My veterinarian says that my cat needs yearly vaccinations. I would rather not pay for vaccinations that she does not need. Do I really NEED to get her vaccinated? What kind of vaccinations would she get?
Vaccinations for your pets, just as in people, are needed to prime the immune system against infectious diseases. Whether or not to vaccinate an animal yearly is a very hot topic in the veterinary world. Pet vaccinations are separated into two groups. Core group vaccinations are recommended for all pets and are usually required by law (depending on the state you live in). Non-core group vaccinations are optional vaccines which are reserved for pets that are at high risk of exposure due to lifestyle, geographic locations, etc.
When you bring home a
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new puppy or kitten, they must have their baby vaccinations. The baby set of vaccinations must be given at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks and 56 weeks (1 year + 4 months) of age. After the baby vaccinations are finished, the debate now comes into the picture. Normally, a veterinarian will highly recommend yearly booster vaccinations.
Different approaches were taken in vaccinating my cat, Callie, and my friend’s cat, Midnight. Callie was born in 1995 and was adopted from the pound at 8 weeks old. After her initial set of baby vaccinations, she was given yearly boosters. She was an outdoor/indoor cat who was a tough kitty (she did not agree with some of the neighbor cats, and
sometimes dogs). She passed away at the age of 16, a happy and healthy cat.
Midnight was born in 1993 and was adopted from a neighbor at 8 weeks old. She was also an indoor/outdoor cat who was a tough kitty also. Midnight received her baby vaccinations from a cat specialist veterinarian and never received any booster vaccinations. Midnight passed away at the age of 14 from old age.
In comparing the vaccinations of these two cats, who had similar life situations, getting yearly boosters vs. not getting the boosters did not make a difference in their health, or extending their lives. The results found in these two examples may not be typical.
If you are considering changing your cat or dog’s vaccination schedule, please consult with your veterinarian first. Your vet may be requiring these yearly core vaccinations due to your pet’s unique circumstances. If your pet has had yearly boosters, it may not be advisable to suddenly stop the vaccinations. Your pet’s natural immunity to the diseases these vaccinations are created to control may not be able to prevent the diseases on its own.
Stay tuned for next week when I explain the specifics of the core and non-core vaccinations for both dogs and cats!