Dr. Michael W. Fox

Cat Vaccination Protocols

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CAT VACCINATION PROTOCOLS & SERVICES
A Review by Dr. Michael W. Fox

"Anytime you inject anything into a patient you have the potential of killing them."--Prof. Ron Schultz, DVM.

The practice of giving cats several different vaccinations against various diseases all at the same time early in life and then again every year as "boosters" for the rest of their lives is coming to a close. This is for two primary reasons: animals can have adverse reactions to vaccinations that can impair their health for the rest of their lives; routine "booster" shots are not needed since earlier vaccinations have given animals sufficient immunity to the diseases in question.

First, kittens should not be given vaccinations before 8-10 weeks of age since this can interfere with the natural immunity in their systems conferred by the colostrum or first milk of their mothers. But if the immune status of the mother is unknown, as is the situation for many to-be-adopted kittens in animal shelters, vaccinations at an earlier age between 5-6 weeks is the usual protocol. Adult animals in a compromised immune state, as for example those who are ill, injured, or being given an anesthetic and operated on, such as being spayed or castrated, or for any other surgical procedure, are pregnant or nursing, or are old and infirm, should not be vaccinated.

Rabies vaccinations, unless in-field conditions make this logistically difficult, should never be given at the same time other combined vaccinations are given. Separate by at least 3 weeks.

For minimal basic vaccination protocols, developed by Dr. Jean Dodds, see Table 1.

If your cat received all core vaccines by 16 weeks of age, have antibody blood titers evaluated at 1 year of age if you have reservations about re-vaccination.

No vaccine can guarantee immunity, since different strains of infective agents may be involved, and animals who are stressed, suffering from poor nutrition, genetic susceptibility and concurrent disease may have impaired immune systems and lowered resistance to disease. But this does not mean that they should never be vaccinated or be routinely re-vaccinated just in case, because vaccinations can cause further immune system impairment and a host of health problems---the so called vaccinosis diseases--- that these new vaccination protocols are aimed at minimizing.

FELINE MINIMAL VACCINE USE PROTOCOL - 2007

Age of Kittens Vaccine Type

8 weeks: Panleukopenia, calicivirus, herpes virus, trivalent killed vaccine or Recombinant MLV

12 weeks: Same as above

20 weeks or older: Rabies - if allowable by law

1 year: Panleukopenia, calicivirus, herpes virus (0ptional)

1 year: Rabies, killed 3-year product (give 3-4 weeks apart from other vaccines booster), if required

W. Jean Dodds, DVM. Hemopet, 938 Stanford Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403; 310-828-4804; Fax 310-828-8251; e-mail hemopet@hotmail.com.

CAT VACCINATION PROTOCOLS & SERVICES

  A Review by Dr. Michael W. Fox

 

Anytime you inject anything into a patient you have the potential of killing them”.—Prof. Ron Schultz, DVM.

 

The practice of giving cats several different vaccinations against various diseases all at the same time early in life and then again every year as "boosters" for the rest of their lives is coming to a close. This is for two primary reasons: animals can have adverse reactions to vaccinations that can impair their health for the rest of their lives; routine "booster" shots are not needed since earlier vaccinations have given animals sufficient immunity to the diseases in question.

First, kittens should not be given vaccinations before 8-10 weeks of age since this can interfere with the natural immunity in their systems conferred by the colostrum or first milk of their mothers. But if the immune status of the mother is unknown, as is the situation for many to-be-adopted kittens in animal shelters, vaccinations at an earlier age between 5-6 weeks is the usual protocol. Adult animals in a compromised immune state, as for example those who are ill, injured, or being given an anesthetic and operated on, such as being spayed or castrated, or for any other surgical procedure, are pregnant or nursing, or are old and infirm, should not be vaccinated.

 

Rabies vaccinations, unless in-field conditions make this logistically difficult, should never be given at the same time other combined vaccinations are given. Separate by at least 3 weeks.

 

For minimal basic vaccination protocols, developed by Dr. Jean Dodds, see Table 1.

 

 If your cat  received all core vaccines by 16 weeks of age, have antibody blood titers evaluated at 1 year of age if you have reservations about re-vaccination.

 

No vaccine can guarantee immunity, since different strains of infective agents may be involved, and animals who are stressed, suffering from poor nutrition, genetic susceptibility and concurrent disease may have impaired immune systems and lowered resistance to disease. But this does not mean that they should never be vaccinated or be routinely re-vaccinated just in case, because vaccinations can cause further immune system impairment and a host of health problems---the so called vaccinosis diseases--- that these new vaccination protocols are aimed at minimizing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FELINE MINIMAL VACCINE USE PROTOCOL – 2007

 

 

Age of Kittens

Vaccine Type

 

8 weeks

 

 

12 weeks

 

20 weeks or older, if allowable by law

 

1 year

 

 

1 year

 

 

 

Panleukopenia, calicivirus, herpes virus, trivalent killed vaccine or Recombinant MLV    

                                    

Same as above

 

Rabies, IF required by law

 

Panleukopenia, calicivirus, herpes virus (0ptional)

 

Rabies, killed 3-year product (give 3-4 weeks apart from other vaccines booster), if required

 

 

W. Jean Dodds, DVM. Hemopet, 938 Stanford Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403; 310-828-4804; Fax 310-828-8251; e-mail hemopet@hotmail.com.                                

 

REASONS FOR VACCINE TITER TESTING *

        To determine that animal is protected (suggested by a positive test result)

        To identify a susceptible animal (suggested by a negative test result)

        To determine whether an individual animal has responded to a vaccine

        To determine whether an individual vaccine is effectively immunizing animals

            ________________________________________________________________

         * from: Schultz, Ford, Olsen, Scott. Vet Med, 97: 1-13, 2002  

 

AVAILABLE VACCINE TITERS FOR CATS

     Panleukopenia Virus

     Herpes Virus ( Rhinotracheitis Virus)

     Calicivirus

     Rabies Virus (RFFIT: non export)

 

In an article in DVM360 entitled Vaccination: An Overview, http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/avhc/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=568351 Dr. Melissa Kennedy states that of the two types of adverse reactions:

"Adverse reactions have also become a major concern in small animal medicine. ... These fall into two general categories. The first is immediate hypersensitivity. This may be a local or systemic response, and is due to pre-existing antibody to the agent. This is the classic "allergic reaction" to the vaccine and can be life-threatening. The second is a delayed response, requiring days or longer to develop. The vaccine, seen as foreign, elicits a significant inflammatory response and is especially true for adjuvanted vaccines. This response can manifest as a granuloma, or more seriously, a fibrosarcoma."

Cat’s Tail Deemed Good Vaccination Spot

In a move that could improve some cat cancer treatments, University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine determined that vaccinating cats in the tail is a viable option.

By CatChannel News Editors | Posted: October, 31, 2013, 12 p.m. EDT

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Administering a vaccine in a cat’s tail instead of in a limb is just as effective and makes for less invasive treatment if cancer forms at the injection site, the University of Florida reported today.

 The alternative vaccination protocol could give cat owners more reason to treat the cancer because many choose not to when leg amputation or disfiguring tumor removal is necessary.

Find out how some vaccines have led to cancer >>

The chance of soft tissue sarcoma developing at an injection site is slim — only 1 to 10 cats out of every 10,000 vaccinated, said veterinarian Julie Levy, the Maddie’s Professor of Shelter Medicine at UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

 "It’s still important to vaccinate because death from these infections is much more common than the cancer, but unfortunately this complication is one that does affect thousands of cats each year,” Levy said.
The alternative location was the focus of a report published online in October by the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

Current recommendations of the American Association of Feline Practitioners are to administer a vaccination below a leg’s elbow, or knee joint. The researchers found no significant difference in a cat’s tolerance of a tail vaccination and one given in a hind leg.

 
Amputating a tail is much easier and less traumatic than invasive surgery on a limb, Levy said.

"Many cat owners elect not to pursue the most effective treatment — radical surgery of the tumor — because excision of tumors in the limbs and torso is often disfiguring, painful and expensive,” Levy said.

Julius Liptak, a surgery specialist and a founding fellow in surgical oncology with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, called the study "very important for a number of reasons.”

"Firstly, it is important that vaccinations in the tail are effective in providing the necessary immunity against infectious and communicable diseases,” Liptak said. "Secondly, vaccinations in the tail are easy to perform and well tolerated by cats, which will hopefully mean that general practitioners will be willing to change their vaccination protocols and try this new location.”

Veterinarians in the U.K are being urged to adopt the vaccinations of cats and dogs against “core” diseases (excluding rabies) advocated by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association to its 86 member countries.* They are similar to those that I and other veterinarians in the U.S. and Canada have been advocating for the past 15 years and more on the basis of sound science---advances in vaccinology, immunology and blood titer testing rather than personal opinion, to optimize the benefits and minimize the risks.

The core vaccinations against feline parvovirus, feline herpesvirus type 1 (rhinotreacheitis) and feline calicivirus are given to kittens at 8, 12,16 weeks or older, 26 weeks and at 52 weeks if not given at 26 weeks of age. Then for low risk cats who live indoors, this combination of vaccines is recommended to be given at 4, 7 and 10 years of age with the option of only re-vaccinating against feline herpesvirus type 1 and feline calicivirus if the serum titer readings are high for feline parvovirus immunity indicating continued effective immunity.

In sum, these core vaccinations need not be given annually. Other vaccinations (non-core) may be called for depending on the region, outbreaks of infections and associated exposure risks.

*See Michael J. Day, Small animal vaccination: a practical guide for vets in the UK. The Veterinary Record, In Practice, 39: 110-118 2017.

 

 

 


Check the link below for a Dr. Fox C-Span feature concerning "Animal Testing"

Dr. Michael W. Fox on C-Span



--Video Link--

OUR ANIMAL RELATIONSHIPS: THE MOMENTS OF TRUTH PROJECT
Dr. Michael W. Fox

What right do we humans have to exploit other animals?  Where does that right come from and what are the limits if any?  What duties or obligations do we have in our relationships with our dogs, cats and other animals domesticated and wild?

          Follow and support Caroline Kraus and her Moments of Truth Project documentary film as she travels across the U.S. asking people, who variously live, work with and care for animals, these and other relevant questions.

Is there an overriding consensus and what are the reasons why people respond very differently to these questions, which in part examine our character, culture and future?

The viewing and discussion of this kind of documentary should be part of every school curriculum and will be of interest to all who work with, profit from and care for animals. Project Home Page: http://momentsoftruthproject.com/  To see the interview with Dr. Fox go to http://momentsoftruthproject.com/dr-michael-fox/