If you have ever taken your cat to the veterinarian, you will know just how expensive routine care can be! Vaccinations really add up, and most vets recommend a wide variety of vaccines and medications. My last trip for one cat ran well over $200 in vet fees. This leads to an important question: Which vaccines are truly necessary?
Rabies is a viral disease that destroys the central nervous system. Symptoms include disorientation, dramatic appetite changes, aggression, seizures, and erratic behavior. Law in the United States requires rabies vaccinations. The disease is spread through saliva and blood.
Typically, Rabies is commonly spread by a bite from a wild animal (raccoon, fox and bat). A cat’s first rabies vaccination is good for one year. Following that, there is a booster that is given every three years. Odds are that your indoor cat will never become exposed to rabies, but vets have to administer the vaccine regardless.
Feline Distemper (Panleukopenia) is a deadly disease in which a virus invades the blood stream causing diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and dehydration. Many vets insist on administering this vaccine. There are risks that can outweigh the necessity. If your cat is strictly an indoor cat, there truly is no need to have your cat vaccinated.
There is concern that some of the vaccines on the market can lead to dangerous conditions. Though the odds are slim, if the cat is strictly an indoor cat, there is no real risk that Feline Distemper will ever be an issue.
Rhinotracheitis is a strain of the herpes virus that can cause eye damage in your cat. Watery eyes, cloudy eyes, and redness can be a sign of both Rhinotracheitis and other eye issues, so it can be hard to tell if your cat has allergies or something more. This is a vaccine that is necessary and boosters should be given every year.
Calcivirus is a respiratory disease that can become dangerous quickly. Symptoms are persistent gum disease and upper respiratory disease. The vaccination for this virus is urged to all cat owners.
The vaccination for Feline Leukemia is one vaccine that is debatable. There is no chance that an indoor cat will be exposed to the deadly disease. Typically, Feline Leukemia has no significant signs at first.
Weight loss, fever, pale gums, poor coat condition, and diarrhea are common as the disease progresses. If your cat ever goes outside, you should have that cat vaccinated. Otherwise, the risks outweigh the benefits.
There is a link that the Feline Leukemia vaccination can cause fibrosarcomas (malignant tumors) and anaphylactic shock. Due to the high risk of fibrosarcomas, many vets are starting to steer clients away from the Feline Leukemia vaccination on an indoor cat.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis is a viral disease that shuts down many of the cat’s important organs including the heart, lungs, and brain. The key signs to FIP are sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose. Veterinarians recommend this vaccine if your cat will be exposed to feral cats or large groups of other cats. Otherwise, you can skip it.
Finally, Chlamydiosis is a respiratory disease that spreads easily from cat to cat. Red, puffy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing are the common signs to Chlamydiosis. If your cat is exposed to neighborhood cats, you should have this vaccination. Otherwise, you can bypass the vaccine and keep your cat inside.