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vaccinations, are they necessary?

September 8th, 2006, 08:13 AM
I'm hearing things lately about how getting shots for your cat regularly can sometimes be harmful. The rescue that I'm currently fostering for does not give shots to any of their cats (however they do spay & neuter them). They say that because they dont know the cats' histories, they do not give them their shots. (I even have a friend whos 10 year old cat recently had a severe reaction to his shots and almost died).

I recently took in 3 foster kittens. I agreed to take them into my home with my own cats only if they'd been quarantined and would not pose any risk to my own cats.

I've have these new fosters for 3 weeks, and everything seemed fine until just a couple of days ago I noticed that one of my own cats has been having these sneezing fits, and also one of the foster kittens has been sneezing a little bit.

Should I be concerned? One of my other cats had a sneezing problem a couple of month or so ago and it went away on its own. I thought maybe it was alergies.

My own cats are indoor cats and have not been vacinnated in two years.

What is the general concensus on vaccinations these days?

Angies Man
September 8th, 2006, 12:27 PM
I'm thinking that there isn't a concensus. For those that believe in yearly boosters, it's a "better safe than sorry" mentality. I have opinions about immunization, but 'standard' limits apply (they're my opinions, in otherwords, I'm entitled to them no matter how crazy they might be.)

I have a puppy, and I'd rather not have had to give her all her puppy shots--but without them, she's not welcome some places. So we went through the entire series. (Tho with all killed virus/bacteria and only one shot at a time, I didn't allow distemper/parvo to be given at the same time as the rabies vac.

I understand how vaccination works--it's amazing that Vets pretend to not understand the mechanism. A vaccination in puppyhood for parvovirus should be good for a lifetime--the idea of vaccination is to teach the dog or cat's immune system to react to exposure to the bacteria or virus with antibodies. My understanding is that once learned, the immunity isn't forgotten by the immune system.

Some basics: Never immunize if the pet is not in good health. Never immunize in conjunction with any surgery that requires anesthesia. Refuse, in general, immunization after about 6 yrs of age--if the pet doesn't have immunity by then, they won't acquire immunity with another series. And the risks of further immunization outweigh the benefits. After puppy or kitty shots, refuse all immunizations other than what's required by law in your state or province--usually this is a Rabies shot at 1 year and every three years thereafter. All immunizations must be with killed viruses or bacteria--don't accept attenuated live virus or bacteria (there are pros and cons to attenuated live vs. killed viruses, btw.)

Tell your vet, have them put it in your pet's file, that NO immunizations are authorized without your expressed authorization, that you will not pay for unauthorized immunizations, and that if they insist on unauthorized immunizations (they will chart them,) you will terminate them. Be very assertive about this, they make money (a lot) by selling you unneeded immunizations.

Remind them everytime you take your pet to the vet.

My personal opinion is that the immunization for bacterial infections--lepto, bordatella, lyme disease, hepatitis, kennel cough, corona virus, etc. are unnecessary and ineffective, my dog will never get these immunizations again.

Exposure to animals outside the family are going to help update the immunities, btw, especially if the outside animals have recently been immunized--it's called herd immunity. Recently immunized animals shed particles of virus into their environment through their breath, etc. Which your pet breaths in and then the pets immune system reacts to these small exposure with an increase of antibodies.

Sneezing is more likely something environmental, rather than an infection, imho. But even if it's a pets' version of a cold, it probably isn't a big deal, imho.

Your vet isn't going to like my opinions. Mine sure doesn't. But my pet is MY responsibility, first and foremost. If she gets sick from unnecessary procedures, I'M the one who's going to have to live with the consequences. And I'M the one who knows her environment better than anyone. If they strongly disagree, I invite them to prove that my pet needs the suggested immunization--they can pay for the titer tests!

And you are your pets' guardian--you know their enviroment and what they're exposed to.

September 8th, 2006, 01:27 PM
I am with Angies man, BUT I do titers done every year to make sure his immune system still can conquer the bacteria. So far he is doing great, and 2 yrs old

September 8th, 2006, 02:55 PM
Honestly, I wouldn't let strange animals into my home if my animals weren't vaccinated.

Sneezing is more likely something environmental, rather than an infection, imho. But even if it's a pets' version of a cold, it probably isn't a big deal, imho.Actually, it's rare that allergies and things will cause sneezing in dogs and cats. It's more likely to be a respiratory infection, which should be seen by a vet asap.

My personal opinion is that the immunization for bacterial infections--lepto, bordatella, lyme disease, hepatitis, kennel cough, corona virus, etc. are unnecessary and ineffective, my dog will never get these immunizations againFor me it depends. Your vet should be up to date on the real threats for your area. Lepto has crept into Montreal, thus I allow lepto shots. But Lyme disease is only south of Montreal, where we never go with the dogs, so that's out. You really have to assess the current danger for your pets.

IMO, not knowing where kitties come from is no reason not to vaccinate them ever, nor should cats with unknown histories be placed in a home where the immunity of the animals there is compromised or otherwise weakened for some reason (i.e. due to illness or lack of vaccination).

September 8th, 2006, 05:26 PM
Any animal with an unknown history I would vaccinate, personally I think it would be irresponsible adopting them out without vaccinations, with almost any med there is a chance some pet will have an allergic reaction in some cases it is fatal, but only one animal is effect but if the cat had disease that could have been prevented by a simple vacine it could bring death to multitudes

Vaccine guidelines promised by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Academy of Feline Medicine1 have finally been completed. Following is a summary of the over 30-page document, and included is the "short" version of the guidelines. You and your veterinarian can use this guide to establish an appropriate and protective vaccine program for your cat household. The American Association of Feline Practitioners thanks and acknowledges Fort Dodge Animal Health for their financial sponsorship and their support of this project.

The following quote is part of the above document
Administration of vaccines more frequently than that recommended by the manufacturer is neither endorsed nor recommended. Administration of vaccines more frequently than every 21 days may attenuate immunological responses.

The likelihood of you recieving a cat that has been vaccinated in the last 3 weeks would likely be very rare, so far safer to be vaccinating than adopting out without vaccines and possibly causijng the death of other pets

Some animals can carry disease with little impact to themselves, about 20 years ago I end up with strep throat, after a month with nothing more than a scratchy throat, I felt perfectly fine I finally went to the doctor where it was diagnosed with a swab. most people would be extemely ill with it, had I visited a nursing home while I was infected it could have resulted in several deaths

September 8th, 2006, 05:56 PM
Originally Posted by Angie's man
My personal opinion is that the immunization for bacterial infections--lepto, bordatella, lyme disease, hepatitis, kennel cough, corona virus, etc. are unnecessary and ineffective, my dog will never get these immunizations again

Lepto and kennel cough(if boarding) I would give, the problem is not that they do not work but because of new strains emerging, but they do protect against the most common strains they were developed for and the vaccines are constantly being updated to include the newere strains, and kennel cough can be deadly, when outbreaks of new strains occured at the greyhound tracks it was usually the new young dogs that were hit the hardest (13 months to 2 years old) and several have died as a result,
The current Lepto vaccine protects against 4 strains, if a dog that does contract lepto the results are very serious if not diagnosed in time and if they survive they can be left with serious damage to their renal system

Hepatitis can also be fatal and there is no cure once the dog contracts and requires supportive care espeically hard hit is puppies, if it was occuring in my area I would be vaccinating for, the vaccine lasts fo 7 years.

Lyme I would not worry about, if I was taking them to an area that had ticks, I would be examining and removing, the tick needs to feed for 3 days for the dog to become infected so prompt removal of the tick is enough to protect against, affects of lyme is mild compared to other tick diseases and easily treated

September 8th, 2006, 06:04 PM
where did the cats come from?did they have vaxx?
I recently took in 3 foster kittens. I agreed to take them into my home with my own cats only if they'd been quarantined and would not pose any risk to my own cats.

September 8th, 2006, 07:17 PM
Everyone's said it, I just wondered why the vet would spay or neuter without proof of vaccinations, mine was addamant about it.:confused:

Just to say, I also agree with getting yearly titers done if you don't want to vaccinate yearly. Even if you don't vaccinate your cats should see a vet regularly.

Good luck

September 9th, 2006, 07:52 AM
I will not board any animal that is not to date on shots.I think the virus that killed the greyhounds was a type of influenza virus that had somehow mutated from a horse strain,kennel cough is usually not serious unless the animal has a weakened immune system,but the cough lasts a long time and it spreads fast.As far as I'm concerned any rescue that adopts out unvaccinated animals without knowing vacc history is not a good rescue.By law all domestic animals here are required to have rabies vacc.Your cats may have picked up rhino which is a chronic upper respiratory problem,that recurs every so often and is incurable but preventable with vaccination.

September 9th, 2006, 11:27 AM
I am not FOR vaccinations, mine are all vaccinated, but i am definately going to be doing the titer tests from now on.
Rabies is really the only vaccination that I am addament on my dogs and cats having.
Young pets should be vaccinated IMO but after that it would depend on the animals abitlity to conquer the viruses/disiese.

September 9th, 2006, 02:25 PM
influenza virus that had somehow mutated from a horse strain,

Yes but not a mutation but a zoonosis( crosses to other species) that incident was in 2003 and caused the quarantine of several tracks in the US, in that case the trainers realized they were not simply dealing with kennel cough because how it was impact the dogs of all ages and it was not responding to the antibiotics that normally is used for treating kennel cough, it wass a scary period as several dogs had died, and adoption groups that had recently brought in dogs were extremely worried and overall intake of dogs dropped to a near standstill out of fear of what was happening.

Another incident of zoonosis the happened some years earlier was a result of an employee at the track that had strep throat and the dogs became infected and it spread like wildfire as well causing the deaths of several dogs

but new strains of kennel cough outbreaks also occur and frequently , the older track dogs have been exposed to more stuff so have better immunities built up but the younger ones fresh from the breeding farms have been isolated to germs viruses so they don't have there immune systems built up to resist as much as the pet dog that meets other dogs and goes different places which is why sometime younger greyhounds are not able to fight off illnesses like kennel cough and develop secondary infections

“Greyhounds are exceptionally healthy and have very strong immune systems,” Guccione said, “so in most cases, they recover from kennel cough quickly and completely. Occasionally, though, if the immune system is compromised, complications can develop—and those complications can cause death if not treated properly.”

When several greyhounds died from kennel cough complications in 2003, the industry decided enough was enough. For help, they called on Dr. Brad Fenwick, an internationally recognized veterinarian specializing in infectious diseases.

Formerly a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, Fenwick is currently the Vice President for Research at Virginia Tech. He also advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture on federally funded research programs. His preliminary investigation established that the dead dogs had indeed been vaccinated and confirmed the ineffectiveness of the vaccines used.

In 1999 they had one of their worst outbreaks all 12 of the florida tracks shut down, Palm Beach facility called off live racing through Monday as 260 of its 900 dogs were sick, at the Naples-Fort Myers track, where about 300 of the track's 1,000 dogs have come down with the hacking cough. That is over 500 sick dogs at just 2 tracks, at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, six dogs died

Similiar story in Australia greyhound racing

Hopefully by the time you read this the worst of the kennel cough outbreak will be over. However some points about the disease are worth remembering.

The symptoms vary from a mild throat irritation to life-threatening broncho-pneumonia resulting in death in some cases. Some dogs have died in the past month.

Rest is most important. Keep the patient confined or kennelled and avoid free-galloping or trialling. Lead walking , preferably with a head check to take pressure off the throat, and in the recovery phase a walking machine is O.K. convalescence of a two to three week period is important because if the patient is brought back into work too early the result can be a "broken winded" dog that due to scarring in the respiratory tract cannot run the distance.

Keep affected dogs quarantined if possible.

The virus is spread by droplet passage i.e. dogs coughing over each other so separating infected animals will reduce the spread. Treatment of cases relies on the use of appropriate antibiotics and sulpha drugs, cough mixtures, glycerine and honey. Bisolvon 8mgm tablets are now available at the chemist. Bisolvon is a mucolytic which helps in breaking up the congestion and is a useful addition to any treatment.

Up-to-date vaccinations are important. The greyhound is an elite athlete and as it gets fitter the immunity is reduced and it becomes more susceptible to viral attack. Being patient and allowing the dog to make a full recovery will pay dividends in the future.

John Murray
B.V.Sc. M.A.C.V.Sc.

The most recent outbreak of kennel cough was just a couple months ago in Florida where 19 dogs died at various tracks

One of the reason to revaccinate is to protect your pets from newer strains as vaccines are modified from time to time to include newer strains.

September 9th, 2006, 04:04 PM
Zoonoses are spread to man not cross species.

September 9th, 2006, 05:32 PM
Zoonoses are spread to man not cross species.

Zoonoses are "generally defined" as animal diseases that are transmissible to humans. However, there are several diseases listed below that occur primarily in humans and that may also be transmitted between humans and animals, with some animals serving as reservoirs for human infection

This article on Biosecurity also refers to zoonosis between animal species

Zoonosis (pronounced zoo-e-no-sis) is any infectious disease that may be transmitted from other animals, both wild and domestic, to humans or from humans to animals.

The word is derived from the Greek words zoon (animal) (pronounced as zoo-on) and nosos (disease). Many serious diseases fall under this category.

The plural of zoonosis is zoonoses, from which an alternative singular zoonose is derived by back-formation.

The simplest definition of a zoonosis is a disease that can be transmitted from other animals to humans. A slightly more technical definition is a disease that normally exists in other animals, but also infects humans.

September 10th, 2006, 06:54 PM
I have a puppy, and I'd rather not have had to give her all her puppy shots--but without them, she's not welcome some places. So we went through the entire series.

Those are the last shots I'd even consider skipping.
I know 2 people from the same schutzhund club who had adult dogs pass away last month. Both from parvo. Why? Because it was likely in the ground, and they had no immunity having not had those puppy boosters.

It's one thing to start skipping after a dog has immunity. It's not pretty considering it at puppyhood.

January 29th, 2007, 12:26 AM
Interesting article on vaccinating.....

January 29th, 2007, 01:16 PM
I just wanted to mention that immunization does not always guarantee protection from an illness. All dogs and cats (and people too) have different genetics; some will not respond to a vaccine and will not be protected against the disease. In addition, for puppies and young babies timing is everything. When the baby is born, maternal antibodies are passed from the mom to the baby in the first few days from the mother's milk. These antibodies protect the baby from illness for several weeks, but eventually they leave the babies system. At this point it is necessary to vaccinate the baby to provide protection; however, if the maternal antibodies are still present, they will prevent the baby from mounting an immune response to the vaccine (they will essentially kill it off). As a result, some puppies may be fully protected with their first set of vaccines, but some won't be. The second booster set is to make sure that puppy is immunized. Keeping up with vaccinations throughout the puppies (or kittens) life can be very valuable as you CAN lose immunity if you are not continually exposed. The same thing happens in humans with diseases like tetanus where your immunity only lasts 10-15 years (depending on the person).

Vaccines are made in different ways and not all work the same way. Some (most) contain the whole bacteria or virus that is to be protected against. This bacteria or virus is either killed and cannot infect the animal or it is attenuated- which means it is still alive, but can only cause a limited infection which can cause a better, stronger immune response but can also be risky because in rare cases, the animal actually gets the disease (and it's usually much worse). Vaccines can also be made of part of the virus or bacteria. Most of the negative reactions seen to vaccines are actually due to the way the vaccine was manufactured or the chemicals added to the vaccine to make the immune response better. For example, vaccines are often made in eggs (they provide a great environment for the virus to grow) and so people or animals who are allergic to eggs cannot be vaccinated or need a special vaccine. Small animals (like toy breeds) cannot handle large amounts of vaccine which can cause a negative reaction- most vets won't give a very small puppy more than one vaccine at a time (unless it's a combination vaccine containing all 3 like the first and second vaccinations you give a puppy).

Herd immunity does not happen by being infected by other vaccinated animals. Herd immunity is a property of a vaccinated population where approximately 90% of the population is immune to the disease but the other 10% are protected because the disease cannot spread and infect them. An example would be almost an childhood disease, such as mumps or measles which can easily be prevented through vaccination, but due to controversy surrounding vaccination, less children are getting vaccinated and herd immunity no longer holds so there are often outbreaks in unvaccinated children. Contact immunity is immunity which occurs by being in contact with a vaccinated individual that is shedding attenuated virus after vaccination. Polio vaccine provides immunity in this way (which is often useful in situations where it is not feasible to vaccinate the whole population- such as third world countries).

That said, I have not kept up to date with my cat's vaccinations- they are indoor cats only and one is not very happy if we take her anywhere, but they did have all of their kitten vaccinations. If I was introducing a new kitten, I would make sure they were up to date though and also the kitten- you never know what either could be harbouring, and kittens and puppies get very very sick even if is something that an adult cat can easily get rid of. For our puppy, he'll be vaccinated against everything that is necessary for our area (I'd rather pay for the vaccine then the huge vet bills when he gets sick and needs antibiotics or intravenous!). A friend of ours has a pomeranian that picked up Giardia at 12 weeks old (1.5 weeks after getting him) and he was sick for months. He's always had issues with gastrointestinal stuff and also a bit of temperament problems (it's hard to train and socialize a sick puppy).

January 29th, 2007, 03:00 PM
I would not risk my pets health for something that could have been prevented.

My opinion is to never miss the puppy/kitten vaccines. I don't know about kittens but puppies don't begin to develop their own immunities until they are aprox 10wks.

January 29th, 2007, 05:05 PM
Here is a link i was sent just the other day about over-vaccination

January 29th, 2007, 05:18 PM
I would never NOT vaccinate my cats of the nexessary vaccinations. Now there are some that are not 100% successful like the Fel one so I would not bother with that but I think it is the same as not vaccinating your baby. I am not keen on over vaccination later in life though. And I would not allow my cats near an unvaccinated kitty!!

January 29th, 2007, 06:14 PM
Im still undecided. A lot of what i read about over vaccinating make sense. But thats a huge chance to take. that said, a lot of Roscos issues started right after his vaccines. I cant say they are directly related or not. but it uts doubt in my mind.

January 29th, 2007, 06:20 PM
I think its important when they are young, but im quite undecided on later on in life:shrug:

January 29th, 2007, 06:32 PM
There are risks to everything Scott but the stats do suggest that vaccinating your cat will help him or hr more than hurt. I know some injection sites lead to problems - I worried about one of my Siamese's vax sites - the lump took ages to disappear and I was an overprotective meomy and I knew what that could mean - but that was the one time I even so much as worried. I cannot imagine having a small kitten unprotected against diseases. It is akin to snubbing all the research that we know works (I realize there are always some "alternative" notions - and everyone is allowed their right to an opinion but there is a reason children are not allowed to enter school until they are vaccinated or one must show vaccination forms before entering a new country with a pet.) I do wonder about the rabies vaccine - its side effects - but in the unlikely event one of my cats was attacked by a rabid animal, I would thank God - and the vaccine later!

I hate to use the children/ pets comparison but just look at some of the diphtheria scares in parts of the word where not all children are vaccinated. Maybe my perspective is coloured by spending more time than I care to think about watching children in underdeveloped countries dying needlessly - of illnesses we have been vaccinating our children against for decades.

Why would we not take advantage of the same kind of protection for our beloved furbabies?

I do question later vaccinations and "booster" shots. I prefer vets who do not push them but I do think it is advisable to do as much research on that issue as possible.

And it actually bothers me that some of the cats - or dogs - left to run outside by their so called owners are often not vaccinated and thus a danger to other pets. I think that is just blatant irresponsibility!

January 29th, 2007, 08:26 PM
My vet simply would not allow an animal into his office if the vacs are not up to date. I know this for a fact. I think I would be hard pressed to find any vet in this area that would agree to treat an ailment if the shots were lacking. The emergency clinic will, but $$$$$$$.

February 1st, 2007, 04:31 AM
I think it's one thing if you have pets that never leave the house or come into contact with other animals. It's ANOTHER thing when a so-called rescue is moving animals in and out and NOT vaccinating. That is so dangerous and if I were you I would have nothing to do with them. We just lost quite a few cats to panleukopenia because of this. If those cats had been vaccinated, they probably would have survived.

I agree that vaccines can be dangerous. I almost lost one of my horses due to a bad reaction from a vaccine and I choose not to vaccinate her any more. However I do have all of my other animals vaccinated. I don't think I could live with myself if I lost one of my animals to a virus that they could have been vaccinated for.

I don't have a problem with a person who has, let's say, 2 housecats that are never long as those cats don't get outside. But it's the people who buy/sell/foster/trade animals back and forth and do not quarantine, sanitize, or vaccinate that really irk me. We can control the spread of so many viruses by cleanliness and innoculation. To me it is worth the risk to vaccinate.

February 1st, 2007, 04:57 AM
I worried about one of my Siamese's vax sites - the lump took ages to disappear and I was an overprotective meomy and I knew what that could mean - but that was the one time I even so much as worried.

That could also have been an abscess and not a reaction to the vaccine.