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Learning from your own stupidity.

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Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  northernwitch on 1/21/2012, 9:17 pm

This is absolutely a case of learning through being a moron. And it's not about pugs, but cats.

I've been a bit of an idiot with my cats, apparently. While I can quote you chapter and verse about canine vaccines, I've not been as vigilant about my feline vaccines. I don't vaccinate annually with my cats and do get three year vaccs for them, but I've had them vaccinated for FIV when I shouldn't have--and ONLY because I didn't do my research.

So here's my learning curve in the hopes that others can glean something from it. And a big thank you to Lisa C. for her help and support in all of this.

So as everyone knows, I euthanized my almost 17 year old black cat today. Right decision given what was happening with him. But the blood work didn't really give us a cause and so my vet suggested a viral scan for FIV--which came back positive. And she suggested I do one on my other cat, Sonny. Since then I've done some research and all cats vaccinated for FIV WILL test positive for it. This is problematic for a couple of reasons--(1) I now have no way of knowing if Sonny is FIV+ or not since he's been vaccinated, (2) Same for Angel--was vaccinated for it and so maybe the FIV caused his demise, maybe it didn't. In Angel's case it wouldn't have changed the outcome since he was clearly dying.

BUT--and this is the real concern if your cat ever gets out and ends up in a shelter--cats that test positive for FIV are routinely euthanized and there's no way to know if the positive test is that they ARE FIV+ or that they've been vaccinated.

And it seems that the vaccine for FIV isn't all that effective. Great.

So I feel like a bad cat owner and a colossal idiot for not being as vigilant about this stuff with my cats as I have been with my dogs.

So I will be getting my research hat on and hopefully, become a better cat owner. When you know better, you do better. Too bad it took me this long to get with the program.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Aussie Witch on 1/21/2012, 10:35 pm

Geezus Blanche, don't beat yourself up. It sounds like no matter how well informed you are, you're still going to be feeling around in the dark with FIV. Angel lived a great 17 years and you know it was his time. No fault of yours, but every reason to be proud of getting him to that age and caring enough to make sure the right decisions were made. A ton of love and hugs to you on a sad day, but a day to be proud of the incredibly caring and loving animal guardian that you are. If there was one person on earth I had to choose to take care of my animals, it would be you.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Saira on 1/21/2012, 11:07 pm

Thanks for that Blanche. I only get rabies for my cats because they are strictly indoors, but the vet (who is a different vet than my dogs because they cater to cats only-but I do NOT like them as much) keep trying to push more vaccs on them. I must admit I also do not know as much as about cat stuff as dog stuff so thanks for posting this.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  northernwitch on 1/21/2012, 11:07 pm

Aussie Witch wrote:Geezus Blanche, don't beat yourself up. It sounds like no matter how well informed you are, you're still going to be feeling around in the dark with FIV. Angel lived a great 17 years and you know it was his time. No fault of yours, but every reason to be proud of getting him to that age and caring enough to make sure the right decisions were made. A ton of love and hugs to you on a sad day, but a day to be proud of the incredibly caring and loving animal guardian that you are. If there was one person on earth I had to choose to take care of my animals, it would be you.
No question, he had a great life--and I don't think the vaccine did him or Sonny any harm. BUT I could have saved myself some worrying if I had done my research first before vaccinating either of them for it.

Just thought my goof could save some other folks a lot of googling, questioning and wondering.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Not Afraid on 1/22/2012, 4:00 am

Thanks, Blanch, for making this a clear point. There is a LOT of misinformation about FIV out there and you'd be surprised what most vets DON'T know. My Charles was FIV+ and I'll tell you that 99% of what I know about FIV came from sources other than my vet.

The most important things to remember are this:

  • Do NOT vaccinate for FIV. It doesn't do much good and, if they are ever tested in the future they will test positive.
  • FIV is NOT a death sentence. Yes, their immune system is suppressed but FIV doesn't kill. Their weakened immune system allows for diseases to take a stronger hold. The most important thing you can do for an FIV+ cat is support their immune system.
  • Keep an FIV+ cat INDOORS. An outside cat is exposed to much more diseases than an indoor car which puts the FIV cat at risk
  • FIV has a VERY short life when exposed to air. The most common way it is transmitted is through a Deep Wound Bite (saliva to blood). A mating male aften transmits it to the female when biting their neck for mating. Cats with FIV can live with other non FIV cats as long as the FIV cat is not agressive.
  • Kittens who are born to an FIV+ mother will often develop antibodies for FIV making them FIV- after about 6 months.
.


As far as vaccinations go, I vaccinate for the first year. I don't vaccinate my cats after that - at all. Buster went into anaphylactic shock from vaccinations and almost died. The first sets of vaccinations are usually enough protection for an indoor cat. None of my cats go outside and are not exposed to rabies or to other cats that have not been fully tested. I vaccinate all fosters before I expose them to my own cats. FIP is, in my opinion, the MOST important of the vaccinations. FIP IS a death sentence and it is highly transmittable. If you do want to vaccinate, every 3 years is enough for an indoor cat. (Of course, I don't think cats should be outdoors at all - and, if they are, Cars are MUCH more dangerous than Rabies.

BTW, cat vaccinations are pretty easy to do at home (and MUCH cheaper). Rabies has to be done my a Vet.


(I think I'm geting myself psyched up for kitten season, but hoping I don't end up with any fosters.)
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  pugmom on 1/22/2012, 9:51 pm

Excuse my stupidity but what does FIV stand for? Feline ? ?



I loved cats when I grew up on the farm and we always had house cats and barn cats. (which always would fight) I remember my mother forcing the cats to take huge pills! I also think she would take them to the vet for rabies shots. She was a true kitty lover.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  northernwitch on 1/22/2012, 10:50 pm

Elaine:
FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.

And here's some interesting information from my Homeopathic vet re cats and vaccines. My questions are in red:

What are your issues with FiP--just so I can get my ducks in a row.


very poor response to FIP vaccine, in fact i think this one actually has been "discontinued" from
many of the articles i've read & information i've gathered
(conventionally & holistically), feline leukemia tends to be
contracted within the first year of life... so vaccinating is almost
moot, & can have similar adverse reactions (FeLV vaccine and rabies vaccine are the highest risk for post-vaccinal cancers)
FIV
vaccine, i've still yet to see any evidence that makes me think it is
helpful; i still go with the susceptibility theory... decrease cat's
susceptibility to ANY diseases by increasing
health through diet, homeopathics, etc.
and again, if they truly have an effective vaccine for FIV, how come there isn't one for HIV?


And totally out of random curiosity, there is a huge debate going on
in the US about cat adoption with one side arguing that not adopting to
folks who let their cats outside is moronic given the huge numbers of
cats euthed in shelters and the other side saying that euthed in the
shelter is better than hit by a car. I think there's a middle ground,
but wondered what you thought. I can see both sides--particularly the
shelters that feel over run by cats, but I also have so many issues with
the lax way in which dogs get adopted from shelters (although I know
it's about not enough staff or time or other resources).


when
i was a shelter vet @ the THS many, many years ago, i became
increasingly disillusioned with their policy to NOT adopt cats to anyone
who said they would declaw them.
to be clear, i do not
support or recommend declawing, and at *******, dr. andrew and i are
very conscientious to make sure that clients know that the neutering is
recommended,
& declawing is not part of this "routine" surgery.
however, when you are working in a shelter where there are 700 cats that need a home, i found this to be a misguided "rule".
case-in-point,
my own parents would unlikely entertain the idea of having a cat that
was not declawed, and they are wonderful "cat parents".
in
addition to that, how many people would (and did) say on their
applications & during their interviews that they would not declaw,
& went ahead & did it anyway?
could this not also occur with the situation of keeping your cat indoors? who's to stop people & follow-up?

my
stance on letting cats outdoors is similar... i don't recommend it (my
own cats have ALWAYS been indoors only... i even had the "cat's den
built @ woodmount if you recall!!!), but would not
restrict adoptions to only those who would keep their cats indoors. my
priority would be that all of these cats be neutered prior to being
adopted & sent home, so that at
least
any of these cats going outdoors are not able to contribute to the cat
overpopulation by breeding. i guess to me the shelter approach often
needs to be a "population"
approach, vs. an "individual" approach.
for
sure, getting hit by a car is serious and devastating, but being
trapped in a cage in a shelter among hundreds of other cats in close
proximity, to me, if i could speak for the cats, is worse.
and the #s of cats being euthanized beyond, beyond outnumbers those
being hit by cars, i think? unfortunately for the cats, our environment
is becoming more &
more
unsafe for them to be outdoors. i always think of it as us being in
their world, vs. them being in ours. another philosophic discussion for
another time!
and,
i totally agree with you about having issues with how some shelters
screen their potential adoptees, whether for cats or for dogs.


so there you have it :)
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  pugmom on 1/23/2012, 12:36 pm

Thanks. I found all of that very interesting. I honestly do not think I have ever known anyone who de-clawed their cat.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Not Afraid on 1/23/2012, 11:16 pm

I declawed my first 3 before I knew what was really involved with the surgery. That was in 1986 and I was young and dumb. They were all find with no awful results, but I would not do it now (the current state of my furniture attests to that).

I love your vet's perspective on things and I completely agree with her. The rescue conundrum is a very debatable one - for both dogs and cats.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  northernwitch on 1/23/2012, 11:25 pm

Not Afraid wrote:I declawed my first 3 before I knew what was really involved with the surgery. That was in 1986 and I was young and dumb. They were all find with no awful results, but I would not do it now (the current state of my furniture attests to that).

I love your vet's perspective on things and I completely agree with her. The rescue conundrum is a very debatable one - for both dogs and cats.
She's a terrific woman.

So I saw my vet today and Angel wasn't vaccinated for FIV, but Sonny was. So Angel clearly was FIV+ and that might be what killed him, but my vet felt that it could also have been some sort of cancer. she felt that if he was in a full viral storm, we should have seen it in blood work or other physical symptoms--but acknowledges that he may just have been lucky enough to be fine and when it hit, it hit hard and fast.

And she says that there isn't any point testing Sonny since I'm not planning on getting any more cats and there seems to be a ton of debate about whether the Western Blot or PCR can distinguish between FIV+ due to infection vs. FIV+ due to vaccination. And the reality is that I don't see any reason to test Sonny at this point as it won't tell me anything useful. I'll treat him as if he was FIV+ in terms of care and management (diet, etc).

I've learned a ton, most of it frustrating. Thanks a ton, Lisa.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Not Afraid on 1/24/2012, 3:25 am

You're welcome, Blanche.

It's not the FIV that kills them, it is the suppressed immune system which allows all sorts of other diseases to run rampant. I go back to the many people I knew who died of HIV in the 80's and 90's. Perfectly healthy people - mostly young - who suddenly got cancer and were gone in a very short time. With more knowledge of HIV (and drugs) I now know many people who have been HIV+ for 20-25 years and do pretty well. The fact that Angel was 17 and FIV+ is really amazing. Charles only made it to 9 or 10 (by estimate), but he lived the first 4-5 years on the street (we think) without good care.

I'm glad you got some more information and clarification. Rest in Peace, Angel.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Puggered on 1/27/2012, 5:40 pm

That made me go and look and see what Boss Cat was vaccinated for. She had the full kitten course then two annual boosters then I assumed (as with previous cats) that futher boosters were not required. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi was immunised against Feline Leukemia, Feline Influenza and Feline Enterits. She is 11 years old.

If I were to have a new kitten vaccinated today, my clinic would recommend both F4 vaccine and FIV vaccine.

Here is the blurb from their website:

Cats

The recommended vaccine for cats is the combination F4/FIV. This vaccination protects against

-Cat "Flu"

-Feline enteritis

-Feline panleucopaenia

-Chlamydia (which causes upper respiratory tract signs)

-Feline Immunodeficiency Virus which cause feline AIDS

FIV is considered the most important of these as it is very common, once infected your cat is infected for life, and the disease is eventually fatal. FIV is caught from a bite from another cat. ie during a fight (another good reason to have your cat desexed and locked in at night as these are the most prominent reasons that cats will fight)

The 2 vaccines are given at the same time and boosted annually.

How ignorant am I? I did not even know that cats caught Chlamydia - I do know that koalas suffer from it and it affects their reproductive tracts as well as their eyes and often causes female infertility.

But back to FIV I hope that there is some sort of consensus on whether to vaccinate against this before I am in need of a replacement cat/kitten. Although I may not actually have a choice due to new and proposed state laws which are very specific about what breeders, pounds and rescues have to do before offering a cat or kitten for sale. Bureaucracy is the very last bastion to adopt new veterinary consensus, worse luck.

However some Australian clinics are advocating pretty much what Lisa is saying - here is a typical example: TO vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Based on past behaviour my clinic will shift to similar as soon as the Aust Veterinary Assoc recommends that regime as an option, in the meantime I would be willing to bet they would agree to that regime for any client who insisted. It's a bit of a worry that the website so strongly advocates the FIV though - I know the vet nurses actally write the website copy, but I'm sure it is approved by at least one of the partners before it goes online. Hmmmm.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  northernwitch on 1/27/2012, 8:00 pm

Angela:
Here's a pretty interesting run down on the FIV. Given this info, the vaccine (at least here in Canada) seems pretty useless.

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_fiv_vaccine.html

I know my homeo vet isn't a fan of the FiP, or the FelLeuk vaccs.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Puggered on 1/27/2012, 9:10 pm

Thanks Blanche that is food for thought.

It would certainly seem that an indoor cat in an area where the most prevalent form of the virus was not adequately covered by the vaccine would be at more risk of damage from the vaccination than of contracting the virus.

I live rurally, near forest. In my locality feral cats actually outnumber the human population more than tenfold. Not so long ago Boss Cat Rikki Tikki Tavi lost her private access because a huge feral chased her though it. It is not a fun experience trying to trap a wild animal in your bedroom. Now Rikki is forced to use the dog door with the plebs.

It was very interesting to find that there are several forms of the virus and the vaccine may not be effective against each one. I wonder if in my area the most prevalent form is actually one that the virus does protect against, and if so, is that the reason for my clinic's vehement defense of the FIV vaccine - because they have seen it work, time and time again? Or is it just stick-in-the-mud-itis? I can foresee a very interesting conversation the next time I see one of the partners or the senior small animal vets...
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  northernwitch on 1/27/2012, 10:47 pm

Angela:
here's a cut and paste of another explanation that I liked as it made it clear to me when I was flooded with TMI:

FIV
has five basic strains or what are called "Clades". The FIV vaccine was
developed against clades A and D however was only tested against clade
A. The efficacy shows that the test has a 82% against clade A. (This is
where anything good about this vaccine seems to stop.) There is no
information about whether the vaccine protects against clades D, B, C
and F.

Furthermore, the vaccine is a killed vaccine. As a killed
vaccine, it must employ the use of adjuvants (chemicals that cause
local inflammation and help the vaccine work) unlike other types of
vaccines. Most vaccine adjuvants are classified as grade 3 carcinogens.
They can cause a severe form of cancer in cats that can develop as long
as 13 years after vaccination. To read more: VAS Vaccine Associated Sarcomas.

So here are the Pros and Cons to the FIV Vaccine:

Pros:


  1. It provides 82%5 protection against FIV infection against clade A. For the other clades, FIV may provide some protection against infection.

Cons


  1. There is no clear understanding about the FIV vaccine's efficacy against other clades
  2. The
    test can cause a false positive on all current practical tests. Thus
    people may think that the cat is FIV positive when the cat just had a
    vaccine. Many people euthanize their cat if they test positive. Thus
    this vaccine may lead to the unnecessary deaths of some cats.

  3. The
    test can test positive for an undetermined period of time. There have
    not been a lot of conclusive testing; what we do know from tests is that
    30% of cats will test negative at one year post vaccination. Many cats
    will test false positive for years after the vaccine. The exact duration
    of how long some cats can test positive after a single FIV vaccine is
    unknown. We know many will test for more then 4 years after.

  4. This
    may be one of the worst ones: the vaccine is a killed vaccine. Thus it
    is adjuvanted and can potentially cause a deadly form of cancer up to 13
    years after vaccination.



For these reasons, many veterinarians find the FIV vaccine to have more risks and problems than benefits.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  northernwitch on 1/27/2012, 10:49 pm

Here's the link as it gives some good info on vaccines for cats generally. I don't know how different things are in Aussie than here--except I do know you guys have a significant feral cat issue.

http://www.acerlux.com/qanda/vaccinationfivcat.html
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Not Afraid on 2/3/2012, 12:04 am

California has mostly Clades A and B with B being the most common. Therefore, the FIV vaccine is mostly pointless and often means an owner wrongly assumes their cat is protected. Once a cat is vaccinated, it is no longer possible to distinguish vaccinated cats from truly FIV+ cats.

"The vaccine is advertised at protecting 82% of cats which means 18% can still be infected. This is nearly a o1 in 5 chance of unknowingly having an infected cat." Quoted from here.
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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Miss Pit on 2/3/2012, 1:17 am

Thanks for posting this valuable information. I find with cats it's always a learning experience. The thing that kills me is that some shelters(animal control)will automatically vaccinate for everything as soon as the cat is brought in. So when a rescue pulls the cat or if the cat is adopted,this cat will test positive. It irks me that they are vaccinated like that. I did a transport for 3 seniors(16,15,14 all from the same home) that were dumped 2 days before Christmas. I found a rescue and we both asked that the cats only be vaxed for rabies so they could cross the state lines. Too late,they all had been poked for everything under the sun. About 10 days after the transport,the 16 year old died. The rescue and I believe that because of the stress of being dumped by her family,the shelter,the shots and the beginning of CRF was too much for her little body.

With my cats,I won't vaccinate after a certain age except( if I MUST) a rabies vax. The only reason I did this with two of my seniors is because my vet wouldn't let them have a dental w/o one.

Trish

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Re: Learning from your own stupidity.

Post  Pugsaunt on 2/3/2012, 6:01 pm

Miss Kitty is an outdoor cat, so she gets the full panel of vaccines. Jukie is an indoor cat and does not go outside, so she got her baby vaccines, and nothing since. Since Penny doesn't go outside, and given her age, she doesn't get vaccines, either.
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