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Does Your Cat Need Vaccines?

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Does your cat need vaccines?

Kittens:

All kittens should receive a series of FVRCP core vaccinations. This immunization series begins at six to eight weeks of age and continues every three to four weeks until the kitten is 16-18 weeks old. The rabies vaccine is usually given at the last vaccine visit. The American Association of  Feline Practitioners recommends that kittens receive leukemia vaccines whether they go outside or not.

Adult cats:

If you have recently adopted a cat and do not know your cat’s immunization history, the cat will need to receive core vaccinations. A dose of the FVRCP vaccine should be given immediately and a second dose should be administered three to four weeks later.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that adult cats have a FVRCP and rabies vaccinations every three years. Your veterinarian can help you decide if your cat needs any non-core vaccines.

In a word, yes.

“No other medical development has been as successful as vaccination in controlling deadly diseases in companion animals,” says feline veterinarian Dr. Arnold Plotnick.

However, Dr. Plotnick and other veterinarians acknowledge that, rarely, vaccinations in cats have been linked to the development of fibrosarcoma, a type of cancer that may occur at the site of injection. Studies of these sarcomas say the prevalence ranges from one in 3,000 to 10,000 cats.

Many groups are intensely studying this problem, including immunologists, vaccine manufacturers, and the  American Association of  Feline Practitioners. The Vaccine Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force has studied many factors: type of vaccine, location of vaccine, additives to the vaccine, and genetics of the cats. The most recent study was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. This showed that the safest injectable vaccines were recombinant vaccines. These have newer technology and are much more purified. This paper also demonstrated that the sarcoma problem can happen with other injections such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, not just vaccinations.

Do your indoor cats, which have little to no contact with other animals, even need to be vaccinated?

According to Plotnick and other leading veterinarians, vaccinations are indeed essential to a pet’s well being as some infectious agents are airborne and do not need direct cat to cat exposure. “To not vaccinate our pets is not an option,” said Dr. Plotnick. Instead, veterinarians must work closely with pet owners to devise a vaccination schedule that best meets a cat's individual health needs. Vaccine manufacturers have also stopped putting aluminum salts into vaccines.

Vaccines for cats are divided into two categories: core vaccines that are essential for every cat, and non-core vaccines that may or may not be necessary based on a cat’s lifestyle. For example, vaccines against feline leukemia virus (FeLV) are non-core vaccines that may or may not be necessary based on a cat's lifestyle.  For example, vaccines against feline leukemia virus (FeLV) are non-core vaccines that are generally not recommended for indoor adult cats. One core vaccine is called FVRCP, which protects against panleukopenia (feline distemper), rhino, and calici virus.

The rabies vaccine is also a core vaccination. There are two types of feline rabies vaccine: a killed vaccine that can be given every three years and a recombinant vaccine that is offered by one vaccine manufacturer. The findings of the recent AVMA article suggest the recombinant rabies may be safer, but it does need to be given annually.

If your cat is up to date on core vaccinations, then your cat may be able to receive boosters every three years, rather than every year. Check with your veterinarian to confirm whether your community requires annual rabies vaccination or permits the three-year vaccine. Also, ensure that your feline has a physical exam every year.

Sources:

CatExperts

American Association of Feline Practitioners

JAVMA, Vol 241, No 5, September 1,  2012. Comparative vaccine- specific and other injectable- specific risks of injection site sarcomas in cats. 

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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