The Dirt Witch Chronicles

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Vaccine reactions in cats

Ziva - My Youngest Cat

This is my baby, Ziva.  She is an energetic and talkative little girl who absolutely LOVES to play string and ball.  She is not a typical cat that prefers to sleep all day in some hidden place only to come out at night and keep the humans awake while she plays.  Nope, this little girl follows me all over the house all day.  Every time I get up to leave a room, she will get up and follow me.  Of course, she naps while she’s in the room, but she doesn’t SLEEP.  If you know what I mean!

Well, last week she started peeing on the carpet in my plant room.  And she would do it right in front of us!  So, when she got in trouble for it and I took her to the litter box to reinforce that’s where she should go, she demonstrated for me that she’s having trouble going.  And when she does go, it’s not very much.  So the next time she tried to go where she wasn’t supposed to I noticed that her urine was also tinged with blood.  “OK!  Not Good!”  I thought.  “Time for you, Little Missy, to go to the vet!” I told her.

The vet visit went fine.  Ziva is such a good natured kitty!  We put her on antibiotics and encouraged her to drink more water and eat more canned food.  After a week, her urinary tract infection systems were gone.  But, the vet wanted to follow up and make sure she was clear.

So, on Friday I took miss Ziva back to the vet for a followup visit.  And to my great relief, the uti is clear.  She still has some blood in her urine but the vet said it should go away with more water intake.  She then suggested we go ahead and give Ziva her booster shots for Rabies, and Feline Leukemia.  We were concerned about how much this visit was going to cost because her last visit cost me $157.00! This one, being a follow up wasn’t supposed to cost as much and each vaccine was only $20 each.  So we guesstimated that this visit would be between $60 and $70.  “OK, go ahead.” We told the vet.

We were so WRONG!  First, they wanted to charge us $119.00 for this visit.  $37.50 for the office call, $41.50 for another urinalysis, plus the $20 a piece for the vaccines!  What?  A followup isn’t free?  To check to see if your doctoring worked costs me how much money?  Wow!  We talked them into writing off the cost of the office visit.  But still!  What a crock!

Ok, I have to say this, IF this had been a doctor’s visit for me and the total cost had been $280 without insurance, this wouldn’t have been a bad deal.  I guess, because coming up with this much money in one lump sum is so difficult right now, this just seemed outrageous.

Anyway, Ziva didn’t do so well with her shots.   Within 20 minutes of getting them and just as we walked in the door to the house, she threw up.  And within another hour or so she really started acting strangely!  She seemed to be itching all over and especially between her toes.  She would jump up and start to run across the floor then suddenly stop and lick her paws or chew on her side.  And I could see fear in her pretty little eyes!  My poor baby suffered like this for several hours.  By bedtime, she had calmed down some.  Still had the itchies but was too fatigued to care.  She had no appetite and when she did eat she would throw up again.  I could tell she was running a fever too.  Not only did she put off more heat than usual, her ears were really pink.

By Saturday she was doing a little bit better.  Not itching so much.  Drinking more water and she was able to eat a little and keep it down.  But now she started shedding.  This little girl doesn’t shed much.  She’s an indoor cat, (mostly), and hasn’t had a need.  All of a sudden she’s shedding like mad!  Especially when she would scratch.  So, I wrote an email to the vet to explain her reactions.  And to let the clinic know how unhappy we were with them for not warning us that this could happen or what signs to watch out for should her reaction become a serious threat!  We also decided that we are going to change vets.  We need someone who is willing to explain everything to us especially the “why” they are doing something as well as the cost.  And someone who will respect my wishes that whatever we do for our pets, we do in an organic and holistic way.  I haven’t found that person yet, but I am looking.

Today I got a call from the vet.  She apologized for not warning us.  Her excuse was “Side effects are so rare we just forget to warn the parents!”  Hogwash!  Side effects are rare in children too but pediatrician are REQUIRED to warn the parents!

The moral of today’s rant is this, BEFORE you take your pet to the vet for their shots, research the shots and what is in them first.  ASK QUESTIONS!  What’s in it?  How will it affect my pet?  What signs to I watch for if they are having an adverse reaction?  Make sure you ask!

Another thing I have found out is that Rabies shots don’t have to be given on a yearly basis!  Just like the vaccines we give our children, pet vaccines also last several years.  One article I read said that the first rabies vaccine given to a pet can last 5 years.  Then the second one for 7 years.  So why then do our vets INSIST on vaccinating yearly?  What about the other vaccines?  Are they really necessary?

Then there is the government.  In the area where I live the ordinance only states that a dog must have a “current” rabies vaccination in order to receive a license.  They don’t define “current” and they don’t mention cats.  So, be aware of the risks.  Do your homework.  Ask questions.  And above all else, you have the right to say NO.  If your pet shows adverse symptoms after receiving their shots, don’t hesitate to tell the vet who gave them the shots.  Maybe even follow up with a letter to the manufacturer too.  The more we share what really happens, then maybe they’ll start to realize that these reactions aren’t as rare as they think they are!

Ok.  I”m done with my rant now!  Thanks for listening!