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Why do cats need a booster vaccine every year?

(18 Posts)
MarianneEnjolras Fri 21-Feb-14 18:26:30

Humans don't need one every single year. I'm not anti vaccine at all, I just find it odd that a cat's immune system is apparently so weak it needs a yearly booster. Wondering if anyone can shed any light on this?

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 21-Feb-14 18:36:38

Well it depends on the vaccine in humans, flu is every year, pneumonia 10 years, tetanus every 10, hep a & b every 5 & 10 years.

So really for the flu bit it's the same as us, a rapidly changing virus that can kill. It's every other year for the enteritis vaccine afaik.

Cats make their own vitamin c <interesting fact>.

Dollydowser Fri 21-Feb-14 18:38:46

To make the vets more money, of course.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 21-Feb-14 18:40:24

Dolly, have you seen a cat ill with flu because the previous owner didn't believe in vaccines?

Sparklingbrook Fri 21-Feb-14 18:48:28

To protect the cat's health. No cattery will take a cat without a certificate of vaccination.
When the vet does the booster the cat also gets a check over, weighed and teeth looked at etc.

cozietoesie Fri 21-Feb-14 18:55:59

This may prove of interest, in particular the section on booster vaccinations.

MarianneEnjolras Fri 21-Feb-14 19:24:24

That is interesting cozietosie thanks. I had heard about the 3 year vs 1 year booster thing from a local cat rescue once but never heard any more about it.

I can see why a cattery would want proof to protect the other cats there.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 21-Feb-14 19:31:00

Not all the disease need to be boosted every year. Studies have shown that panleucopaenia cover lasts three years, but leukaemia, calicivirus and rhinotracheitis only last 15 months. We remind you at 1 year as it takes over 50 % of people 60 days to respond to a vaccination reminder so if we reminded at 14 months and significant number of cats would not be protected.
Plus calicivirus is constantly changing and the vaccines update their cover like the human flu vaccine.
Sadly all of these diseases still regularly kill cats.

Sparklingbrook Fri 21-Feb-14 19:33:57

Lone can I ask a quick question? How many months can you go over the 12 months before it stops being a booster and you have to start again with 2 jabs?

cozietoesie Fri 21-Feb-14 19:35:01

Remind us Lone - what is the current vaccination rate for cats? (I seem to recall you quoting figures, once, and being horrified. And I had a cat once - in my younger days - with full cat flu. It is not nice at all.)

PandaNot Fri 21-Feb-14 19:42:50

I really should know the answer to this but if your cats are indoor cats and never come into contact with any other cats do they still need their boosters? Or can humans pass on things to cats?

lljkk Fri 21-Feb-14 19:48:17

On MN I asked same question last yr, OP. the answer that came back was basically that the vaccines aren't that brilliant combined with the fact that the viruses can mutate, so the jabs don't confer long term immunity. Maybe this comes down to how cat immune systems work, too.

My cats jabbed last week & I have to say the health exam was pretty cursory. Cat2 amused us all by jumping onto of a computer tower on top of the highest shelf in the room (thank goodness didn't knock it down and the vet was more embarrassed about dust than worried about anything else).

The best perk is that I can buy the prescription-only flea meds as long as the cats have been recently health checked.

cozietoesie Fri 21-Feb-14 19:49:01

They can, just like human viruses. (Although how sturdy it is will depend on the virus, I think.) You can pick them up yourself - eg on hands, clothes etc from anyone who has been in unguarded contact with an infectious animal.

MarianneEnjolras Fri 21-Feb-14 19:53:09

My cat (we lost her only yesterday to heart disease sadly) had survived cat flu as a younger cat, before we adopted her. However it left her with scarring in her tear ducts which led to weepy eyes which were prone to infection.

<in mourning for my cat at the moment and need to talk about cats to people who won't think I'm a crazy cat lady>

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 21-Feb-14 19:53:48

Sparkling sadly different practices will tell you different things not always following the data sheet. The vaccine we use allows 15 months between vaccinations.
Cozie in my practice latest figures out this week tell me that 45.8% of cats are vaccinated this is a drop from 46% last year. This will massively under estimate the number of unvaccinated cats as there are thousands who never visits a vets surgery till their euthanasia visitsad so never become "active cats" in our figures. National the lowest recorded numbers are 31.5% of cats vaccinated and a high of 75.72%.
This year 23.8% of cats called for vaccination failed to respond again this up from 20.9% last year.
I have seen three new terminal cases of leukaemia, 2 of panleucopaenia and more flu than I can count in the last year.
In fact for the first time ever in my practice there is a greater percentage of vaccinated rabbits than catsshock.
The national figures will cover several hundred thousand cats and they all come from the profession's national benchmarking service.

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Fri 21-Feb-14 19:54:01

Humans live 80 - 90 years. Cats live 12. Pro rata, it works out the sameish. Cats are very prone to viral infections because they socialise a lot and can get bitten when protecting their territory.

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Fri 21-Feb-14 19:57:48

Cats suffer terribly when they have Cat 'flu'. If they can't smell their food due to the illness they stop eating and it is the devils work to get them eating again and the nursing all goes pear shaped from that point. If you have a cat you value even a little bit, please get it vaccinated. : )

cozietoesie Fri 21-Feb-14 20:15:09

Dreadful figures, Lone.

And Yes, Dinnae. Even residual cat flu (which Seniorboy has) is no fun for him - although the vet treats his associated respiratory infections which seems to help. The full blown thing is awful.

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