Do my cats need to be vaccinated against feline leukemia?
My cats are 100% inside cats. They rarely see the light of day, and like it that way. From my understanding, it can only be contracted from other cats through prolonged exposure or bite/scratch wounds, so would it be ok if I skipped that vaccine this year?
- MickLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
No, they don't need it.
If they're adults, even if they went outside they wouldn't need it.
Contrary to the old vaccine salesmen's tales often believed by gullible cat owners, feline leukemia is NOT a highly contageous disease. It requires direct physical contact, such as fighting, mutual grooming, or sharing (and slobbering over) food.
As for the idea that your cats could catch it from one another, that could only happen if one of them already has it. I presume you've had them tested and know that they don't have it...
The most important thing to keep in mind is that adult cats with properly functioning immune systems develop a natural immunity to the FeLV virus. Generally, only kittens are susceptible to infection. If your adult cats have healthy immune systems they won't contract the virus even if they're exposed to it. And if they don't have healthy immune systems, vaccination won't work for them.
You'll hear people say that they had or knew of cats that got FeLV as adults, and they surely believe it, but they're probably wrong. FeLV can remain dormant for many years, and only show itself when the cat's immune system becomes compromised or begins to function poorly due to age. So what really happened is that the cat's FeLV became symptomatic at an adult age, but the cat was most likely infected since kittenhood.
The other possibility is that the cat became infected as an adult because of a defective or heavily compromised immune system. If that was the case, then vaccination wouldn't have helped, because the vaccination process depends on a properly functioning immune system in order to work.
A vet I met in an on line support group for people with VAS cats researched this and found that all the challenge studies performed to get the FeLV vaccines certified were all performed on kittens. The reason was that when they tried to use adults they found that they couldn't get the unvaccinated control groups infected - they fought off the virus even when it was injected directly into them in massive quantities.
In an excellent exxample of lying with statistics, one of the pharmaceutical companies used the results to sell vaccines to vets, claiming that annual FeLV vaccination was necessary because studies had shown that the incidence of FeLV infection in adult cats vaccinated more than a year ago was the same as the incidence in adult cats that had never been vaccinated - conveniently not mentioning that the infection rate in both groups was zero!
Another thing to consider is that the FeLV vaccine is one of the most heavily implicated vaccines as a trigger for Vaccine Associated Sarcoma, usually-fatal cancers triggered by the inflammation produced by the vaccination process. I went through VAS with my late great Rusty and I can tell you it's not a road you want to go down with a cat you love. The best way to lower the risk of VAS is to avoid unnecessary vaccinations.
Please don't vaccinate your adult indoor cats for FeLV.Source(s): VAS Awareness http://www.vas-awareness.org VAS Task Force American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, Asociation of Feline Practitioners, Veterinary Cancer Society) http://www.avma.org/vafstf/default.asp Catshots (See "Sylvia's Protocol pages" for the scientific information.) http://www.catshots.com Cornell Feline Health Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University on line brochure "Vaccines & Sarcomas, A Concern for Cat Owners" http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/resources/brochure/... Evidence Based Medicine - Dr. Art Malernee, DVM http://ebvet.com/index.htm and http://malernee.blogspot.com/
- RhondaLv 71 decade ago
The vets do not agree on this one. Some vets think all cats should be vaccinated since this highly contagious disease can be transmitted even thru a screen door! The holistic vets disagree and believe that with the vaccine there is a risk of giving the very disease (that you are trying to avoid) to the cat.
I vaccinated my two indoor cats, but they still got it from one of my other cats. They can still live a long time with it, I just wish they did not have it.
In my opinion, keep them inside always!
- 1 decade ago
Can be contracted from any scratch or bite or food shared. How old is cat and how many years has he/she been vaccinated? Most vets now recommend vaccines every other year for cats that are older and have had regular (that's every year) vaccines. Call vet. They know best
- 1 decade ago
I'd suggest that you go ahead and get the vaccine this year. The vaccine runs about $16 bucks so it's not going to break the bank. There's always the chance that your cats will get out atleast once. Better safe than sorry.
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- 1 decade ago
They need them, its a highly contagious disease. And what if something happened and got out. Or what if an emergency came up and had no choice but to board them. You might not be able to get the vaccine required with such short notice. Also some boarding facilities, wont accept them if the have just received the vaccine within the last few daysSource(s): Worked at 2 boarding kennels
- 1 decade ago
As a side note, the 3 year rabies is also linked to sarcoma in the injection site. My Moses endd up with such a large tumor that we had to put him down, the only two bright spots were that he was 18 and he bite the heck out of the vet :) That's my baby
- old cat ladyLv 71 decade ago
Defintely. It has even now become suspect in causing a cat to have leukemia.
Go to: www.littlebigcat.com and read Dr. Jean Hovfe's article titled "Vaccination" They are in alphabetical order so it is near the end. She also has some other information in her monthly newsletters. Volume 2, #4, 5, & 6.
- blindfreddLv 41 decade ago
Everyone I know that has indoor only cat has had there cat get out at least once. Get the Leukemia shot. It is not that expensive, and the peace of mind is well worth it
- trusportLv 41 decade ago
Strictly indoor cats don't need the vaccine. If you're sure they're all negative, then skip it.
- 1 decade ago
You are right, but your cats are around each other so, I would suggest getting the vaccine.