The traditional practice of prevention and good health in your cat has always included annual vaccinations and booster shots. However, can a cat have too many vaccinations? What happens to cats that are vaccine sensitive?
There is no doubt that scientific evidence show the benefits an immunized cat has to ward off such diseases as Feline Leukemia, Parvo, Feline Distemper, and more. Remember the old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Of course you want to keep your cat healthy, free of disease, happy and in turn prolong his life. Vaccines save lives. There are fewer cases of Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper) among the feline population because of the wonders of vaccines.
Nevertheless just as humans can be allergic to certain vaccines, so can felines. Vaccine sensitive cats can be allergic to any number of substances within a particular vaccine; antibodies, stabilizers and so forth. Like humans, a cat can become slightly or seriously ill after the administration of the vaccine. In extreme cases he may die as a result of a single application or with annual vaccinations due to frequent exposure to the substances (antigens) within the vaccine.
Before undertaking the vaccination process in blind faith, just as a safety precaution, learn all you can about vaccines, read up on the net, consult libraries and pet magazines to get a good understanding of what is at stake and then ask your veterinarian about the pro's and cons of each vaccination he intends to administer.
You want to protect your cat against frequently occurring diseases such as Parvo, but does your cat need vaccinations for rabies and other vaccinations if there are no recorded outbreaks in the area where you live? For example, it is necessary to vaccinate against rabies for rural animals that will come into contact with wild animals but, the threat of a rabid animal biting or scratching your city cat is almost nil. You want to prevent problems before they happen but at the same time, you do not want to over vaccinate, or over medicate as well.
Modern veterinary practices are changing paradigms. New research is being conducted on the necessity of frequent vaccinations and immunizations; taking in to account the benefits and side effects that will adversely affect the health of the vaccine sensitive cat. Some experts like Dr. Dunn whose article [u]Does Stress Harm the Immune System?[/u], Dog World Magazine, October 2006. believe that the general health and immune system of cats is compromised because of vaccines and immunizations, while others of course will disagree.
At present, experts continue to disagree about whether vaccine cocktails (several vaccines given at once) are more effective than individually administering vaccines in predestinated intervals.
At the same time you will need to be weary of claims that vaccinations weaken the autoimmune system and leave the animal vulnerable. Some experts have theorized that altered autoimmune systems will become a permanent mutation in future generations of cats and other animals.
Medical Causes for Concern
Some claim that vaccines cause cancer, arthritis, stress, lethargy and other behaviour changes. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims at present, and there is no way to tease out new symptoms from pre-existing conditions.
Anaphylaxis is the term used for a severe allergic reaction to something that can be injected such as a vaccine or ingested by swallowing. Though rare, in terms of vaccines this condition can cause heart and respiratory failure within minutes to as along as a full day after your cat has been vaccinated.
Symptoms of Anaphylaxis include, vomiting, diarrhea, swollen face, a faint pulse and rapid heartbeat, cold legs and pale gums, shock, seizures, coma and death.
Seek immediate veterinary attention if you should notice any of these symptoms.
Changes in Appetite and behavior or Slight Fever
Symptoms usually present themselves immediately and last for a day or two.
These symptoms are not considered serious and no immediate attention is necessary.
Final note, one cat in 15,000 is said to be vaccine sensitive and suffer from adverse effects such as death from vaccination and immunizations. The positive benefits of protecting your cat's good health far outweigh the negative affects.