2 cats adopted from rescues. My dilemma is whether or not to have annual vaccinations done ???

caltritwiamb4

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I had planned on taking both my dog Callie and my 2 year old cat to a low cost vaccination/spay clinic today for vaccinations . My vet does not recommend vaccinating more than every other year. He is the first vet in 30 years that I have ever heard say this to me. So since we skipped a year it is time for my dog's shots. I also continue to go to this vet because he has never done a lot of unnecessary tests to over charge me . I had to stop going to a clinic I had been going to for years because they were just ridicules and finally I got smart and realized they were ripping me off over the years with many pets. I drive farther for  this vet but he is worth it.  

Then I got to thinking that recently I was able  to take Callie off his Phenobarbital pill due to it being at least a year since his last seizure. Callie has gone at least 2 mo. w/out his daily pill and no seizure.  So I got to thinking where the vaccinations causing the seizures? Or is it just a coincidence that the first time I skipped a year with shots his seizures stopped. So last night I did some research 
and learned that yes indeed vaccinations can cause seizures. Apparently the new recommendation is to vaccinate every 3 years and even that is not necessary if the animal was vaccinated properly as a puppy and kitten. I  read that years ago when vaccinations first became common they did them annually  despite there being  no scientific proof that annual boosters are necessary.  Over the years vets have been over vaccinating animals which can cause a compromised immune system which in later years can cause  serious illness in our pets. When that card comes in the mail, uniformed pet parents trying to ensure their beloved pets stay healthy faithfully take their pet in every year for vaccinations. I am one of those faithful pet owners. I have been a dog owner for 30 years.  Years ago my Pekingese  died during a stroke brought on by a seizure.  She was not born with seizure d/o but developed them as she got older. The exact concern these articles presented was these illnesses occurring later in life. Also 3 other dogs that I had to put down younger than I had hoped one w/crones or cushens disease, one with a blood disease involving her blood platelets and the other with an enlarged heart.  I read that vets are resistant to this new three year recommendation because they count on annual vaccinations because financially they are a money maker.
   In fact when I have talked to my vet about it he was kind of secretive telling me not to repeat that. I felt he didn't want the word to get out that he doesn't vaccinate every year other than the rabies since it's the law. Oddly enough though he still sends me a reminder card every year.

I also read that once your pet has had the initial rabies shot you should get the 3 year rabies because the 1 year and the 3 year are the same shot but legally your pet is covered for 3 years.

So basically I am afraid to take Callie in for any shots even the rabies after the many articles I read and proof in that his seizures have stopped since skipping a year of vaccinations. At the same time I don't want him to get any of the illnesses that they vaccinate for. I read to consider the pets risk factor when making a decision about shots. We don't have a yard so Callie is an inside dog that we walk on a leash 3 times daily and in florida's heat  sadly not  long enough walks in our long hot summers.

I know this is a long post but next I want to write about my cat Trinity that is due for her annual shots. I had planned to take her in today as well. On Oct 28 2013 I adopted her from a rescue  that hold adoption events at the Pet Smart in Tampa. On Trinity's  medical records the rescue wrote and highlighted the words " latest FVRCP" above shots dated 09/11/2013. On a previouse vet visit medical record the rescue wrote and highlighted the words "old FVRCP" above the shots dated 06/24/13. This is the date she had her rabies vaccine as well. The medical record had written 3 year rabies due 06/25/14. She was a stray so the records all say feral I think for the purpose of lower cost treatment from a feral fund. It is doubtful that she ever had what the articles referred to as proper kitten vaccinations. So my concern is this do the rescues just give cats the first set of vaccinations because they are assuming that the new owner will take the cat in to be vaccinated in a year anyway?  I understand the need for this as being a cost factor for the rescue but also the need to find forever homes quickly. However Trinity did have 2 FVRCP vaccinations one in 06/13 and done again in 09/13.

My other Kitten Twilight I found on 12/06/13  when she was a mere 1 Lb. estimated to be 4 w/o,  young for shots. However I followed the recommendations of the low cost vaccination/Spay and she had her shots every 3 weeks don't remember how many times but it seems I went every three weeks at least 3-4 times and then going back for rabies and Spay when she was old enough. So I know she has had  her "proper kitten shots" as the articles described. The articles I read all recommended an  100%indoor cat with no exposer to outdoor cats not requring annual vaccinations providing they were properly vaccinated as a kitten. However, none of the articles describe what is considered  "proper kitten vaccinations." Are they referring to the way Twilight was vaccinated at 3 week intervals? 

Since I am not sure if Trinity has been properly vaccinated would it be better to go ahead and have her vaccinated again this year?

Also that poses the same question for my third  kitty Amber who I rescued from a different rescue that sets up adoption sights every Saturday at the Pet Smart     store in my town. I adopted her 02/09/14 and she was estimated to be 6 months old  The rescue got Amber and her brother from people who got the kittens  to be barn cats but the rescue was concerned for the kittens safety because they were not feral. So I am quit sure Amber only had the one set of vaccines that the vet record documents was on02/01/14. So is she she not considered to be " properly vaccinated either?" And would it be  safest  to take her in this Feb 2015 for her vaccinations and 3 year rabies as well? 

 I am not at all questioning whether Twilight needs annual vaccination when her year is up because I know she was "properly vaccinated as a kitten." because I took her at each interval the clinic told scheduled her for.

I am only on the fence so to speak because I am not sure if Trinities 2 vaccinations and Amber's 1 vaccination is enough to protect them for more than a year. I would just take them anyway to be  safe but from my research over vaccinating is not safe for our pets and the points these articles made were very convincing. As well as proof in  the absence of my dog Callie's seizures when we skipped a year of vaccinations. 

Now that I wrote this very long post I realize it maybe not appropriate because I recall it being against site rules to give medical advise. However w/out giving actual advice does anyone e have any input to provide? 
 
 

ritz

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You can get the blood titre for antibiodies, especially rabies. If there are enough antibodies, then I personally would not vaccinate my cat. But Ritz is strictly indoors.
http://www.animaldoctormuskego.com/adoption
That said, some counties require your cat/dog to be vaccinated against rabies. It is up to you whether to abide by that law.
FWIW, and this is only my experience: Ritz' FHS seems to escalate after being vaccinated for rabies and Feline Viral Respiratory Disease Complex and Panleukopenia. I've talked with my vet, and will not vaccinate Ritz for the respiratory diseases or Panleukopenia. She got the three year rabies shot, isn't due for another one for two years, and don't plan on vaccinating her at this point.
As an aside, two old feral cats (8 and 10 years old) I recently TNRd were given only the one year rabies vaccination. I don't know their history of course, so don't know if this is first rabies vaccinations they have ever received.
 
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caltritwiamb4

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Thank you for your input. I am not as worried about the rabies as much as the other vaccines. I guess long story short my concern is if the one set of vaccinations the rescue gives is enough to fully protect them. The rescues always say up to date on all annual vaccinations. What if the new adoptive parent doesn't want to re- vaccinate in a year? Do the rescues just go on the assumption that the parent will re vaccinate annually , because of the still widely accepted practice of annual vaccinations and they figure with shots every year the cats will be protected despot only initially having the one round of shots.May be I will inquire with one of the rescues that I adopted from. I agree with you if you see problems with your Ritze's FHS after vaccines I wouldn't repeat them. All the articles I read recommended not to vaccinate ANNUALLY and stressed Especially in cats with already compromised immune systems. 
 

ritz

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Shelters routinely give Core vaccinations; they have no way of knowing the cat's history. Also, may prevent the spread of respiratory ailments which in young kittens can be fatal.
PS: I use to live in Tampa 30 years ago, a block or two from Bayshore Drive. Pretty place.
 

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The series of shots that kittens get is a unique necessity for young kittens,  http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/Vaccines.cfm   This article has a section that explains it.  The kitten ingests antibodies from their mother which interferes with how a vaccine works which is why a series is given to small kittens.  Older kittens and adult cats no longer have those antibodies that interfere with how a vaccine works so they don't need a series of shots to get them started.

Vaccines actually have a longer life then first thought which is why they were switched to the 3 years recommendation.  They probably actually last much longer than that.

The rabies vaccines are available in two types a one year and a three year and the one year Purevax vaccine actually has a lower rate of vaccine related sarcoma than the 3 year.  The one year was tested for longer than one year effectiveness but there was a flaw in the study which is why it still carries a one year life.  They do animal studies for these, one of the cats in the control group didn't catch rabies which is why the results had to be thrown out.
 
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Basically, if a cat has had at least one FVRCP vaccination at the age of 16 weeks or older, they are most likely protected from those illnesses for life. The maternal antibodies that can interfere with the vaccine are typically gone by 16 weeks.

This is how it was explained to me: the vaccine itself doesn't "last" for a year, or three years, etc. What it does is stimulate the cat's own immune system to make antibodies, and memory cells. Over time (years) the amount of antibodies in the blood will decrease, but the memory cells stay. So if the cat is exposed to a virus she has been vaccinated for in the past, her immune system knows how to make more antibodies to protect her. 

Based on the above information, I don't give any more vaccines after the 16 week kitten ones. At that point the cat is most likely protected for life. Studies have been done in cats and dogs that showed they were still immune up to 15 years after their last vaccine. More vaccines will not make them more immune, but they can cause health problems, so there is no good reason to give them except to line the vet's pockets. 
 
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caltritwiamb4

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The series of shots that kittens get is a unique necessity for young kittens,  http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/Vaccines.cfm   This article has a section that explains it.  The kitten ingests antibodies from their mother which interferes with how a vaccine works which is why a series is given to small kittens.  Older kittens and adult cats no longer have those antibodies that interfere with how a vaccine works so they don't need a series of shots to get them started.

Vaccines actually have a longer life then first thought which is why they were switched to the 3 years recommendation.  They probably actually last much longer than that.

The rabies vaccines are available in two types a one year and a three year and the one year Purevax vaccine actually has a lower rate of vaccine related sarcoma than the 3 year.  The one year was tested for longer than one year effectiveness but there was a flaw in the study which is why it still carries a one year life.  They do animal studies for these, one of the cats in the control group didn't catch rabies which is why the results had to be thrown out.
Thank you so much for explaining this to me and for the link to the article. I did not know why kittens had to have a series of shots and why older kittens and adult cats don't. So your response and this article answered my question and I am no longer concerned that my 2 rescue cats are any less protected by their 1 vaccine then my cat that had the whole series of shots. I am confident in my decision to take them all in together when the last kitty is due for her rabies and have just the 3 year rabies done.
 

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One of the main reasons many, if not most, vets still push for annual vaccines is so that they can do a physical exam on the animal. If pets aren't required to get vaccines, then owners simply don't take them to the vet EXCEPT when the animal very ill. There are many illness that, if caught early, can be either easily managed or can be cured.

With that being said, even if you choose not to vaccinate, your pets STILL need at least a yearly physical by a liscensed vet.

I do strongly advise AGAINST a 3-yr Rabies vaccine. Why take a chance when we know the PureVax Rabies Vaccine (1-yr) has a lower risk of injection site sarcomas? (Yes, even though it is given yearly, the instances are much lower than the 3-yr vaccine.)
 
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caltritwiamb4

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Basically, if a cat has had at least one FVRCP vaccination at the age of 16 weeks or older, they are most likely protected from those illnesses for life. The maternal antibodies that can interfere with the vaccine are typically gone by 16 weeks.

This is how it was explained to me: the vaccine itself doesn't "last" for a year, or three years, etc. What it does is stimulate the cat's own immune system to make antibodies, and memory cells. Over time (years) the amount of antibodies in the blood will decrease, but the memory cells stay. So if the cat is exposed to a virus she has been vaccinated for in the past, her immune system knows how to make more antibodies to protect her. 

Based on the above information, I don't give any more vaccines after the 16 week kitten ones. At that point the cat is most likely protected for life. Studies have been done in cats and dogs that showed they were still immune up to 15 years after their last vaccine. More vaccines will not make them more immune, but they can cause health problems, so there is no good reason to give them except to line the vet's pockets. 
Thank you so much for your input. I knew I could get some good honest feed back from here. I guess in away I have been brain washed all these years into thinking that annual vaccinations are necessary . I have had many  pets and I have always vaccinated annually.  I had never even heard this concept of every 3 year vaccination until my current vet advised every other year. I would have taken my dog in since I had already skipped a year if weren't for connecting his absence of seizures since I skipped a year of vaccines. And thats when I did some research and then posted here for input . 
 
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caltritwiamb4

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One of the main reasons many, if not most, vets still push for annual vaccines is so that they can do a physical exam on the animal. If pets aren't required to get vaccines, then owners simply don't take them to the vet EXCEPT when the animal very ill. There are many illness that, if caught early, can be either easily managed or can be cured.

With that being said, even if you choose not to vaccinate, your pets STILL need at least a yearly physical by a liscensed vet.

I do strongly advise AGAINST a 3-yr Rabies vaccine. Why take a chance when we know the PureVax Rabies Vaccine (1-yr) has a lower risk of injection site sarcomas? (Yes, even though it is given yearly, the instances are much lower than the 3-yr vaccine.)
The wellness check that the vet gives is not a thorough examination. I have been to many vets and the exams that are included with vaccinations that I have seen done are taking temps, listening to the heart and feeling their tummy that is it. So they are bringing me in for annual vaccines to give my pet a 5 min exam that consists of the above. I would rather put the money  into a thorough wellness exam rather than unnecessary and dangerous vaccines. Ill take the money I would have spent on the vaccines and put it towards  a thorough exam that includes blood work, and any other diagnostic tests that will actually show that there may be an illness that my pet is not yet showing symptoms of. Because unless there is an obvious illness those routine exams that come with the annual vaccinations are not going to find illness. As caring responsible pet owners we want to ensure our pet lives a healthy life and we have been convinced that these vaccines are necessary. But in fact these repeated vaccines over the years compromise our pets immune systems so despite our best efforts our pets may be becoming seriously ill from vaccines.  We don't keep vaccinating our human children every year and throughout adulthood. After reading about the reason for the 3 year recommendation I am becoming more and more convinced that many of the illnesses could be avoided entirely if we stopped over vaccinating our pets. I am also pretty sure that my dogs seizures stopped this year  because I skipped a year of vaccinations.
 
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catpack

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I agree that doing bloodwork and other comprehensive tests are important. All of my vets offer these during the annual wellness exam. It is, of course, not mandated; but, is offered. However, I do know this is not an option for anyone that uses a vaccine clinic or the like. Those clinics are simply to get the animal vaccinated and to make sure that, as you say, there are no obvious health problems that would deem the animal ineligible for vaccines.

My current vets have started recommending a comprehensive blood panel be done on cats beginning at age 5 (or sooner if there is a need/concern) as a baseline. This way there is something to compare to as the cat gets older. Pending on the findings, bloodwork is repeated every 1-3 years thereafter.

You can also opt to have blood and ocular pressure taken (we now have an ophthalmologist at this clinic, so further eye diagnostics are available,) as well as other diagnostics like ultrasound or heart echo if needed.
 
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caltritwiamb4

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Missed the part about the 1 year  PureVax rabies being safer than the 3 year so will be taking all in for a 1 year rabies not 3 year. I had read in an article that basically a 1 year and the 3 year are the same so opt for the 3 year.  Do I request the PureVax shot or are all 1 year rabies PureVax?
 
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caltritwiamb4

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Thank you the blood work at 5 years to be able to compare blood work later in life is very good idea and makes a lot of sense to me.
 

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The 1-yr and 3-yr vaccines are not the same (or at least for cats they are not...have no idea when it comes to dogs.) I do know that the 3-yr cat vaccine IS the dog Rabies vaccine.

And, no, not all 1-yr cat vaccines are PureVax, so you will likely need to call around and see who in your area carries it. On a whole, the cost difference between the two 1-yr Rabies vaccines is $3-4. Well worth the cost IMO!
 
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