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Bengal Cats and Vaccines

Pros & Cons to Cat Vaccinations

What's the story with vaccines?
As with any drug, there are Pro's and Con's to cat vaccines. IMO, these pros and cons should be shared with the owner prior to the vet administering them, but unfortunately, this is too often not done.
Although a vaccine reaction is typically not deadly (they are often deadly when the reaction is a sarcoma), they can cause your cat and you a lot of stress and expense. Don't be afraid to ask questions and let your wishes be known!
**If your cat does experience a vaccine reaction of any kind, be sure to notify your vet/and or manufacturer.
Unless told to the vaccine company, these reactions go undocumented and nothing will be done!
Jessica's Story......

About 3 weeks ago I took my 2 boys in to the vet for a normal checkup. Sebastian, my younger boy had a scratch we needed to get checked out and Nikko just came for the ride and a normal check up. The vet told me Nikko was due for his rabies shot, so I wanted to be a good mom and I listened to the vet.

Niko was given 1ML of a rabies shot manufactured by "Merial". A few days after the shot Nikko became VERY lethargic, he was limping, looked like he got dizzy a lot, didn't want to move, would basically sleep all day and would only eat a few bites and I would have to carry him to his bowl. He looked very lifeless and we didn't know what to do other than bring him to the vet.

We brought him in, and the first thing they did was blood work. Blood work was good, so the vet requested an ultrasound. She then did a biopsy after telling me that his spleen looked enlarged. We were almost 2 weeks into his symptoms and the vet was convinced he had cancer. I was rather surprised because I knew his symptoms didn't start until after he got the vaccine, but the vet was very adamant about it NOT being the vaccine and we were looking at something and I quote "much more serious"

At this point I called Lori to ask if she has even experienced anything like this before. I had my suspicions about the shot but didn't mention anything until Lori asked if Nikko had received any vaccines recently. I confirmed that he did and that his symptoms started shortly after the shot!

Well after putting my poor Nikko through a million tests and scaring me half to death, the vet finally came to the same conclusion, it must have been a bad reaction to the vaccine! I want to share this information and I want people to be very careful when they speak to their vet. Just because it's the law, doesn't mean it's safe. My cats are indoor only and to be honest there is no chance of them getting rabies. It isn't necessary! What's scary about this is that the vet told me she has "never seen a bad reaction" and she "definitely doesn't think it's from the rabies shot" So now I feel like I can't even trust my vet! If you research online there are plenty of people who complain about the side effects of a vaccine, and to be honest anything could've happened to Nikko if I wasn't paying close enough attention. He wasn't eating or drinking water. He lost 2 pounds and for a cat that's a lot of weight to lose.

Always do your research before getting any type of vaccine, Lori has always been there for me to assist with any questions I have had over the past 2 years and I seriously regret not discussing the vaccine with her prior to getting it done. Thank god we have health insurance but if we didn't we would've paid $3500 out of pocket. If you need insurance, I highly recommend Trupanion.

Please also NEVER give your baby a vaccine at the same time as a neuter/ spay. Remember with any vaccine you are putting a virus in the body and making it sick, in hopes the body will create antibodies to fight off the infection later on. It's hard on their bodies! Take care of your babies and don't always listen to the vet! Always ask questions!

Jessica- Mom to Sebastian and Nikko
Here is copy of a statement on the vet bill one of my owners sent me. This was just after the vet "assured" him that the vaccine was completely safe to give at the same time kitty was neutered. Please do not allow this! it can stress/overload the immune system and bring on a potentially dangerous situation. Your kitty is worth the extra vet trip to ensure this is not done. Additionally, it is safer to separate all vaccines so that if a severe reaction does occur, you will know which vaccine caused it.

"A few pets may experience mild lethargy, soreness and slight fever.
They may also develop a lump at the site of vaccination (which can improve over time in a few weeks).
Some pets develop severe lethargy, painful abdomen, hives, facial swelling or difficulty in breathing or walking.If this persists or worsens, we recommend taking the pet to the ER."
This is my account of a rabies vaccine reaction-
The vaccine was Boehringer-Ingelheim, Purevax, 1 Year. It was given to my two Bengal kittens, age 5 months at the time.
While not stated below, Lori Graf, my breeder, was with me every step of the way through this ordeal to offer advice and support, which was greatly appreciated.
I took my 2 girls, Zoe and Hazel, for their first rabies vaccine on a Wednesday in August. I was pleased that both ate and played normally that evening. But beginning the next morning neither ate with their normal enthusiasm, and Zoe seemed particularly lethargic. I called my vet and she reassured me that like people, the girls were likely to feel quite blah after vaccinations and this should pass in a day or so. Thursday and Friday passed and both girls were eating less and less, particularly Zoe, who my vet then prescribed Mirataz for (a transdermal appetite stimulant). But by Sat Zoe still had not eaten and looked decidedly uncomfortable… sitting bunched up with her fur on end. I took her to the emergency clinic, where she was diagnosed as dehydrated, and given subcutaneous fluids and a drug for nausea. I was told this should really perk her up, but the next morning (Sunday) Zoe was looking no better and neither cat would eat. I called my vet and and she suggested I drop them off for observation. The vet syringe fed both kittens with Science Diet ID despite my telling her that bengals really don’t do well with abrupt diet changes. I picked them up at 3pm and they were both pretty wiped out. This time I was sent home with Metronizadole to treat the diarrhea, cans of the Science Diet ID, and syringes to feed with. Both rejected our attempts to feed, and both had completely liquid diarrhea that night. Monday morning neither would eat on their own and both were very difficult to syringe feed and pill, and the vet told us to bring them in again. They stayed all day and both were syringe fed, Hazel vomited and had diarrhea, and Zoe got more subcutaneous fluids. I brought them home at 5pm and again they were both wiped out, and neither would eat. Tuesday brought more of the same, no appetite, liquid diarrhea, syringe feeding.
I decided that the drugs were not helping, they all had the possible vaccine side effects- appetite loss, lethargy, diarrhea, so I decided to discontinue the drugs, and discontinue syringe feeding the Science Diet food and instead I syringe fed their every day food. On Tues, I bought an otc diarrhea remedy on the advice of Lori and dosed both girls. Hazel continued to vomit overnight, but on Wed morning Zoe woke up and immediately followed me to the kitchen, looking for breakfast. It was the first time she ate on her own in almost a week! Hazel still had no interest in food and had to be syringe fed though out the day, but Zoe was better and continued to eat on her own. Thursday morning Hazel finally started eating on her own, and both cats had normal poop by Thursday evening. I believe that the girls both had a reaction to the vaccine, causing the initial lack of appetite, lethargy and dehydration, and then everything else that was done to them was too much and really threw them for a loop. It was a long, agonizing, scary week.
They are now completely back to normal, eating voraciously and playing as usual.
Lori Graf
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