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Ask Dr Jill Elliot: Should I vaccinate my indoor cats?
By BL Ochman
Q: Should I vaccinate my indoor cat?
A: New York City holistic veterinarian Dr Jill Elliot says:
I advise my clients whose cats live entirely INDOORS not to give them annual vaccines – despite the fact that many (not all) veterinarians recommend annual vaccines for all cats.
My recommendation is to not vaccinate your indoor cats after they receive their kitten vaccine and one year boosters a year later.
Cats are very sensitive to the vaccines and the adjuvant that is in the vaccine to stabilize it. Some cats will develop a fibrosarcoma (cancerous tumor) at the vaccine site after a few years of annually receiving the recommended vaccines.
The FVRCP (for respiratory disease ) is the most commonly given vaccine. However, your cat most likely has life-long protection after receiving its kitten vaccines and one booster a year later.
Vaccine manufacturers state in their instructions “to only give to healthy animals”. If your pet has any chronic condition, you should not give this vaccine. Also there is very little chance that your indoor cat will pick up a respiratory infection from sitting in your house if you have a stable house environment (not bringing stray cats in and out).
When you should vaccinate
However, if you are planning to bring your indoor cat into a vet hospital for a procedure (like dentistry) you should update your cats’ vaccines so your cats don’t catch a respiratory infection while at the hospital. Also the clinic will require a current rabies vaccine before working on your pet.
The Rabies vaccine is mandated by law to be current given every three years in New York State. As a licensed veterinarian I must recommend to my clients they give this vaccine to their pets. However I also tell them they have the right to decline it if they wish since they are the caretaker of their animal.
I believe that cats that live indoors will never be exposed to a rabid animal (opossum, raccoon, skunk, etc.)
Tags: ask the vet, Dr Jill Elliot, New York Holistic vet, Pawfun Blog, Pawfun.com, Pet Health, pet vaccine safety, pet vaccines
January 24, 2009