December 2010 Issue

Vaccinations: The Benefits and Risks

Some are extremely necessary to your cat’s health, but experts feel that some should be kept to a minimum. Here’s why.

During the past half-century, no fewer than 10 vaccines have been developed that, according to their manufacturers, can protect your cat against a wide variety of lethal feline diseases. In general, these claims of efficacy have been justified. According to Fred Scott, DVM, PhD, professor emeritus of virology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the founding director of the Cornell Feline Health Center, the vaccines have been responsible for "a tremendous improvement in feline health." A prime example is the vaccine created to protect against the feline panleukopenia virus (FPV). "Prior to the late 1960s and early 1970s," says Dr. Scott, "half of all cats that passed through a shelter developed panleukopenia within a few days — and as many as 90 percent of them died from it.

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