer
communicability of feline diseases (how contagious are they)
true length of vaccination protection time (why yearly vaccines)
the risk of contracting disease vs. the risk of vaccination

Thanks for any info any of you may have.
When it comes to the risk of contamination I would say that the biggest risk lays in cat flu and panleucopenia. Two quite usual diseases that are completely unnecessary. Vaccination against these two diseases is a must (I think). I don't know how high the risk is for rabies though since I live in a rabies free country I don't really have to think about rabies if I'm not going to travel with my cats or import one.

In Sweden we have very safe vaccines and very few cats get sick by the vaccines. And the cats that do get sick often have problems with the immune system.
 

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Off-topic, but Sol I'd just like to say that I have never heard a single bad thing about Sweden. It sounds like eutopia from all the good stories I have heard about it though. Lucky you!
 

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I'd like to see research on this as well. Personally, I live in an area where there are occasionally rabid animals(usually racoons), and I have enough stray and feral cats coming and going from my property that I rather not take a chance, and make sure my cats get thier yearly shots every year, and rabies every 3 years.
 

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quote="kristi"]Here are the topics I'm interested in. Does anyone have more info?

Think I mentioned aaaaaalll this in a previous post, but here goes again.

injection-related cancer

Statistics show that vaccine-related sarcomas affect between .1% and .01% of the world's cat population (one in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000). That doesn't seem like very many, but consider this. Tobacco smoking is supposed to be a major cause of lung cancer, right? It causes 86 deaths per 100,000 smokers. That's .086%. So vaccine-related sarcomas are pretty comparable to the rate of lung cancer caused by smoking.

Those statistics are high enough to make the veterinary world take a second glance at their vaccination protocols. The U.S. vaccinates far more often than many other countries. We vaccinate yearly for distemper, etc., and every 1-3 years against rabies. Evidence is being shown that distemper vaccines may last longer than three years, and rabies may last longer than seven years. In fact, many vets suggest that cats over the age of four are immune to disease if they've been vaccinated yearly since kittenhood, and would require no further vaccinations for life.

The vaccine most likely to cause cancer is the feline leukemia vaccine. Fortunately, this is completely unnecessary if your cats are indoor only.

communicability of feline diseases (how contagious are they)

Panleukopenia (feline distemper) is very stable in the environment. While it's primarily passed through feces, you can bring the virus into the home on your clothes and your cats could contract it that way. Distemper is far too serious a disease, often fatal, to risk. I would definitely vaccinate against that one.

Rhinotracheitis (also called feline herpes or FHV) is highly contagious, and it's airborne. Even indoor cats can get it easily, through a window or from your clothes. While the vaccination against it does not prevent the disease, it helps weaken its effects. I'd definitely vaccinate against this, too.

Calici virus (FCV) - contagious with close contact with other cats.

Chlamydia - contagious only through intimate contact, like mother to kittens.

Those four vaccines are administered in one injection, therefore the risk is no greater than administering only one vaccine.

Feline leukemia (FeLV) - contagious only through prolonged grooming with an infected cat. It was once believed to be more contagious, through sharing food and litter boxes. Recent studies have disproved this.

Feline immonudeficiency virus (FIV)- contagious only through bite wounds.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) - only passed through close contact, and usually only in catteries with more than 10 cats.

true length of vaccination protection time (why yearly vaccines)

Prior belief was that vaccinations were necessary yearly to keep the cat's immunity at its peak. But this is becoming less popular. As mentioned before, immunity probably lasts more than three years. Studies are underway to determine the true length of protection. But until the veterinary field is satisfied, the official protocol remains at one year.

With rabies, you have no choice. It's mandated by the state, and the veterinary field has no clout over this one.

the risk of contracting disease vs. the risk of vaccination

Obviously, vaccinations would not be given if their benefits did not outweigh the risks. Vaccination is far safer than the risking contraction of the disease. One exception is the FIP vaccine. It's not been proven to be overwhelmingly successful, and some evidence exists that it may actually cause the disease.
 

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ForJazz said:
Off-topic, but Sol I'd just like to say that I have never heard a single bad thing about Sweden. It sounds like eutopia from all the good stories I have heard about it though. Lucky you!
Sweden is absolutely a good country to live in when you have animals, but nothing is perfect. The animal protection laws could be better. Hopefully they will get better now that we have a special state department that only focus on the wellbeing of animals. And unfortunately we have to many people that brakes the animal protection laws and they seldom get the punishment that they deserve.

But I'd like to say that Sweden in general is a good country for domesticated animals and their owners.
 

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My Fred is a strictly indoor kitty and he is 16 years old and in good health. I get just the basic shots for him, the ones that animal control would require like rabies. He has no contact with other kitties and is healthy so I discussed it with my vet and decided to just do the minimum necessary.
 

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age and vaccines

There are two schools of thought about vaccinating older cats. One is that they need more vaccines because their immune systems are weaker, and the other is they need fewer vaccines because their immune systems are weaker. Ack!

These really are two different things...the first group wants to pour tons of vaccines in order to get a little oomph from the immune system...the latter feels that since you're not going to get much of a response anyway, give just the ones you absolutely need. In adults, rabies is the only required vaccine, and really, none of them are that necessary, immunologically speaking.

I personally will not vaccinate a cat over 14 years of age. For anything. Ever. I figure, if he's gotten to that age in decent condition, I am not going to do anything that might invite trouble. Now, I have broken that rule only twice -- once for a 16-year old cat who lived in a house that had large numbers of bats roosting in their attic (bats are the major source of rabies in Colorado, I felt the exposure probability was too high to ignore), and the other was a 16-year old tortie whose owner ran a day care, and since this cat would bite anything that moved, that was more of a liability issue than anything.

Re which vaccines cause vaccine-associated sarcomas (VAS), rabies and leukemia are both implicated about equally (leukemia has a slight edge) because they are killed vaccines. Modified live vaccines (MLV) don't appear to have the same kind of risk. I assume the new FIV vaccine, which is killed, will also have the potential to cause VAS. The problem is with the adjuvant that killed vaccines must have in them in order to irritate the immune system enought to make antibodies. The subsequent inflammation sets up a granuloma, which may turn into a cancer predecessor or tumor itself.

As mentioned in another post, FeLV is hard to catch. You have to really work at it. It's a wimpy virus and dies in the environment within a couple of hours. FIV is too, it has to be injected via bite into the next victim. FIP is fairly wimpy as well; a study of more than 800 cats in multi-cat households showed a transmission rate of less than 5% in homes where one cat became clinically ill or died, and did not control for the possibility of cats picking it up somewhere else, since they all went outside.

Duration of immunity studies are ongoing. Fred Scott's cats are now at 8 years since vaccination and still have acceptable titers. Ron Schultz feels that viral (MLV) vaccines last a lifetime, including rabies. The head of our Colorado Dept of Health Epidemiology Division says he considers a pet vaccinated as a puppy/kitten and boostered at one year to be protected FOR LIFE. However there are vaccines that don't even last a year, like ringworm, giardia, leptospira and bordatella. But they aren't recommended as routine by anyone (except the maker!).

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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A lot of different doctors see differently on these issues, and have different training.
Some of what I have spoken about with other doctors clash with what I have been taught at our practice. But with the constant studies I'm sure we will learn more as each year passes, it would be wonderful if a load of vaccinations were not necissary every single year, as yes some of them can carry risks.
Right now our doctors claim that vacs with the exception of rabies are only good for one year. Once you reach that one year marker, the cats immune system is back to 0 against these deseases, and you need to start all over again as if they had not been vaccinated.

We also booster a lot of our vaccinations and offer more then most vets do, such as the FIP, Giardia, Feline Luke for cats. The rabies however, has to be a one year the first time around, but if you stay up to date with that one, you can have a 3 year rabies there after. In Maryland the law is that if the rabies is over due by one day, then they can not get a 3 year vac. It has to be a one year.
All of our vaccinations come with warranties so they have a lot of research behind backing up their therory/studies on the life of vaccinations.

As far as it goes for vaccinating the older cats, that seems to range in opinion from doctor to doctor no matter the practice, and individual cases. One of the doctors I work with, likes to give all the vaccinations to older animals whom are in good health, but typically only over a series of visits and not all in the same day. If they are unhealthy reguardless of their age, they do not recieve any vaccinations period.
 

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vaccinations

I'm sorry, but it is simply not true that vaccines last only one year and that the immune system is "back to zero" at day 366. That is completely contrary to everything currently known about the immune system.

The whole one-year duration idea came about because the vaccine makers only *test* their vaccines for one year. Therefore, one year is what they put on the label as a suggested interval. In point of fact, they have no idea how long vaccines protect for, because it is not in their financial best interest to know. They have no incentive to test at 2 years, because if the vaccine was still "in effect" at 2 years, they would sell 1/2 the number of vaccines. If it worked for 3 years, they would sell 1/3 the number of vaccines, etc. So the one-year duration was and remains a purely financial decision with absolutely no science to back it up.

The major veterinary schools, as well as the American Association of Feline Practitioners, have made very specific vaccine recommendations. They recommend ONLY core vaccines (distemper, rabies) for the vast majority of cats. After the kitten series, they recommend boostering every 3 years. They do not recommend any of the others for most cats: giardia, ringworm, FIV, even FeLV unless the cat is *high risk*. Here's an example from my alma mater, Colorado State. www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth/SAVP2.HTM . "Our adoption of this routine vaccination program is based on the lack of scientific evidence to support the current practice of annual vaccination and increasing documentation showing that overvaccinating has been associated with harmful side effects."

The few studies that have been done (mostly at vet schools with independent funding) have clearly shown that typical viral vaccines last at least 2-3 years and some much longer. Other studies on the *effects* of vaccines have found that every vaccine given to an animal induces its body to produce auto-antibodies to a variety of tissues, and that this can be harmful. A recent study from CSU strongly suggests that the feline distemper vaccine, when given annually, can cause chronic inflammation in the kidneys, and that this may be a major contributor to the development of CRF.

Well, I could go on and on...I guess I will have to write an article about this and put it in our free article library, won't I? :)

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Dr. Jean:

lol, I go over all those same questions and arguments in my head constantly. While our practice has many good doctors, and even ones outside of this practice, I'm still not in full agreement of their vaccination policies. Infact Banfield says a rabies vac is good up until it's 6 months over due, however, the state of Maryland demands that it can not even go past one day over due. Yes it does all revolve around safety, money, and lack of evaluations.
Personally for my adopted indoor cats we only get the dist. rabies, and Feline Lukemia test. A lot of my co-workers do the same, even though we have been trained to do differently (aka give all of the offered vaccinations).

You have many good articles on that site, the one on feline herpes drew my attention. I have a cat possibly diagnosed with that, yet the 2 vets whom made mention of it offered no education what so ever towards what the problem was about, or how to fix it. But one question, which has thrown me off a bit why do you keep refering to your writings as "free" articles. There is a large base of informative articles out there but I've never paid for a single one. :wink:
 

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"free"

I refer to our "free" article library because we also offer some in-depth, longer and more detailed reports for which we charge a small fee. For instance I have an 18-page PDF file on feline diabetes in which I cover all of the recent human research as well as feline considerations. It took me about 60 hours of research to put together, so I do charge for it.

I also say "free" to encourage people to actually visit the site and take advantage of the resources we do offer, because a lot of folks (including me!) are skeptical of great-sounding claims made on the internet that just lead to sales pitches, which is something I see all the time--very annoying!

There *is* a ton of free info on the internet, but not all of it is great quality -- a lot of opinion, personal and anecdotal data, not a lot of science in many cases. I want to help raise that bar. My personal philosophy is to give away as much as we possibly can. Our not-free reports and consulting is how we make our living. I was recently diagnosed with serious heart disease and can no longer work in practice, so this is what I have decided to do--to educate and help people resolve the issues they are having with their cats. It's what I love to do!

Anyway that's my story, hope it makes sense! :)

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Dr. Jean: Well that's wonderful. I'm glad you've found something which enables you to still work in the field. Your animal intrests seem pretty much like my own, nutrition, behavior, training, and not only just domestic felines, but the wild big cat species. Finding people like you helps me realize that maybe my aspiring goals aren't completely out of reach as they feel some days.

Your free articles make sense, as you do your educational writings for a living. Yes, there are many articles out there, true, biased, or false, and for those whom are just dipping their feet in that pond for the first time, a lot of them are quick to believe anything.
Even now people are warned to only pay attention to sites and information with a credited veternarian source, but even then, as I'm sure you know, there are an awfull lot of products and web sites out there written or "approved" by vets, on products or claims that are almost completely false.

We have a little joke at our practice, when people come in with some otc products (normally flea treatments) and the clients ask if said item is good to use sense it says vet recommened on the label. We just smile and sweetly say "Yes, recommeded by the vet paid to say they recommend it." :wink:

Freds Mom: I would really hope that your pets doctor would be able to offer you the same information told to you here. Do you know their policy on vaccinations? Should make an interesting discussion next time you visit him/her. :)
 
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