FIV and Feline Leukemia Vaccine?

Kat BradleyKat Bradley Member Posts: 1
edited 12 January, 2010 in Cat Health
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.


  • Trica ReynaTrica Reyna JacknsonvilleMember Posts: 280
    edited 10 January, 2010
    I'm sorry for your experience with the Vet you took your kitty too. I know that all the vets I have taken my cats to in my area do not recommend getting your pets vaccinated unless they need to be. They encouraged me not to get the FeLV vaccine on my cats until I got a kitty that had the actual virus. I also told them I bring in a lot of stays so getting that particular FELV vaccine was important at the time. I probably wont get them vaccinated again because I know How to handle sick cats betters. I would just find a new vet in your area and in the micro chip if you can put a note saying she has the FIV vaccine and if she wear tags get a tag that says it as well.
  • JessicaJessica Long Island, New YorkMember Posts: 1,339 ✭✭✭
    edited 10 January, 2010
    The FIV vaccine is not recommended but the FELV is, since there's a lot of chance for exposure even for indoor only cats.
  • Leigh PetersonLeigh Peterson AkronMember Posts: 796
    edited 10 January, 2010
    yes, at some vet clinics they just dole out anything without explaining risks. They "prescribe" crap food because some company pays them to. They sell whatever drugs they get from the company they use, and many will flat out not discuss the use of vitamins, herbs, natural food, etc. Every vet is different. When I got Aura, I did my research about vaccines and learned there are 3 in 1s, 4 in 1s, and 5 in 1s, both live and killed. I called every vet in town before I found one that offers a 3 in 1, and so that's where I'm taking her. The vet is very expensive though, so it won't be her regular vet from here on out. I will NOT be giving Aura the FIV or Leukemia vaccines, but that's mainly because she's part Ragdoll and those vaccines are especially not recommended for them.
  • Christina WahlChristina Wahl Member Posts: 164
    edited 12 January, 2010
    I lost two cats to each disease and so now I vaccinate. One was a rescue 5 weeks old when found alone and injured when I was 8-9 yrs old. He was in door only after that. But he still got the leukemia. Back then they were just working on more info on it and did not have the vaccine in my city as it was a small hick town we stayed in with one vet. My other cat was outdoor/ indoor for 16 yrs then hey got both and lived to 18 yrs. I now personally vaccinate my pets. All my pets have been fine with in 12-24 hrs of any shots and honestly I always microchip and you can have them add it to it saying he/ she is vaccinated. I also try and go to a vet and some things I get at a clinic if the vet says its something I could get cheaper there. Example rabies shots are cheaper there. But something I did while there was get a booster for Ziggy. They were very knowledgeable and asked to see his shot record and asked to see his pre vaccine blood test before they would give even a booster for his shots. I think that was the FIV for the blood test. So it can be hit or miss. I also at my vet had to tell them what I wanted and needed for my pets. So do your home work before going any where. Always be your own advocate. Try or (maps section) or on here to find a good vet. Best of luck.
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