Do indoor cats really need vaccines?

ldg

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http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/Pages/Winn_Release_Julie_Levy.pdf

Dr. Julie Levy graduated from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of
California at Davis in 1989. She completed an internship at Angell Memorial Animal
Hospital (1990) and a residency in small animal internal medicine at North Carolina State
University (1993), where she also completed a PhD in immunology. Dr. Levy is a
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is currently an
associate professor with the small animal medicine service at the University of Florida.
She is the recipient of many honors including the “2005 Outstanding Woman
Veterinarian of the Year.” Dr. Levy’s research and clinical interests center on feline
infectious diseases, neonatal kitten health, and humane alternatives for cat population
control. She is the founder of two university-based feral cat spay/neuter programs that
have sterilized more than 20,000 cats since 1997 (Operation Catnip). These programs
form the basis for research on a variety of feral cat issues, including infectious diseases,
caretaker characteristics, colony dynamics, and anesthesia protocols. Dr. Levy also
maintains an active program investigating vaccines for potential immunocontraception in
cats.
http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/about-the-college/faculty-directory/julie-levy/

Honors and Awards

European Society of Feline Medicine Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Feline Medicine, to be awarded in Budapest, Hungary, September 2007.
Outstanding Woman Veterinarian of the Year, Association of Women Veterinarians, 2005.
Commendation for Community Service, Alachua County Board of Commissioners, 2005.
Clinical Investigator Award, Florida Veterinary Medical Association, 2003.
Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award, 2003.
Student Organization Advisor of the Year for the Student Chapter of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, University of Florida, 2002.
Superior Accomplishment Award, for establishment of Operation Catnip, a large-scale spay-neuter clinic for feral cats at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, 2000.
Distinguished Research Award, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 1993.
Silver Animal Bedside Manner Award, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 1993.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=levy-jk gainesville

Her area of specialty is immunology.
 
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emilymaywilcha

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I learned about Operation Catnip when I was checking out the website of a local vet who happens to be a Gator.

For those who don't know, Operation Catnip is a TNR program.
 
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txcatmom

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happens to be a Gator.
Off topic...but GO Gators!  I'm in TX now, but Gainesville is my home.

On topic, I'm enjoying the discussion and reading some of the links.  Since my Eko had a lump which was a reaction to an antibiotics shot, I've been interested in making sure he doesn't get more shots than needed.  We made a well thought out decision to board our cats when we travel, so we will need to do distemper and rabies unless we change those arrangements.  Some boarding places require feline leukemia vaccine and we eliminated those without even a visit.
 

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My equine vet was out a few months ago and she said "Diane you would have loved the recent veterinary conference that I attended at CSU" I said oh really and why is that so she went on to say that there were hundreds of vets at this conference and the question was asked "If there was conclusive proof that vaccines didn't not need to be administered for the life of the pet, how many would stop giving vaccines?"  Out of all those vets only 5 raised their hands and 2 of them were large animal only vets.  Several actually said they would continue with their own shot protocol until the AVMA mandates otherwise.  Now why do you suppose those vets feel strongly about give dangerous, and unnecessary vaccines?  They make money all day long by making our pets sick;(  My equine vet now says she should have listened to me and not vaccinated her senior dog which is now dying with cancer.  She said she will never feed another prescription diet again.  

The answer to the original post is, no you do not need to vaccinate your adult cats for anything.  There is proof beyond a doubt that just 1 Panleukopenia vaccines gives life time immunity (feline distemper vaccine).  I suppose if you want to do what is right by the law that is certainly up to you and I would never want to advice someone to do otherwise.  I can only tell you what I do for my pets and I feel I must protect them against the pharmaceutical industry at all cost.
 
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emilymaywilcha

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Off topic...but GO Gators!  I'm in TX now, but Gainesville is my home.

On topic, I'm enjoying the discussion and reading some of the links.  Since my Eko had a lump which was a reaction to an antibiotics shot, I've been interested in making sure he doesn't get more shots than needed.  We made a well thought out decision to board our cats when we travel, so we will need to do distemper and rabies unless we change those arrangements.  Some boarding places require feline leukemia vaccine and we eliminated those without even a visit.
I am the same way. Nothing will make me stop being a Buckeyes fan even though I am in Gatlor Country now.

What kind of reaction did Edo have after the antibiotics shot?

I have to disagree on the FLV part. I have heard of shelters euthanizing cats just because they tested positive for FLV, even though they were not symptomatic, because the virus can spread from cat to cat while dormant in the carrier. If your cat never had the FLV shot before, why not just do it one time for boarding?
 
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carolina

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I have to disagree on the FLV part. I have heard of shelters euthanizing cats just because they tested positive for FLV, even though they were not symptomatic, because the virus can spread from cat to cat while dormant in the carrier. If your cat never had the FLV shot before, why not just do it one time for boarding?
Emily, can you explain this?
Are you saying inside cats should have FeLV vaccines?
Are you also saying you heard the FeLV virus is transmitted through the carriers?

FYI, FeLV shots are the most dangerous shots, and should not be given to inside cats - at all. They carry the highest risk of cancer..... And that type of cancer, fibrosarcoma, is extremely fast growing, and something you do not want to play with it. This is a vaccine you only want to give to outside cats....
And if you heard that FeLV is transmitted through carriers, my goodness, oh boy.....
 
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ldg

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...I have to disagree on the FLV part. I have heard of shelters euthanizing cats just because they tested positive for FLV, even though they were not symptomatic, because the virus can spread from cat to cat while dormant in the carrier. If your cat never had the FLV shot before, why not just do it one time for boarding?
But cats in boarding aren't kept communally, so how would they pass it to each other? And I think you were participating in the thread where we were chatting about FeLV. http://www.thecatsite.com/t/245397/feline-leukemia-confusion

The SNAP tests indicate false positives (according to the Cats Protection League in the UK) 50% of the time. The FeLV vaccination only affords protection about 70% of the time - that's not a very high success rate. NONE of our vets recommend it, even for TNR cats. Why should a boarding facility require an FeLV vaccination? Why not just proof of a negative SNAP test? :dk:

As re: shelters euthanizing FeLV cats, that's a space vs. cost and likelihood of adoption issue. What shelter can afford IFA tests for cats testing positive for FeLV on a SNAP test?
 
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emilymaywilcha

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Emily, can you explain this?
Are you saying inside cats should have FeLV vaccines?
Are you also saying you heard the FeLV virus is transmitted through the carriers?
FYI, FeLV shots are the most dangerous shots, and should not be given to inside cats - at all. They carry the highest risk of cancer..... And that type of cancer, fibrosarcoma, is extremely fast growing, and something you do not want to play with it. This is a vaccine you only want to give to outside cats....
And if you heard that FeLV is transmitted through carriers, my goodness, oh boy.....
I am not saying inside-only cats should regularly get the FLV vaccine. My thought was along the lines of "one shot can't kill but the FLV does."

Wilbur was fostered by a woman who had a dozen FLV+ cats. They were not all symptomatic, just FLV carriers. But because they had a virus somewhere in their bodies that can spread to other cats, they could only live with other FLV+ cats. This is not just a random statement I heard but my own beloved Wilbur's foster environment. He went to that house because he tested positive for FLV. How is that not evidence FLV will be transmitted from a carrier before the cat gets sick?
 

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I am not saying inside-only cats should regularly get the FLV vaccine. My thought was along the lines of "one shot can't kill but the FLV does."

Wilbur was fostered by a woman who had a dozen FLV+ cats. They were not all symptomatic, just FLV carriers. But because they had a virus somewhere in their bodies that can spread to other cats, they could only live with other FLV+ cats. This is not just a random statement I heard but my own beloved Wilbur's foster environment. He went to that house because he tested positive for FLV. How is that not evidence FLV will be transmitted from a carrier before the cat gets sick?
Emily, I hope you see how this is a completely dofferent situation.
Wilbur was fostered in a home with a dozen of other cats, who had FeLV - he was in the general population - obviously, a very risky environment.
In a shelter, or while boarding cats are not in the same situation - they are not put into the general population. They don't share dishes, they don't groom each other.... They have no risk of fighting, or trying to mate, or biting..... So, the risk of transmitting the disease is really not there....
Major, major difference.

As Laurie explained, the issue with shelters euthanizing FeLV cats is entirely different.... It is a cost issue, and the fact that they have almost zero chances of being adopted in the first place. They are viewed as condemned cats who are taking the space of other adoptable cats..... So they are PTS....
 
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emilymaywilcha

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In that case it does make sense to not worry about your cat getting FLV. But just because I am interested in the topic, I want to know what the risk is of a cat having a fibrosarcoma on its left leg after getting the FLV vaccine.
 

carolina

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In that case it does make sense to not worry about your cat getting FLV. But just because I am interested in the topic, I want to know what the risk is of a cat having a fibrosarcoma on its left leg after getting the FLV vaccine.
One might want to ask.... If the cat is not going to be exposed to the virus.... AND the vaccine is less than 70% effective, AND it has the highest risk of fibrosarcoma in all the vaccines..... Why would one vaccinate an inside cat with it, and run any risk, as small as it is - if the vaccine is unecessary? :dk: Fibrosarcoma is a devastating form of cancer.... :(
 
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emilymaywilcha

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It is ironic that people worry about that vaccine causing cancer because its purpose is to PREVENT cancer.

Of course, there will always be people who say it prevents leukemia a lot more often than it causes fibrosarcomas.
 
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carolina

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It is ironic that people worry about that vaccine causing cancer because its purpose is to PREVENT cancer.

Of course, there will always be people who say it prevents leukemia a lot more often than it causes fibrosarcomas.
Even though it is called Feline Leukemia, FeLV is a retrovirus - it is not Leukemia as in the usual Cancer..... It is a virus..... Which is why you vaccinate against it..... Although the disease caused by the virus is Leukemia.... but can be lymphoma as well.
 
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txcatmom

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What kind of reaction did Edo have after the antibiotics shot?
He had a walnut sized lump, discovered 4 weeks after the shot (typical timing they say.)  The vet drew fluid from it and checked for cancerous cells (none.) It was very fluidy and went down rapidly after the vet visit.  The vet had us come back to have it monitored and it can't be felt (by me) anymore.  Although they say these reactions from antibiotic shots rarely turn cancerous, it still concerns me because you hear about "abnormalities" eventually turning cancerous.  It really makes me think about what shots Eko needs in the future.
 

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Isn't FeLV mostly spread by bite or during mating, or to kittens from a positive mom?
 

ldg

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Isn't FeLV mostly spread by bite or during mating, or to kittens from a positive mom?
Yes, but I think perhaps you're confusing it with FIV?

FeLV is communicated between cats via saliva exchange, basically, though apparently transfer can happen via sharing a litter box but is rare. So mutual grooming, potentially sharing food dishes, etc. Because mutual grooming and shared food dishes can be the source of transfer, it is not recommended to have FeLV+ and FeLV- cats living freely mixed together in the same home.

FIV, like HIV, seems to need a saliva-to-blood (deep tissue) kind of transfer. It is rare that it is passed other than via deep tissue bite wound or mating. A cat with severely bleeding gums may be susceptible (which would also indicate compromised immune system), but the thinking is that FIV requires that deep tissue penetration for the virus to "take hold." Kittens typically are not infected by FIV+ moms, but will test positive because of the antibodies from mom's milk. But because FIV is not freely communicated between cats via mutual grooming or shared food dishes, there's no reason not to have FIV+ and FIV- kitties living together in the same home.
 
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