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All About Cat Vaccinations
Questions and answers about vaccinating cats

Veterinarians and cat owners need more than ever to stay updated on current strategies for use of vaccines in preventing feline diseases.  There is so much misinformation and myth masquerading as fact about vaccine use that an intelligent and critical stance needs to be taken whenever the topic arises.  Too often an isolated and rare event triggers a broad and unwarranted generalization about "over vaccinating" our pets. 

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   I'm confused!  My vet now tells me my cats only need their annual vaccinations every other year, not annually.  I called three other animal hospitals and each one told me something different... and I just can't keep it all straight.
     What is your opinion regarding how often cats need their "annual" vaccinations and why are there so many different views on this?
     I just want to be sure my cats are protected.

Answer:   annual vaccinations cats... how often to vaccinate
Sometimes we veterinarians are confused, too, because there is a continuous flow of new and improved vaccines, new time frames for testing how long the vaccine instill immunity, and the ever-present uniqueness of each patient.  No one can look at a cat and say with total assurance the cats is or is not protected against any disease!  Therefore, as with humans, the topic of vaccine use is saturated with words such as probably, usually, occasionally, etc.
     Vaccine manufacturers must conform to specific FDA guidelines for manufacture, labeling, safety and efficacy.  Nevertheless, for various genetic, environmental, and biochemical reasons no vaccine yet created will induce protective immunity in every patient inoculated.
Each veterinarian studies the new literature about cat vaccines, talks to manufacturer's reps, consults with organizations that specifically focus on feline  medicine and talks with other veterinarians in the local area regarding what feline diseases are prevalent in that area and which vaccines seem to be working the best.
     If you trust your veterinarian in other aspects of your cats' care, you probably will be correct in trusting him/her regarding what vaccines should be administered and how often they should be given.  Some should be done annually, some may be safe (meaning they induced a protective level of immunity in your cat) to use less often than annually.

Doctor's Notes
     There are several excellent websites for you to study regarding cat vaccines and how often to vaccinate a cat for a particular disease.  Below are a few for your review...

Read more here...  Am. Vet. Med. Assn.  (AVMA)

Read more here...  American Association of Veterinary Immunologists

Read more here...  American Association Of Feline Practitioners

Read more here...   FDA site regarding animal vaccines    

Read more here...  Rabies protection, prevention,  and vaccination for humans and animals are in a class of their own due to the fatal aspects of an infection with Rabies virus infection! 

Click on an image to view a larger version in a new window
cat being vaccinated cat rhinitis infection annual vaccinations in cats cat in hiding from getting vaccinated
Most vaccines are given under the skin Rhinotracheitis... vaccination can protect against this deadly disease New vaccine technology is in continuous development for man and animals Just before its vaccination this little cat was hiding on the veterinarian

    I am taking my cat to a new vet and this one doesn't believe in vaccinating for some of the diseases my previous veterinarian said were very important to have!
     He explained his reasons and it sounded OK but why would my previous vet say some are important that the new vet says "the chances of getting the disease are almost zero so why vaccinate for it?"
Answer:   why vaccinate... what to vaccinate for...
There are a number of "judgment calls" that we veterinarians... and owners... must make regarding vaccinations.  Cats that go outside may have a much higher risk of exposure to certain diseases than cats that are always indoors.  So does it make sense to vaccinate all indoor cats for the same diseases as the outdoor cats?  (Rabies protection/prevention/vaccination is in a class of its own due to the fatal aspects of infection!)  Do ask questions and get different opinions, then decide what makes the most sense for you and your cat regarding what to vaccinate for and how often.
Common vaccines for feline diseases
Vaccines in the gray cells are seldom used at this time... ask your veterinarian about these.
Feline Distemper
Rhinotracheitis Calicivirus Rabies
Feline Leukemia
Feline Immune Deficiency Virus
Feline Infectious Peritonitis
Microsporum felis vaccine

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