a blog post by the mom
I was messaging another cat mom and blogger the other day and she mentioned about getting her 15 year old cat in to the vet for a check up and vaccines. I mentioned that Ivy (who will be 15 years old this year) is no longer vaccinated. She said the vet was saying it needed to be done.
I decided to do a little research and see what I could find out.
First let me say this - I am not a vet and I am NOT telling you to ignore your vet's advice. But I also do suggest all the time that you are allowed to ask questions (be kind and polite) about reasoning and care.
Is something necessary? Is is required? Are there other options?
The last time Ivy was vaccinated was at age 12. Even then my vet asked why we were vaccinating a senior cat. I reminded her of the foster kitten situation and she agreed that due to risk it was worth doing it that time. At Ivy's last vet visit, we agreed that we would no longer vaccinate her. Keep in mind circumstances here: Ivy really doesn't like kittens so they don't spend a lot of time with her. I keep foster kittens quarantined when they are smaller and until after at least their first vaccine. I have had Ivy since she was 6 weeks old and I know her entire vaccine history. And regardless, Ivy will continue to have annual vet visits.
I did find an article written in 2021 by an RVT (see here) that basically says similar things to what I am saying above - a lot of it depends on circumstance.
Here is something else to consider - there may be local or state laws your vet is required to comply with. This would ONLY apply to rabies vaccine not the FVRCP vaccine. So be sure to ask this as well. Some laws are written specifically for dogs and cats are not mentioned so be sure this is part of your conversation.
For example, in my area here:
In accordance with Franklin county law, all dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated against the Rabies virus. Giving the vaccine is considered a medical procedure and only healthy pets should be vaccinated.
Read that again though - ONLY HEALTHY PETS. This can give your vet some leeway. In my case, is Ivy healthy? Sure, but she is also considered geriatric (when did that happen??) and that in itself can be considered a health issue. Plus if something were to happen, I am more than willing to pay for a titer test to check her rabies vaccine levels. And keep this in mind - I know her well enough to know she isn't really going to bite unless something terrible happens. Also she has about 3 teeth left. The risk level is pretty low. I also know that she has never once been exposed to rabies.
Where does that leave you? Having a vet you trust and you can talk to about these things. Have an honest conversation about your concerns and desires. Go over risks and precautions.
Let me know what you think - do you still vaccinate your senior animals? Why or why not?