Health, advice, and information online community for dog and cat lovers.

What’s in the “shots?” (Part 2 – Cats)


In this episode:

Pet joke of the week: Quote from Will Rogers
Personal comment: What’s in the “shots?”

Transcript of personal comment from this episode of The WebDVM:

On to tonight’s personal comment, let us move on to vaccines in kitties. For those of you watching for the first time and wish to also learn about canine vaccines, please refer to last week’s episode. Like in dogs, there are established core vaccines or, vaccines for diseases that represent a universal risk to cats regardless of lifestyle or where they may live; as well as vaccines for diseases where risk is lifestyle or geography specific. Just like in dogs, rabies is a core vaccine in cats. The 3 year rabies is as effective in cats as it is for dogs, but the adjuvant, or substance present in the vaccine that extends the duration of its protective capacity to 3 years, has been linked to the rare development of malignant tumors at the injection site. As such, I favor the yearly adjuvant free one year rabies. The only adjuvant free one year feline rabies vaccine presently is the Purevax, manufactured by veterinary pharmaceutical, Merial.

The other core vaccine in cats is the 3-in one FVRCP, which protects against panleukopenia virus, rhinotracheitis, and calicivirus. This vaccine is effective and safe administered once every 3 years. Some vets give this vaccine as a 4-in one called the FVRCP-C, that adds immunization against chlamydia. I do not agree with this addition of chlamydia protection, since chlamydia typically infects the eyes and upper respiratory system of cats, only as a secondary infection in cats infected with certain viruses. As such, it is only an opportunistic infection in cats, not a primary disease, which also tends to respond very favorably to treatment with antibiotics. In case that is confusing, I like the prefer the 3-in-one FVRCP given as a 3 year core vaccines versus the 4-one FVRCP-C that also adds protection against chlamydia.

Feline leukemia is an imminently deadly retroviral disease for which there exists no effective treatment. There is a very effective vaccine for this disease, but I would not consider it a core vaccine, since only cats that are allowed around other unknown cats or who share the home with a leukemia positive cat, are at risk. This would include outdoor cats either part time or full time, and cats that are prone to escape. Like rabies, adjuvanted feline leukemia vaccines have been linked to rare malignant tumor development at the injection site, so I favor the yearly administered adjuvant free feline leukemia vaccine with the only one presently available currently, like the one year rabies, only made by Merial.

FIV, similar to HIV in people, is a retroviral disease for which there is no cure, causing imminent death by opportunistic infections or cancers resulting from immune suppression. Like in humans HIV, no effective vaccine currently exists, but unfortunately, it has not stopped one particular company from mass producing and marketing a vaccine. Rest assured, this vaccine does not work, and worse, it creates false positive results on blood screening, interfering with our ability to diagnose disease.

FIP is yet another imminently deadly viral disease in cats, for which there is no effective treatment. There is also no effective vaccine for this disease, but this still has not stopped a pharmaceutical from mass producing and marketing one. Like the FIV vaccine, this vaccine also leads to false positive results on blood screening, interfering with our ability to diagnose disease. Worse yet, some feel that there is credible evidence that FIP vaccine actually enhances the magnitude of clinical disease once they are infected with FIP. Folks, stay away from this one, even with a 10 foot pole!

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