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Why Vaccinations Are So Important

July 5, 2013

I think we can all agree that cats born with cerebellar hypoplasia are precious, special cats.

Photo courtesy Pacificat Ragdolls.

That said, I feel their being born with CH is a two-edged sword. On one side, these are very special cats. On the other side, the condition is not normal and impacts their abilities. It may even lead to them getting hurt.

That’s one of the many reasons why it’s essential that we remember to vaccinate all of our cats against many viruses, including the one that can lead to CH in kittens.

While some of us, especially those who keep our cats totally indoors, may not understand the need for vaccinations, the truth is that vaccines are an important part of preventative care. There’s no better, proven way to control diseases in our pets, and as our cats’ caretakers, it’s up to us to make sure that they receive those vaccinations when they’re needed.

At this point, you may be thinking “Hold up, Amanda. Vaccines aren’t entirely safe.” And to that point, I would respond, “You’re right.”

There has been some documentation of a certain type of cancer developing on cats where they commonly receive vaccinations. While the odds of your cat getting this type of cancer is low, it doesn’t make the reality of it any less scary.

While you may want to decide against vaccinating your cat for that reason, you may want to reconsider. Speak to your vet about your concerns. He may be able to come up with a strategy that addresses your concerns while still providing your cat with the vaccines he needs. Ultimately, the goal should be to maximize the ability to prevent disease in our cats, while minimizing the occurrence of side effects.

This is especially true if your cat is a kitten. Vaccines are tremendously important for kittens as they are more susceptible to infections than adult cats, and they often develop more severe disease compared to adults.

The diseases that cats receive vaccinations for are nothing to sneeze at. Core vaccines protect against panleukopenia, herpes virus, calcivirus, and rabies. There are also “non-core” vaccinations that can protect against feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis, ringworm, Chlamydophila, and Bordetlla.

Photo courtesy pmarkham.

If those diseases don’t convince you, here are a few last reasons:

It’s understandable to think that if your cat was properly vaccinated as a kitten, the odds of him contracting any of the diseases he received core vaccines for are near zero, if not impossible. That’s true, especially for panleukopenia.

But of the many vaccinations found in the core FVRCP vaccine is one for the herpes virus. It doesn’t prevent infection, but cats who have been exposed to the virus tend to do well if their vaccines are up-to-date. If cats who have been exposed to the herpes virus are not well vaccinated, a host of problems including respiratory and eye infections can set in.

And lastly, the rabies vaccine is required by law. I know, the odds of your cat – especially an indoor-only cat – acquiring rabies is practically nil. But, consider this: If your cat bit someone, and you didn’t have proof that your cat was vaccinated against rabies, you can find yourself in some serious legal trouble.

Not to mention, that if and when the litigation starts, the only way to prove whether or not a cat has rabies is to euthanize him and examine his brain. Of course it’s more complicated than that, but this is all to say that things can get quite complicated, so it may be a good idea to play it safe.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 5, 2013 7:45 am

    I agree about vaccinations. The benefits outweigh the risks. Our CH cat that we got in Afghanistan was originally given a rabies vaccination for a DOG by the Afghan vet. At the time, we didn’t even know he had CH. When he flew through Pakistan to the US, he was given MORE vaccines after haven been vaccinated properly later in Afghanistan, including the feline leukemia vaccination. I had no control over this. Since our little cat is a traveling cat when we move to foreign countries. vaccinations are a given and he hasn’t had any side effects. In these foreign countries, I’ve seen the effects of not vaccinating –our cat, for one, and believe me, vaccinations are a good thing.

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