To vaccinate or not to vaccinate – that is the question. Part 1 cats

<People often ask, “Should I vaccinate my animal friend? And if so, how often?”

Many holistic veterinarians will tell you not to vaccinate. I disagree, after all vaccination can be a very good thing. After spending many years working and volunteering for shelters and rescue groups I know first hand how devastating some of these diseases can be. We have vaccines which work really well, but we give them way too often and we also vaccinate for things we don’t need to. Vaccines are not benign and not without risks.

Here is my vaccine protocol for cats who are not in kennel or shelter environments

  • FVRCP (modified live without chlamydia) one vaccine at 16 weeks of age, booster at 1 year of age
  • FeLV only if they go outside, use the same schedule as FVRCP. Use the vectored (recombinant) vaccine if possible. Hopefully there will be more information on how long the recombinant FeLV vaccine lasts soon. Until then, I do not offer an alternative recommendation for the recombinant form of this vaccine.
  • Rabies as required by law

In this article I would like to share my thoughts on vaccination and provide some information on the different vaccines we have available for cats. I promise to share some dog vaccination information soon!

In cats we vaccinate mainly for viruses. There are three main types of virus vaccines we use

  • The first is a modified live vaccine, which is made from a living virus that has been modified so it cannot cause disease. These modified vaccine viruses replicate in the body just like a normal virus does and have the advantage of creating a very strong immune response and very good protection against the virus. However because they can replicate these vaccines can induce a mild disease in normal animals and occasionally can make a debilitated animal very sick or even cause death. Because of this modified live vaccines should never be given to very sick animals or animals with severely suppressed immune systems. One interesting note on modified live vaccines is that since the vaccine virus replicates in the body it can be shed and passed on to other animals. Many times these vaccinated animals can spread immunity. However on the flip side of this, recently vaccinated animals should not be around very sick animals or animals without intact immune systems.
  • The second type is a killed vaccine, which is made from real viruses that have been killed. They stimulate an immune response in the body but not as strong or long lasting a response as a modified live vaccine. The big advantage is that this type of vaccine virus cannot replicate in the body and will not make an animal sick from the killed virus itself. However this type of vaccine usually need to be given in series of two or more shots and killed vaccines are almost always adjuvanted or modified with an agent that causes a stronger immune reaction. These adjuvents can lead to strong vaccine reactions, can cause cancer and can induce autoimmune diseases. So while the virus cannot make your animal sick the adjuvant can. Many times the side effects of the vaccine adjuvant will take years to emerge.
  • There is also a third type of vaccine called a vectored vaccine. This uses a virus, that we know is harmless, which has been genetically modified to have the proteins on the surface that are the same as a harmful virus. The animal is given this virus vaccine and gains immunity to the virulent virus that it is being vaccinated against. These vaccines are mainly in the development phase and we know much less about if there are any longterm side effects.

Here is a little information about the different feline vaccines out there.

  • FVRCP should be given to every cat, but only once or twice. This is usually a modified live combination vaccine against Feline Panleukopenia (also called Feline Distemper), Calici Virus, and Rhinotracheitis. This combination vaccine sometimes also vaccinates against other diseases such as Chlamydia. Make sure it is just the three above. Chlamydia is something we almost never see in cats and the vaccine for Chlamydia which is added to the FVRCP has a lot of side effects.

    Panleukopenia can be a very deadly disease and cats should be vaccinated against it. It causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and death especially in young cats and brain damage to kittens in utero.

    Calicivirus and Rhinotracheitis are both upper respiratory viruses and are usually not deadly.

    This vaccine has a very high protection rate against panleukopenia approaching 100%, however recently a major problem has emerged with the vaccine. The vaccine virus is made by growing virus on feline kidney cells. The problem with this is that small amounts of kidney cells get in the vaccine and can cause not just an immune response to the vaccine but also to the cat’s own kidneys. In other words it can cause the cat’s immune system to fight against and destroy it’s own kidneys. Many of us believe that the overuse of this vaccine has created the epidemic of kidney disease that we see in cats eight year of age and older. And recent studies have shown that cats do develop antibodies against their kidney cells.

    Here are some good resources for more information on kidney disease and the link to FVRCP vaccination.
    Colorado State University Insight
    Parenteral Administration of FVRCP Vaccines Induces Antibodies Against Feline Renal Tissues

    Given correctly, I believe this vaccine is a very good vaccine. However most cats are over vaccinated, increasing their chances of having kidney related problems. One dose of FVRCP given to a cat over 16 weeks of age will usually last for the cat’s lifetime, yet it is routinely given every one to three years. Why? Because the vaccine companies have not done studies past three years. They would prefer that you buy their vaccines every one to three years and have no incentive to do these studies. Luckily some universities are doing them and so far the results are showing that FVRCP has lifetime immunity.

    I recommend people vaccinate their cats at 16 weeks of age and booster at a year to cover any chance of vaccine failure. This vaccine does not have to be given again. In shelters younger kittens should be vaccinated every couple weeks until 16 weeks of age but ideally an intra-nasal vaccine would be used. This is because of the high risk of deadly panleukopenia in this environment.

  • FeLV should never be given to indoor only cats.It is an adjuvanted vaccine and has been linked to deadly fibrosarcomas in cats. FeLV is a real and deadly virus which usually causes death within 2-4 years of catching it. Something to remember however is that it is not a virus we can bring into the house. It is spread through direct contact or sharing drinking water. This virus can not live on dry surfaces. Indoor only cats not only don’t need to be vaccinated for FeLV but they shouldn’t be because the risk of them getting cancer from the vaccine is highly than the risk of them getting outside and catching FeLV. Outdoor cats should probably be vaccinated and given one booster three weeks later for this virus.

    There is a new vectored vaccine for FeLV, which should be a lot safer, however it hasn’t been out long enough for us to know for sure. We also have very little information on how long this vaccine will last.

  • Rabies is required by law in most states. Because of this it is the hardest vaccine to make recommendations on because of the public health issue. The vaccine can induce fibrosarcomas like the FeLV vaccine. It also has many side effects especially in older animals and animals prone to seizures. However in many places it is required by law for animals to be vaccinated every one to three years. If your animal is not vaccinated and they bite someone and the person who was bit presses it, in most states they can have your animal killed and tested for rabies. Because of this I usually recommend that people follow the requirements of the law when it comes to this vaccine

    The rabies vaccine used to be a modified live but it was occasionally causing real rabies so now it is a killed vaccine. For some strange reason it is still given like a modified live vaccine without a booster. The recent thought and studies have shown that because of this many animals are never getting full immunity even though it is given every year. It should really be given once and then boostered three weeks later. Currently titers are not accepted as proof of immunity in the continential united states. They should be! Hopefully the laws will change to accept titers soon. This vaccine probably only needs to be given two or three times on a correct booster schedule to induce lifetime immunity.

  • The FIP vaccine should never be given. Luckily it is rarely given these days. Please, please never give this vaccine and if your veterinarian recommends it, think about getting a new veterinarian. This vaccine does not protect against FIP and may actually induce it. FIP is a mutation of a corona virus that almost all cats carry. This vaccine only works if the cat has never been exposed to corona virus, which is less than 5% of the feline population. FIP is not a contagious disease. A cat with FIP can not pass FIP to another cat. In addition this vaccine can cause a higher rate of mutation to the deadly FIP in cats who have corona virus in their system. Please see FIP is not a contagious disease
  • If you vaccinate your cat for FIV they may be euthanized if they end up in a shelter. I do not recommend this vaccine. FIV is not a highly contagious disease and the vaccine is a killed adjuvented vaccine which holds a risk of fibrosarcoma. Fibrosarcoma is deadly, FIV is usually not. Currently there is no test that can distinguish between a vaccinated cat and a FIV positive cat .Once you vaccine your cat with this vaccine they will always test positive for the FIV virus and if they end up in a shelter will probably be euthanized. Their offspring will also probably test positive for FIV if the mother is vaccinated. If for some reason you give this vaccine always microchip your cat so they will not be euthanized if they get lost and test positive.
    Here is a informative article on FIV written by the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Here are a couple important last thoughts

  • Never vaccinate your animal if they are sick or going under anesthesia. This makes their immune system have to do two things at once, get better from their illness or clear anesthesia and build immunity from the vaccine. It also can lead to a vaccine failure if their immune system can not mount a proper immune response against the vaccine because it is busy with other things. It is better to make a second visit in to the vet for the vaccine when your animal is well.
  • Also avoid giving more then two vaccines at a time. Ideally each vaccine would be given separately but with cats because of the stress of the trip to the vet (to both them and their humans:-), sometimes it makes sense to give two and avoid trips. I highly recommend not giving more than two at once because I have seen many animals become extremely ill after getting three vaccines.

Please send me your questions on this subject!

Part 2 Dogs

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43 Responses to “To vaccinate or not to vaccinate – that is the question. Part 1 cats”

  1. pamela Says:

    This is great info Lenna. It is always tough to tell people to vaccinate or not vaccinate. I rescue kittens and so I always vaccinate. I am a BIG fan of the intra nasal FRVCP. It is saved me from a great deal of grief over the last couple of years. While it NOT 100%. I don’t ever want to have to go thru what I went thru about 4 yrs ago. Kitten season is just around the corner YIKES!!!. No rest for the weary.

  2. P. Christian Says:


    I have a question about vaccinating a cat while under anesthesia. First of all, does it matter more or less if a cat is vaccinated while under gas, or I.V. anesthesia? Secondly, I don’t full understand what you mean above about clearing anesthesia. Do you mean as the anesthesia wears off? Thirdly, a cat being spayed is not an ill cat, so does this apply since the cat is not sick? Is there really danger to the cat by having it vaccinated while under anesthesia besides what you mentioned above, which doesn’t sound too serious? Please e-mail me with your response as I had my cat spayed, and she received her rabies vaccination while asleep after her surgery.

    I was concerned about having it done, because I had a horse a few years ago who while slightly under, not by gas, but by a shot, who was given the West Nile Virus shot, and she immediately broke out in a bad sweat. I don’t know if it was because of the shot alone, or the shot and the slight anesthesia. I thought maybe it too was bad for the cat to receive her Rabies shot while under, although this was gas anesthesia. I eagerly await your reply. Thank you much, P. Christian

  3. Lena Says:

    Hi P Christian,

    Good questions!

    In my opinion an animal should never be vaccinated while under anesthesia. First if you cat has a serious vaccine reaction it will be difficult to tell if it is a reaction to the shot or to the anesthesia and can mean the difference between life and death in some cases. In addition with any of the anesthesia drugs, inhalant and injectible, the body has to clear the drug through the liver, kidneys, and/or lungs. This takes effect by these organs and can suppress the immune system in the process. For your animal to have a full immune response to a vaccine you want their body to not be having to do any other major work, like clearing anesthesia or healing from a surgery. If there body is working too hard doing other things you run the chance of vaccine failure and increase the chance of a major side effect to the vaccine.

    As far as vaccination at the same time as a major surgery such as a spay, I would give a large no. A spay is a very routine but major surgery. You are opening an abdomen and removing both the uterus and the ovaries. You want your animal’s body to give all their attention to healing and fighting off any infection that could have been introduced to the body through the surgery. If you vaccinate them at the same time you make it harder for them to do this.

    I have just seen too many animals get very sick from combined vaccination and anesthesia/surgery.

    Is it done? Of course! Is it ideal? Not at all. The only place I recommend it is with feral cats and with tame cats who can not be easily handled at the vet.

    I’m not saying that every animal who receives a combination of anesthesia while get ill but it certainly increases the risk!

  4. P. Christian Says:

    I certainly do appreciate your quick response to my e-mail. You give great service! I wish I had sought information before I allowed my cat to be vaccinated. My cat went into an early heat. My vet said usually, cats to into heat at about 8, or 9 months of age. My cat went in at 4-4 1/2 months. I couldn’t wait. She was driving me crazy. She’s an in-door cat. I’m sure you know what I mean. She hadn’t had her rabies shot yet, and they offered at that time, so I agreed to it. To my knowledge, she had no negative affect, and came through everything with no problem.

    I do have one question. What if a cat receives a rabies shot for example at 4 months of age, which is the law, and then one month later gets spayed. What’s the difference? The rabies vaccine is still in the blood, and then the anesthesia is introduced to the cat’s body. Isn’t that essentially the same thing as having the cat vaccinated while under anesthesia? This seems the same to me, so I wanted to ask you this. Thank you for your response, and your time. P. Christian

  5. Lena Says:

    Hi P. Christian,

    I hope this explanation helps!

    The way a vaccine works is that it stimulates the immune system to create antibodies against what you are vaccinating for. The rabies vaccine is what is called a killed vaccine so it does not replicate in the body like the modified live vaccines but does create an immune response.

    When you vaccinate an animal or person you introduce a substance that the immune system sees as an invader to the body. The immune system goes to action fighting off the invader. In the case of the vaccine the invader is made to not harm the animal but have the same proteins on it’s surface as the rabies virus. The immune system fights off the vaccine which takes some energy on it’s part (similar to us fighting off a cold) and usually during this period of about a week the animal is a little more tired. After that week there is no more vaccine in the body but the immune system remembers the vaccine (with the rabies virus proteins) as antibodies.

    If your animal is then exposed to Rabies the immune system immediately recognizes the virus because it remembers the proteins in the vaccine. It can immediately mobilize and get rid of the Rabies virus before it can take hold in the body, i.e. your animal has immunity against Rabies.

    So to answer your question. There is no Rabies vaccine in the body after a month and your cat’s immune system is not having to spend it’s energy fighting a vaccine so no problems with anesthesia or surgeries at this point.

  6. P. Christian Says:


    Again, I have to thank you for helping me understand what the concern was that I had. Now I feel much better knowing that it is a temporary concern for the cat if vaccinated while under anesthesia. The benefit to not having your cat vaccinated while under anesthesia is to give it’s immune system every opportunity to be able to rebound from the anesthesia, and not to have the immune system be bothered with a vaccine at that time. Thank you for your help! I have a clear understanding now. Sincerely, P. Christian.

  7. P. Christian Says:


    With your knowledge of this topic of vaccinating, can you tell me if you are a Vet, or a person who has studied this topic, and knows from perhaps a Vet? Thank you, P. Christian

  8. Lena Says:

    Hi P. Christian,
    I am a veterinarian although practice mostly Chinese medicine and acupuncture. This is me . Path with Paws is a side project I started. Here’s the page on why I started this site if you haven’t come upon it yet
    Best wishes,

  9. P. Christian Says:

    Dr. McCullough,

    Thank you for your reply once again! I wish I had come across your web site before I had my cat spayed. I agree with what you have written me, because it all makes good sense. I wish all vets understood, and practiced the separation of anesthesia, and vaccines. I also think holistic medicine is the way to go for many illnesses animals get. I’m now glad I can write to you to get your opinion about any concern, or illness my animals may get in the future, before I just do what a vet tells me if I have even the slightest doubt. Thank you once again, and I’m sure you’ll hear from me in the future! P. Christian.

  10. L. Garnett Says:

    Question: We took 4 neighborhood cats, feral, to the vet for spay & neuter. 3 males and 1 female. They are not “wild” cats, but outdoor cats that are fed by only one household, so they are afraid of strangers. It was very difficult to put them in carriers; it was their 1st time in one, their 1st ride in a vehicle and 1st time in a building. So they were under a lot of stress.
    The 3 male cats are fine. We lost the female, she died during surgery. She was very precious to us and she was well liked, so it was a huge loss. We have her baby kitties on our porch; they are 10 weeks old, eat on their own and are doing fine.
    We received a print out from the vet for mama kitty’s procedures. It states that she was given her rabies shot after her anesthesia. The vet said she had an allergic reaction to the anesthetic and they could not revive her, they provided us with a print out of all the things they tried.
    The next day, I received a call from the vet’s, they were checking on our males and how they were doing and they again acknowledged our loss. I asked why the rabies shot was given after anesthesia and was told it’s their procedure, it’s easier to give a “wild” animal a shot when under anesthesia, I understand that, but don’t understand why the surgery wasn’t completed and the cat monitored and just prior to the cat waking up, the rabies shot be given at that time. I’m guessing it has to do with saving time and just easier to complete everything for one cat before proceeding to the next appointment, no back tracking.
    I personally belief she had a reaction to the rabies shot or a combination of too much in her little system at one time, the rabies in combination with the anesthesia. I wish I had read this article prior to our cats surgeries, I did not know they were different kinds/types of rabies vaccines and would have discussed it with the vet prior to their receiving the shots. We have other neighborhood cats that need fixed but afraid, we don’t want to lose another cat.
    I would very much like your opinion about our precious mama kitty and our fears of having the rest of the area cats fixed.
    Thank you very much.

  11. Lena Says:


    I know it must be very difficult to lose this little girl. My heart goes out to you.

    It is very common to give vaccines to feral cats when they are under anesthesia because that is going to be the only time you can do it if you can not easily handle them. If these cats are not completely feral then it might be worth two trips to the vet next time especially with the females so they can recover from the surgery before being vaccinated. It might have been that since the cats were partly feral that the vet did not feel they could be safely handled after the surgery. Usually while they are waking up it is even more difficult to handle them then while they are fully awake because of the effects of the anesthesia.

    It is very hard to say if it was the combination of vaccination and anesthesia or that something else was wrong with her to began with or a combination of many factors.

    In fixing these cats, you will significantly prolong their lives and reduce the number of unwanted cats that end up euthanized in the shelters. I think it is wonderful that you are helping them and I hope you are able to continue to do so. Maybe you can work out an agreement with the vet to hold off on vaccinations on the more tame ones.

    Thank you for caring for these homeless cats. It is truly wonderful that you care about them so much!
    Best wishes,

  12. L. Garnett Says:

    Thank you very much for your response and acknowledge of our loss.
    We have two more questions though, sorry;

    In the above article it describes 3 different types of rabies vaccines. In your opinion, which one do you recommend for our “neighborhood” cats?

    These cats are what would be referred to as feral, but since we feed them, they trust us and are tame around us, we can pet them, some will let us hold them and others just pick them up briefly. We do have one that comes when he is called; they meet us at our cars when we get home from work. They are like pets to us but live outside, since they have always been outside, it would be very difficult to now make them house cats. The 3 households that feed these outside cats all have indoor only cats. The cats do travel to other streets and visit cats that reside in those other areas. We do not have “wild” animals in this area; we have only seen a raccoon and a possum one time. Dogs in this area are confined to fenced in areas or on leashes.

    Mama Kitty’s babies are ready for adoption, they are 10 weeks old. We are considering taking one as an indoor pet. Because there are indoor cats in the house, incorporating a kitten from an “outdoor” cat seems a little risky because of disease or illness that they may bring with them and transmit to an indoor cat. What tests do you recommend be done on the new outdoor kitty before bringing it in and introducing it to our indoor babies?

    I wish I would have discovered your web site prior to our having the neighborhood cats fixed, holding off on the rabies shot may have prevented losing our precious Mama Kitty.
    Thank you very much.
    L. Garnett

  13. Lena Says:

    There is a vectored rabies vaccine called Purevax which is thought to be a little safer then the normal killed vaccine products. There are no longer modified live vaccines on the market for rabies.

    Before taking a new kitten into your home I would have a FeLV/FIV test run on him/her, a fecal examined for parasites, and check him/her for external parasites such as lice, fleas, and earmites. Those would be the main things I would worry about. If your indoor cats have been vaccinated with a FVRCP vaccine they should be safe from anything else the kitten may bring in. Probably not a bad plan to have the kitten examined by your vet before introducing it to everyone just to be safe.

    Hope this helps!

  14. L. Garnett Says:

    Thank you very much for your replies and advice. Thank you for this site to educate and assist.
    Keep up the excellent work. Thank you again for your help.

  15. lydia o'tully Says:

    Hello, I’m so happy to have found your site. I have been concerned for a while about over-vaccinating my cats, but my vet always really scared me into it. So I’m still looking for a new one. Anyway, last year, after a big lecture from my old vet about FIV, I agreed to vaccinate my cat, but she didn’t tell me until after giving the shot that he would now test positive! Then she said some university was figuring out a way to tell the difference between vaccinated vs. infected cats and not to worry about it. So my question is, now that the damage is done, should I continue to vaccinate against FIV? He is a neutered, six year old, mainly outdoors who does get in occasional fights. Also, have you heard recently of tests that can tell the difference?
    Thanks, Lydia O’tully

  16. Lena Says:

    Hi Lydia,

    I am not a big fan of the FIV vaccine for the reasons you talk about above and because it is a killed adjuvented vaccine and is probably likely to induce fibrosarcoma like the other adjuvented vaccines. There is also a lot of debate about how well it works. Personally I would not continue to vaccine because of the fibrosarcoma risk (which will kill your cat if he gets it – FIV generally will not) and because of the questions about how much it protects.

    So far no new tests. My understanding is that there may never be because there is not enough funding to develop them.

    Here are so articles which may interest you

    And if your cat is not microchipped please microchip him. If he ended up in a shelter or lost that way he could find his way back to you and not risk euthanasia from his FIV positive status.

    I hope this helps!
    Best wishes,

  17. L. Garnett Says:

    Your site is excellent, I have sent it to all my friends that have cats and all are commenting how great it is. Thank you.
    Another question: The kitten I want to take into my home, tests negative on FeLV/FIV test.
    My 2 indoor cats, both 8 years old have never had any shots. They have always been indoor cats since I rescured them, they do not go outside at all and do not have contact with any other cats.
    The vet wants to test both 8 year olds for FELV/FIV then suggests I give them shots, and boosters, I think she mentioned 3 different shots total. Then she wants to test the kitten again with a differnt type of FELF/FIV, then says if that one is negative also, then I can take the kitten inside with my 2 adult cats. What she is suggesting is aprox. $400.00 worth of tests & shots. I really want the kitten but can’t justify 1/2 months rent on a new kitten right now.
    Is all she’s suggesting necessary? If the kitten is currently negative, can she still be a carrier or it show up later? Can’t seem to get straight answers from local vets.
    Thank you very much.

  18. Lena Says:

    Hopefully this will help!

    Testing does not identify cats that are very newly infected with FIV or FeLV. Because of this unless you isolate a cat for two months before you bring it into your home there is always a very small risk of it carrying one of these two diseases. Most FIV/FeLV positive kits get it from mom because they are unlikely to have a whole bunch of interaction with other adult cats so they will test positive if they are positive almost all of the time. The chance of a negative test in a positive kitten is so small that it was not even an issue we would discuss with adopters when I did rescue and shelter work. I have never seen it in a kitten.

    Because the risk is so small most of us test and then bring them into the home, quarantine for a week from the other cats if possible and call it good. There is however a very, very small amount of risk to your indoor cats. This is true of any cat you would ever bring in the house.

    As far as shots for your other cats I still usually recommend one FVRCP because panleukopenia can be brought in on your shoes or hands from any animal with it outside. It is a very highly contagious and deadly disease and the vaccine is very good. If you do that one make sure it does not have chlamydia in it. Chlamydia vaccine has a lot of side effects and is not necessary in my opinion but is often included as a part of the FVRCP. If you vaccine with a modified live FVRCP you do not need a booster.

    I can’t legally give recommendations on Rabies, beyond that it needs to be given where required by law, without risking my license. However as far as kitten introduction, having it is not an issue.

    I don’t see any other vaccines your indoor only kitties would need.

    If you want to eliminate all risk you could consider isolated the new kitten for two months in a room in your home away from the others. However I would not recommend that because even without doing that the risk is very, very, very small to your cats. I usually only recommend an initial test and week separation to folks.

    Hope this helps and you can give this little guy a home!

  19. L. Garnett Says:

    Thank you very much, your reply has helped. I just wanted my indoor cats to be safe and now I can adopt a new kitten, yeah. Thank you again for all your assistance with answers to the several questions we have had with our kittens.
    Can’t say enough good words for this wonderful site.

  20. M.Knievel Says:


    Thanks for all your information! After reading the above posts there is no way I will let the vet. vaccianate my kitten for FCVRP and Rabies after they spay her.

    I am getting my 4.5 month old kitten (indoor) spayed in a few days. She has already had 3 rounds of the FCVRP. And last time I was in there I thought they told me she was done. When I scheduled her spay …they told me she needed yet another round of the FCVRP and Rabies. The vet’s assistant told me they could give the shots the next day…(she is staying the night). Now I don’t think so.

    I am kind of a naturalist myself and don’t really like the idea of vaccinations…but reluctantly agreed. Now they want to do more. I am think I will say no to the fourth. FCVRP But my question is:
    Should I postpone the spay for a week…get the Rabies shot(required by law in CA)…and then do the spay??
    Side note: She was stung by a bee that got in the house a few days ago…she didn’t have a bad reaction but to be on the safe the vet gave her a shot of benadryl and an additional antihistamine.
    Could there be any reactions with that? Thanks so much!

  21. Lena Says:

    Thanks for your questions!

    Make sure her last FVRCP was at 16 weeks of age or older. Before that it may not have lasting immunity because of interference with maternal antibody. If she was 16 weeks of age for the last one you are good if not they are right and she needs one more.

    Because of the season there is a chance of her coming into heat soon and it is better to spay before the first heat in cats. It significantly reduces their risk of getting beast cancer later in life. (before 1st heat .06% rate of beast cancer, after 1st heat 6%, after 2nd heat 26%, and it gets worse from there).

    I would spay her and then give her a couple weeks to recover and then worry about the rabies and possible last FVRCP. However beyond the coming into heat issue it is fine to do in the reverse order as long as you wait two weeks in between.

    The benadryl and antihistamine should be fine before the spay or vaccination. Just make sure your vet did not give her a steroid shot or prescription. If your vet did, wait two weeks before spay or vaccination. If she got two shots one was probably a steroid. If your vet gave her a shot and something for you to give at home most likely both were antihistamines.

    Best wishes,

  22. Mel Says:

    Hi wanted advise on how to handle this mess I have gotten my cat into.

    I’ll start from the beginning .

    I got her when she was tee tiny. She was walking pretty good and eating pretty good too but was just soooo tiny.

    After a week of having her she got bloody runny poos so I took her to the vet they said coccidia gave her meds we took for something like 10 days or so I think it was. And right when we finished that she got so sick she wouldn’t even hardly move. This was late at night so next morning I brought her in to a different vet and he said he thought it was a bacterial infections and she had hookworms I think it was. She had watery poos with this that smelt awful.
    So we go on meds for this.
    Then I have her checked a couple more times cause poos were softer but nothing shows up.

    So we wait for her to grow as she is so tiny we didn’t want to make her sick again giving shots and all .

    Well shes a little over a year now and she isn’t growing any more. She weighs about 6 to 6.5 lbs , is pretty solid but still very tiny.
    She has becoming into heat for some time now and I have been trying to figure how to get her fixed and shots too.
    Vets don’t want to fix her with out her having shots.
    Most vets want to give her shots at the same time as spaying which I don’t want to do but I am torn on how to handle this.
    I am thinking of trying to get her a distemper series on Monday and then waiting a couple weeks getting a rabies and then waiting another couple weeks and then fixing her but this is going to be that much longer IF I do this so I don’t know.
    I am so confuse and torn about what is best for her at this point.

    I totally know this is my fault and I am sick over it cause she is miserable right now.

    Would really appreciate any and all the advise you can give me for her.
    Thanks mel

  23. Lena Says:

    Hi Mel,
    I would definitely get her one FVRCP before getting her fixed because I would hate for her to get sick from some other cat which she is at the vet clinic or spay clinic. If you use a modified live vaccine you only need one, not a series of vaccines. Although you may want to consider a booster in a year. Make sure the FVRCP does not have chlamydia in it.

    Personally I would get her spayed before the Rabies vaccine unless you can not find anyone who will spay her without the Rabies. I would recommend doing a little pre-spay bloodwork on her just to make sure her organs are up for the anesthesia and spay. Most vets recommend and offer this anyway.

    And I would wait at less two weeks between all the above steps. Maybe even a little longer in her case since her health may be a little more fragile.

    Hopefully with winter coming she will also come out of heat soon. Although I still highly recommend spaying her as soon.

    best wishes,

  24. Mel Says:

    HI Thanks for the quick response.

    This is what I am hoping to do but I am not sure I can pull it off. I am thinking they might make me have a rabies before fixing but maybe not due to the fact that the vet I am thinking of bring her to deals with the shelter animals so they might let me get away with it just to get her fixed .
    I am going to go talk to them tomorrow about it and see what I can do.

    I do have more questions.
    I have been reading about getting the shots as low as possible on the legs.
    This is what I read and was going to talk to the vet about .

    The distemper FVRCP should be given in the right front elbow area.
    Rabies should be given in the right knee (stifle) area or lower.
    And they should always be injected subcutaneously.
    What are your opinions on this?

    Also how do I know for sure that they are giving them subcutaneously?

    Also the FVRCP would also be called the 3 in 1 right? Thats the one I have been thinking I need to get cause the 4 in 1 has chlamydia in it right.

    And I just need blood work they give before surgery right?

    Also if she does slow down on coming in heat when it gets cooler it could buy me enough time to wait longer than 2 weeks between things so IF I can work this out how long should I wait?
    I mean I know the ideal it a month in between each but since she has already been in heat a while now off and on how long would you recommend?

    Also what are your thoughts on the Purevax rabies?
    I have actually researched it and on one of my forums there have been several kitties who have actually gotten cancer from it already so I hesitate to use this one since it is newer and not been used as much as the other has.

    Keep your fingers crossed for us that the vet will let me just get her the FVRCP and wait a while then get her fixed! And let us get the rabies after the surgery.

    Thanks so very much I have been feeling so guilty for letting this happen to her but I have just been so terribly torn about it all too.
    I will sleep much better and I know she will to once we get this all taken care of right.
    Thank you again

  25. Lena Says:

    Hi Mel,
    All injectable feline vaccines are given sub-Q. There is no question or debate about it and that is how all veterinarians do it, so no worries about that. The reason we give vaccines low down on the legs is that if there is a fibrosarcoma that forms after vaccination the leg can be amputated and the cat’s life can be saved. Injecting anything below the knee or elbow is very difficult in cats and I wouldn’t expect anyone to do that. Above the knee/elbow is fine but it shouldn’t be in the shoulder area which is where we have traditionally vaccinated.

    Yes the 3 way is the one without chlamydia in it. 4 way includes chlamydia.

    The main things to check on bloodwork before surgery is red blood cells (to make sure she is not anemic) and liver and kidney function. This is usually what the pre-anesthetic bloodwork is plus a few extra values and you should not need anything beyond that unless something is abnormal on the screening bloodwork.

    I think you are actually ok waiting two weeks between the FVRCP and spay unless she has a very negative reaction to the vaccine in which case I would give her two weeks of being back to normal before the spay.

    If possible I would wait four weeks between the spay and rabies vaccine.

    I have mixed thoughts about the Purevax vaccine. When it came out it was marketed as the vaccine that did not cause fibrosarcomas. We know that is not true. Does it cause less fibrosarcomas? I think it does. However the largest issues is that it is still an one year vaccine and the other Rabies vaccines are three year vaccines. The more vaccines the more chance of fibrosarcomas. So if the Purevax decreases the rate of fibrosarcoma 50% but needs to be given three times as often it actually increase the risk of fibrosarcomas. The problem is we don’t know how much it decrease fibrosarcomas or if it really does. It may be a better option but it may also not be. The first rabies vaccine is always a one year ( Purevax or regular vaccine) so for her first vaccine I would do the Purevax and then hope we have some new information in the next year or that it gets three year labeling.

    Hope this help!

  26. Mel Says:

    Hi Lena
    I got her an apt for Monday to get her 3 way vaccine. Its a Galaxy brand. They only use 4 and 5 way vaccines but I told them I wanted the 3 way and she said they had a breeder that used special vaccines and that maybe it was what I wanted so she checked . She said they have a whole tray so I will be getting her one of those.

    She is a little better the last couple of days but still a grouch and pissy which I totally understand and feel awful about but at least we are on our way now.

    I will ask if I can fix her before rabies and see what she says.

    Anyway I’ll keep you posted.

    I really really really appreciate your input and advise on this as I was really stressing over it and very upset with myself for letting it go this long.
    But between trying to wait til she was bigger and healthier and not sure what to do about shots it just kept dragging out.

    Thanks again so very much

  27. Mel Says:

    Hi Lena
    I took her in along with my 2 6 month old kittens to get their 3 way vaccines. All went well.

    And I can fix them next so that is Wonderful! I will be doing that in 2 to 4 weeks now.

    I do have a few more questions.

    First off I feed my guys a raw food diet plus some canned and dry.
    I feed raw in the morning and then canned or dry at night depending on which kitty it is.

    I have been puttting GSE in my 10 year olds food for years now cause he gets goopy eyes which I think is allgeries and the GSE seems to help him with that. If I back off they goop up again. He gets 3 drops in morning 3 drops at night mixed into his raw. Hes healthy as a horse.

    I started the 2 kittens (6months now) on a drop each in their food but have since been giving them 2 each. I meant to stop giving it before I got them shots and to wait awhile after before starting it up again but forgot and just realized it this morning sooo I am really really hoping this won’t have any negetive effects on the 3 way shot they got that I have stressed over for months now!!!
    I was hoping to get your opinion on this.

    Plus I needed to make sure about any boosters.
    I had only planned on getting them 1 -3way and possibly a rabies .
    The vet said I need to boost in 3 weeks which I do not plan to do .

    But I was wondering about what I have read about shots.
    One thing I have read says that If over the age of 4months you don’t have to boost that the one shot will be good for life and giving another does nothing.
    But then I have read that you need to boost again in a year and then their good for life.
    But then there are also the every other year and every 3 years opinions.
    I am just wondering here.

    In all honesty I don’t plan on getting them anymore shots than I absolutely have to.

    I have been doing things more natural for them since I lost my Big boy of acute renal failure at 5 years old in 03. He had a really bad reaction to shots and the vets would just give him benadryl and the last year I got him shots before we had to put him to sleep they gave him benadryl and a cortiszone shot too. No one EVER told me I should stop his shots.
    I did what I thought was best for him.
    After the fact I learned a lot.
    He should of never had so many shots over his 5 year life.
    In all honesty I feel like I killed him not intentionally but it was my fault for feeding him dry food and for giving him all those shots.
    He had one kidney we found out when he got sick and we started testing and treating. It shut down on him and we had to put him to sleep.
    Its really sucks that it takes something like this to make people realize there has to be a better way of doing things.
    I still love him dearly and miss him terribly as he was a very very special boy to me.

    Moving on now and back to whats at hand.

    My guys now are pretty healthy and happy.
    I have two that have issues but thats for another posting.

    I just really don’t trust shots and vets to much anymore. Thats why I drug my feet so long on these guys shots.

    Anyway we have gotten the first step taken care of and will be waiting to move on to the next which will be fixing them!!! 🙂

    Thanks so much for all the help so far and look forward to your opinions on my newest questions.
    If it weren’t for you I would probably STILL be dragging my feet on getting shots!

  28. Lena Says:

    Hi Mel,

    If GSE is grapefruit seed extract that should not have any negative effects on the vaccine.

    If the vaccine was a modified live vaccine (most of them are, although there are a few killed vaccine products) you do not need the three week booster. If somehow the vaccine they used was killed you do need the three week booster. And it will probably not give lifetime immunity.

    As you may have seen I do recommend a booster for FVRCP at a year. This is simply to cover any chance of vaccine failure. It is probably not needed in most cats. Why do I recommend it? Just to be cautious. I would hate to see my recommendations end in a cat getting panleukopenia. You can decide either way on that one.

    BTW my own cats have all come from shelters where they are given one or more FVRCPs before I have adopted them. Once they are in my house they never get another vaccine. They are all indoor cats but I also work with animals so they are probably a little higher risk then most indoor only cats. I also live in Washington state where we have only had one case of rabies in a domestic animal in the past 35 years so I do not rabies vaccinate them.

    I’m so sorry about the boy you lost:-( That sounds very difficult.

    The link between FVRCP and kidney failure is a new discovery and was not known in 2003. We have learned a lot more about the problems with over vaccination since then. Part of writing this article on vaccination was to try to help folks have good information about vaccination and both the risks and benefits. Most articles I have read are either very pro vaccine or very anti-vaccine. I believe there is a balance and that as a veterinary community we should be practicing responsible limited vaccination.

    Thanks for your questions and I hope everything goes well with the spay!

  29. Mel Says:

    Hello Lena
    Wanted to update you.
    Got my little blittle girl fixed finally. I waited a little over 2 weeks after her FVRC shot . It was getting really hard on her and us. She was peeing all over the house and she was more miserable then we were so as soon as she came out of heat and started acting normal again I got her in.

    She did fine . She felt bad for about 3 or 4 days didn’t really eat much and slept a lot but after that she has felt better.
    She actully pulled her stitches out and I had to take her in cause she had pulled something white out with it and it was a hole in her belly.
    So the vet cleaned it up said it looked good that she had just taken her top stitches out.
    She was upset though cause she said I should of got a hand out about her licking to much which we didn’t.
    We just thought she was cleaning it never thought she could do that.

    But anyway she had to get a antibotic shot to be safe.

    But the vet said to let her out of our room and out with our other guys to maybe help with the picking.
    And that it would have to heal from the inside out.
    So we are watching it very closely now and her too. We don’t let her lick at it to much now. A little cause we know she has to clean it up but not a lot.

    1 down 2 to go. Next week for them.

    I do have another question from a friend I wanted to ask.

    I didn’t know what to tell her except I didn’t think it was a good thing.

    Anyway she has kitties too. And she took in a brother and sister like I did but she wasn’t very careful with them. So she didn’t notice when the female started acting in heat and evidently she got pg.
    Its a brother and a sister. I told her thats not good.
    Told her she might want to try to fix her before she gets to far along but she is afraid of hurting her and doesn’t know what the lesser of the two evils would be.
    But to be honest I think it might be to late to fix her now but I don’t really know if there is a time limit or not .

    So I wanted to ask you your opinions on all this.
    How long can you wait to fix a cat that is pg?
    If she can’t or doesn’t fix her will the babies be okay?
    Will there be serious problems for the mom during delievery?
    Will the kittens be normal? Healthy?? Will they live?

    I am honestly at a loss on what to tell her.
    I have had brother and sister combos many times and we have never had any issues like this.
    But we watch very closely and we seperate after a certain age if they are not fixed yet.
    Plus we usually always fix around 6 months.

    The exception being our little blittle girl since she was so small.
    She weighed 6.1 when they fixed her. She a teeny tiny little girl.

    Anyway I would appreciate any info you can give me on my friends situtation so I can pass it on to her.

    I told her even if she doesn’t fix the female right now she should go ahead and get the male fixed NOW!
    So she is probably at least going to do this for now.
    I have an apt for my other guys next week so I told her to make her guy an apt too and I’d take him in wtih my guys. So I am hoping she will.

    Anyway I would appreciate anything you can tell me on this.
    And wanted to update you on our guys.

    Thanks again for all the info and help you have given me for my guys.

  30. Lena Says:

    Hi Mel,

    Thanks for the update. I’m glad you have her fixed and I hope she is completely healed soon! Are your other kittens boys or girls? If they are boys it will be a lot easier on them then the spay.

    When I used to work at the feral cat spay/neuter project we used to fix cats of all stages of pregnancy. At the Humane Society we would fix cats up until they were in milk (a day or two before they were due). From my experience doing spays, I actually found it easier to fix the early pregnancy cats then the cats in heat and they seemed to recover just fine. The later pregnancy cats (past 5 weeks) were still fine to fix but ended up with a larger incision and we would always give them some fluids because we knew it was harder on them.
    So before 5 weeks along it isn’t going to be too much different for her, past that, a little more risky.

    Of course it also depends what her vet thinks, some vets are much more hesitant to spay pregnant kitties.

    I have seen the offspring of very closely related cats through my shelter work and they do have a greater chance of health problems although the majority of them are normal.

    The other thing is that if she is very young ( I assume she is under a year) there are going to be more risks for the kittens and herself. She is still growing herself and trying to grow kittens at the same time. Similar to a 13 year old girl trying to have a baby. So if she is early along that would be something to consider also.

    I always lean in the direction of spaying because we have a huge overpopulation problem in this country. About four million cats and dogs are put to sleep in this country Even though I am sure your friend would make sure the kittens get good homes that means that many kittens at the shelter will not get homes. And there is the risk that the kittens that are born may also produce more kittens unless she fixes them before they leave her house. I think few people realize the extent of the problem.

    Hope this helps!

  31. Mel Says:

    Hello Lena
    I wanted to write and get your opinions on a few other things.

    Our little bittle is doing Great. Shes out climbing trees and clothes line poles once again.

    We let our guys outside in our back yard which has a 6 ft wood fence around it. It took the a little while for them to figure out they could jump it and hubby came up with an idea that has worked wonderfully to keep them in.
    So now we can let them out back without to much fear of them getting out. We always keep a close eye on them when they are out. Staying outside with them for a while and then doing regular head counts to make sure we see everyone still.
    But they absolutely LOVE it and we enjoy seeing them get to enjoy rolling in the sand and grass and climbing the trees and clothes line poles . Chasing bugs, lizards and stalking birds etc. And they get to really run and have fresh air outside . Its just nice to be able to let them have this experience.
    Usually they only get to go out in cooler weather as it gets a little to hot here in the summer but when weather permits we let them out .

    Anyway I am way off the subject I wanted to ask about.

    I wanted to ask about food.

    I actually feed my guys a raw food diet with some canned and dry also.

    1 of my guys my oldest 10 years gets raw only with the very occassional canned meal due to his IBD/colitis issues.

    My 6 year old gets raw in the morning and canned at night or vice versa. He gains way to much weight if I give him any dry and he doesn’t want to eat anything else so we have taken it totally out of his meal plan.

    My 3 year old she was a really really hard sale on the canned and raw but I have finally gotten her to eat canned and raw.
    So she gets raw usually in the mornings with dry at night . With some canned thrown in at times too.

    Our little bittle was a hard sale too. But I have gotten her to actually eat raw a little better than canned. So she gets mostly raw in the mornings and dry at night.
    If she will eat canned she gets that to on ocassion.

    And our two babies of about 7 months now they get raw in the mornings with dry at night.
    I will give them a little canned sometimes before I give their dry but the canned seems to give the potty issues so its very little they get.

    Anyway my questions come in at the best dry food.

    I feed them the raw with supplements etc. The canned I feed then is Wellness no grain or Natures Variety.

    And the dry I have pretty much settled on for them is Healthwise. I have tried many many dries and they seem to be doing well on this brand.
    I have tried all the different types of dry foods. Some they don’t like, some they don’t do well on etc etc.

    I really try to stay away from any that have had recalls as I don’t trust them to much.

    But my question is about the no grain verse grained foods.

    I have used a few of the no grain foods before but I haven’t ever felt comfortable with them.
    I know the high protein is what kitties need but I have to questions the form of this high protein.
    It is processed and dried nothing like the high protein they would get if left to their own devices.
    I just feel that this type of food is not really healthy for them.

    But then I know grains are not the best either but cats have lived on this for sometime now . Some with problems some with out.

    Our 3 cats we put to sleep over the years were dry food fed only. 1 we put to sleep at 5 years old due to acute renal failure. Our other was 13 1/2 and he was put to sleep due to a brain tumor. And our daughters kitty was 16 . She had some renal failure but it had stablized as we had her blood work done ever 6 months but then she got mammary gland cancer. We did testing to see what we could do but the vet said there really wasn’t anything to do. So we left it up to our daughter who decided she didn’t want her kitty to suffer so we put her to sleep .
    She had open sores and wasn’t doing to well at this point.

    These guys were fed Iams back then as it was supposed to be the best at that time. And then once they changed we went to Wellness and other good brands.

    So I guess what I am trying to say that cats live pretty well on the grained diets.
    I try to do what it best for my guys. They are just strays and rescued kitties but they are part of our family and we love each one very much.

    So I guess after this long email it all boils down to asking you your opinion on feeding cats and foods that are available for them.

    I regularly go through my magazines and on line to search for new products . Food, supplements etc for my guys and I try to keep up on the lastest happenings .

    But I find myself not being able to be totally sold on the no grain dry foods for them.

    Everyone has their opinions I know and I was just hoping to get your opinion on this issue.

    I remember seeing a site one time that was from a rescue or shelter of some sort and the lady said that in order to round out the cats diet they feed some raw, some canned and some dry. That way they felt like they had all their bases covered and this kind of made sense to me.

    And its kind of what I have been doing with my guys. I feel like I have my bases covered better.

    Like I said I try to search for as much new and different info I can find so that I can make informed decisions and make changes for the better if necessary.

    Anyway I guess I really made this a lot long than I had to Sorry for that.
    Look forward to your opinions and views.

  32. Lena Says:

    The food question:-)

    In my opinion there is not one right answer for every cat although it sounds like you have figured that out from your post.

    I personally feed my three kitties a mixture of canned foods-they get something different every meal rotating between about 10 different brands and many different flavors. When I found out that my oldest had renal failure I stopped the dry food but he was losing too much weight on canned alone so now there is always dry food available to all three cats and he has gained his weight back.

    I feed my cats Evo as the dry food which is a grain free dry however the canned I feed is a mixture of grain and no grain varieties. I have found many cats do well on Evo but it is my no means the only good food out there. Innova made by the same company is a good with grain option.

    In a perfect word I think cats would be just on canned or raw and probably very low grain feed only twice a day with the food picked up. However many of them do better with some other arrangement.

    I do not have concerns with feeding grain free foods as long as the protein sources are good quality – also many of the small good companies get bought out by larger ones and usually the foods decrease in quality after that (Iams, Nature’s Recipe) so keeping an eye on that is important.

    It also sounds like the dry is not going to be the bulk of your kitties’ diet so it is probably not that important to choice grain-free or with grain because they are getting a lot of other things also.

    I do usually get folks to feed something besides dry only (which you are doing) and I do try to get animals off poor quality food but beyond that I tend to be quite individual on the diets I recommend.

    Some of my favorites are Evo/Innova, Wellness, Merrick, Weruva, Homestyle Prairie, Avoderm, Felidae, Evanders. Although there are many other good ones out there.

  33. Lena Says:

    I also moved your question and answer to the forum page It’s a good place to ask questions if there is not a post on the topic (or even if there is). I don’t have a lot of forum traffic but I’m hoping it will improve and folks can also get opinions from others.
    best wishes,

  34. June Quinn Says:

    Hi Lena I did read your article re: vaccines but found it a bit too high tech. I understand not to get the FIV vaccine but basically could you tell me what I should get. My cat is 6 so has had all the early/yearly vaccinations until about 2 years ago when the vet said they were really only necessary about every three years or so. Is this ok or what do you believe he should be getting every year?

  35. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi June,
    Skip the first two paragraphs and then read the part in bold with the three vaccines I recommend, that is really all you need. The rest of the article just puts more explanation behind why I believe that.
    best ,

  36. Liz W Says:

    Hi Lena,

    I appreciate your help in educating us cat parents. Your page came up in my search. My 3 and a half year old kitty got his FVRCP 4-in-1 as they call it, yesterday. This is his third vaccine of it in his life and he is an indoor cat only. Today he does not want to get out of his bed! Does not want to eat anything. This is so not him. He’s usually the first one to wake me up for food and loves his treats. Today he just sleeps.

    Before I read your article I thought this vaccine had to be given every year. Should this be his last FVRCP vaccine? How long should this last and should I be more worried than I already am?

    Liz W

  37. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    HI Liz,
    I follow the recommendations I lay out in this article for the cats I treat. From the studies I have seen our modified live FVRCP vaccine should give lifetime immunity. If you are concerned about it you could have a titer test done to test his immunity. My understanding is that all vets should be following at least an every three year protocol, not yearly.
    If he continues to act sick I would recommend you take him back to your vet, while most vaccine reactions will pass in a day to a few days some can be very serious.
    best wishes,

  38. Jen Lewis Says:

    I am trying to follow along but I feel most of the specifics you give about the vaccines are a little over my head… I have a question I’m trying figure out what is best for my kitty! He was a feral cat that we’ve rescued and brought into our home when he was about 11 weeks old. He’s about 2 and 1/2 now and it’s time for his annual vaccines according to the vet.

    He is however PETRIFIED of the vet’s office and he turns into a little monster that not even myself or my husband can handle the second we walk through the door. I’ve asked my vet if we can give him like a xanax type pill prior to bringing him so that he can be a little more relaxed but the vet said his adrenaline spike will override any pill we give we him. He is suggested we put my cat under full anesthesia for vaccines.

    Here are my concerns: 1) If the vet can handle the cat to put him under anesthesia – how much more difficult could it be to give him a few shots? 2) Since my kitty is now an indoor cat – do I really need the vaccines? Or more specifically – do the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risk and overall stress to my cat that putting him under anesthesia would be? 3) Is there anyway I could administer the shots myself? He is really a good cat and easy to handle at home – I know that if they just showed me what to do or even come to my house my kitty would be just fine!

    I know this thread is kind of old but i see you responded recently…

    I really hope you can give me some advise… My instinct right now is telling me to just skip the vaccines since he’s already been neutered and had 2 rounds of vaccines why stress him out…



  39. Jen Lewis Says:

    p.s. This is what they say he needs:


  40. Lena McCullough, DVM Says:

    Hi Jen,
    A couple things that may help

    1. most vets recommend against giving FeLV vaccine to indoor only cats as the risk of cancer from the vaccine is higher than the risk of an indoor kitty getting FeLV. So if you were my client I would tell you to skip it.

    2. The recent studies have shown that the FVRCP gives lifetime immunity in almost all cats. My clients get advised to not give FVRCP ever again after their cats have had two vaccinations.

    My own indoor only cats (I have four) have gotten 1-2 FVRCP vaccines in their lifetimes. You can see my recommendations for vaccinations in the bold print after the first two paragraphs. Just read that if the other stuff is too much – I have all that for anyone who wants to know why I recommend what I do.

    I would not put a cat under anesthesia for a vaccine! And yes you can give them at home if you still want to give them or if your kitty hasn’t had a FVRCP before (sounds like he has). There are many companies that sell vaccines and often feed stores do also.

    Hope this helps

  41. Caroline M Says:

    I am carrying out a college assignment and was wondering if there is any research studies to back up why we should not vaccinate when giving a general anaesthetic?

  42. Lena Says:

    I would search PubMed, I bet there are ones out there. I don’t believe Ron has done one himself. Not sure if there would be studies in humans as I believe it is never common practice to give vaccinations under anaesthesia. Definitely studies that show immune system suppression with general anesthesia however I don’t have any in my hands.

  43. Lena Says:

    Should add that an additional reason to not vaccinate while under anesthesia is that if there is a vaccine reaction it could delay recovery from anesthesia or in the extreme lead to serious injury or death. Much easier to tell what is what when you only do one at a time.