Vaccine Conundrum

feline vaccination, feline dentals

You’re gonna do what to me?

Mollie needed a dental and I finally made the appointment. My cats are minimally vaccinated and my vets have respected my wishes.

However, I was told that she needed a rabies vaccine due to the fact that “saliva and fluids” were involved. I asked to double-check with the vet who has seen her most frequently and he confirmed that she needed the shot. It’s also legally required by the state and I’d been able to slip by until now.

I did some scrambling, knowing that I wanted a couple of days before the dental procedure to see if there was any reaction to the vaccine. I knew I wanted the Merial Purevax Non-adjuvanted, but that it’s only good for one year; Connecticut has a three-year rabies requirement. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

We did have a discussion about the process and the vet acknowledged that the frequency is driven by the pharmaceutical companies; he agreed that the duration of the vaccine is probably longer than what’s recommended. He did say that Merial now has a three-year Purevax rabies vaccine, but it’s three times the cost. He did his best to assure me that side effects were few and far between.

Fortunately, they were able to get the vaccine and I didn’t have to change the appointment. Brief exam, daggers blunted, pre-anesthesia blood draw. Then the injection. Right rear leg, a little higher than I would have liked.

I suppose I could have pushed things further and discussed having a titer done. However, Mollie can be a bit of a biter and I had visions of quarantine if her buttons were pushed.

This was on Tuesday and Mollie was okay later that day and Wednesday. Thursday morning I loaded her into the carrier for the cleaning, apologizing all the way to the vet’s office.

At mid-day I got the call that everything went fine. No extractions, just cleaning and polishing. I picked her up at 5 p.m. and brought her home.

She hopped out of the carrier and proceeded to reintroduce herself to the house. Fortunately she didn’t seem too woozy though I did hear some suspicious thuds on the stairs and she startled easily. She resumed her post watching the birds and squirrels on the deck and wolfed down her supper. I don’t know if it was because she was really hungry or because her teeth had been bothering her. I added some chlorella, which acts as a detox.

Consider me the over-protective pet parent, but I’ve read too much about the problems associated with over-vaccination. Years ago, I remember looking at Dusty’s and Coco’s records and thinking “Enough!” Reading the likes of Drs. Martin Goldstein, Don Hamilton, and Allen Schoen further convinced me. I’ll add links to their research on my Resources page. Much of the current research by Dr. Jean Dodds and Ronald Schultz deals with vaccination in dogs, cats’ less gregarious lifestyle supports the less-is-more philosophy. Meanwhile, here’s an article by Dr. Jean Hofve, my friend and go-to vet for feline advice. Dr. Karen Becker has interviewed both Dodds and Schultz; here’s a link to one.

Bottom line: Do your homework. Even the American Association of Feline Practitioners has adjusted its recommendations to reflect the cats’ lifestyle. You can take things one step further by doing your own research and having a frank discussion with your veterinarian.


About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

2 Responses to Vaccine Conundrum

  1. Amy Shojai says:

    It’s good that the vx is now a 3-year one. We can do either in Texas but I’d rather go every 3 than annually. Glad that Mollie did well!

  2. Sabrina says:

    Glad that your cat Molly did well 🙂

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