My boyfriend and I took our new kitty, Fantasia, to get her shots yesterday. We went to a clinic that her foster mommy recommended.
When we got there, the clerk asked us if we wanted to get the feline leukemia/FIV vaccine. I wasn't aware that such a vaccine existed, but since these are both terrible diseases, and I obviously wanted to protect my kitty from them, I agreed. The vet did not give us any information about the vaccine - no warnings or talk of whether or not she actually needed the vaccine.
Fantasia was a doll - she didn't make a sound the entire time, and the vet said she was the best patient she'd seen all day! When we got her home, she seemed fine, but within a few hours, she was very lethargic and tired. She was warm to the touch, and her nose was very dry.
I was worried, so I called her foster mommy, who said that her rescue group is against the FIV/ leukemia vaccine. She said that fantasia will now test positive for FIV, so if she (god forbid!) gets out of the house, and is picked up by a shelter, it's likely they will put her down thinking she has the disease.
Further online research suggests that the FIV part of the vaccine is only about 55% effective (compared to near 100% for the core vaccines like rabies), and that the feline leukemia vaccine can actually cause cancer.
The lethargy, according to various sites online, is a common side effect of the leukemia part. Fantasia was especially likely to get sleepy because she is young (about 8 months) and had the leukemia vaccine along with the core FVRCP vaccination. Also, they gave her the vaccine on her shoulder, when it should have been administered by her hind leg.
Most upsetting of all is that she didn't actually need the vaccine, because she is an indoor-only cat, and not at risk for the disease.
She's doing much better today; she's back on her food, alert, and looking and feeling healthy again, if still a little tired. But I'm very angry with the clinic we took her to.
Is it common practice for clinics to just dole out shots, without explaining the risks and benefits to kitty's owner? Obviously, I should have done all this research before we took her to that clinic, not after. I guess you get the advice you pay for, but shouldn't the clinic be responsible enough to explain things to us?
I'm new to catster, but I'm curious if anyone has any further advice. Obviously, I'm going to be doing my research beforehand, and avoiding that particular clinic in the future.
Does anyone have any advice about choosing a responsible clinic and/or vet? Were there other warning signs I should've looked for, besides the lack of information? Do you know if she's at further risk for complications, since the shot was given in the wrong location? What are the chances she will test positive for FIV now (online answers are a bit contradictory), and if she does, would a shelter that finds her put her down, or would they call us first? She is microchipped, so they should know to contact us, but putting the life of my kitty in the hands of human common sense is quite worrysome, especially after yesterday's experience.
Also, any advice on how to blackball this clinic? I have a friend who knows one of the managers, so I plan to speak to them directly, and to post some negative reviews online. I don't want any other kitties or pet owners to go through what we did last night unnecessarily.