I'm not a vet ... but I'm a good friend of Dr Richard Ford (emeritus, NC State) who is one of the co-authors of the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines. He is renown and respected as an expert in vaccinology ... and is also known as an infectious disease expert.
I've heard multiple vet CE talks by Dr Ford and others ... and have spoken often with Dr Ford. All would answer your question with a YES!
The vaccine for Parvovirus (any company ... all are modified live virus vaccines) is VERY good ... and in the vast majority of dogs, once vaccinated as an adult ... it is considered protective for at least 7 years and most feel that the majority of dogs are protected for life. The current 2011 AAHA Vaccination Guidelines recommend booster vaccinations (after the initial 1-yr booster) be given every "3 or more years" ... just in case some dogs may not respond well.
BUT long-term immunity is assuming that they responded to the vaccine. There have always been a minority of dogs that are known as "non-responders" ... who simply will not respond immunologically to a vaccine, no matter how many times it is given. Vaccines are not "drugs" ... they are "biological products" ... hence are not licensed by the FDA, but by the US Department of Agriculture, Center for Veterinary Biologics (USDA-CVB). The point being, that an individual dog's genetics can determine how it responds to the injection of a biological product. It is unknown why some dogs simply do not respond to a particular vaccine antigen. The dog may have an immunological response to other antigens (e.g. Adnovirus, Distemper, etc) but just not to one antigen (e.g. parvovirus).
If one wants to know if their dog responded to a parvovirus vaccine, a titer test can be done about 2 or more weeks post vaccination to look for an antibody response. Antibodies do not indicate protection for all diseases ... BUT they are a good indication of protective immunity for parvovirus (or panleukopenia in cats, which is a parvovirus).
One final note ... there are several strains and variants of parvovirus. There has been some concern among veterinarians about the newer Parvovirus 2c variant... BUT tests have shown that all of the current parvovirus vaccines will protect for parvovirus 2a, 2b AND 2c.
Bottom line ... parvovirus vaccines are very good vaccines, BUT no vaccine protects 100% of all dogs ... and some dogs are simply, biologically, "non-responders".
I'm not a vet and don't have personal experience with Parvo. But I like to listen to talks given by experts at veterinary conferences and try to learn what I can. What you are describing doesn't sound like Parvo to me. I believe Parvo usually involves both bloody diarrhea and much vomiting. You say your dog still wants to eat and is playful which wouldn't be usual for parvovirus. Also, you mention that the diarrhea started last week. If it were parvo, I would expect that your dog would not be eating and be extremely sick by now ... and would have to have veterinary care (IV fluids, etc).
There are many causes of diarrhea, if that is the only/primary symptom. It could be something in his diet or be the result of worms or other intestinal parasites, etc. If the diarrhea hasn't improved, perhaps you have a friend or family member who could help pay for a vet check and fecal test. Perhaps all he needs is to be wormed or have some antibiotics. You also want to be careful that he doesn't get dehydrated from the diarrhea.
Parvovirus is transmitted by fecal-oral route. So, when walking your dog, avoid contact with poop (especially diarrhea) from other dogs.
No, you and your children cannot get parvovirus from your dog. Most viruses are species specific. It is true that the canine parvovirus and feline parvovirus (also called "panleukopenia") are very closely related and cats can become infected by the canine parvovirus (though the canine strain doesn't make cats as sick as panleukopenia). But humans do not get either the canine or feline forms of parvovirus.
If you are talking about the core vaccines: Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus ... then, no, you do not need to revaccinate prior to the three year period. All of those vaccines are Modified Live Virus vaccines (MLV) and a single dose to an adult dog, even if never vaccinated before, will produce protective immunity (i.e. for most dogs, there are always a few dogs that are "non-responders" and there is never a 100% guarantee of protection with any vaccine).
With Rabies, future boosters are determined by what the vaccine is licensed for ... and state/local legal requirements. Most states and municipalities accept what the rabies vaccine is labeled for. So, if using a "1-year" vaccine, then you would need to booster in a year. If using a 3-year rabies vaccine, then you don't need to booster before three years.
One question may be what the dog's previous vaccination history was and how old at the last vaccine (4 years ago). Was the dog an adult four years ago ... or was that just part of the puppy series? It is generally recommended that after the puppy series (for which the last vaccination should be given at 14-16 weeks of age), all the core vaccines should be boostered "no later than" 1 year after the last puppy series ... THEN you can go to a three-year booster protocol. The experts like to have that first booster once the dog becomes an adult (with a fully mature immune system) to get a good response, and then go to the longer booster intervals.
If your dog didn't have that first booster, no later than 1 year after the last puppy series ... and it has been four years since the initial puppy series ... then some vets might want to give a two dose series now. Immunologically, it isn't necessary, but some (many) vets may feel more confident with a two dose series (given at least 2 weeks apart and before 6 weeks). For adult dogs that have never been vaccinated before ... most vets will give a two dose series, even though immunologically, one dose of the core vaccines is all that is needed since they are all MLV vaccines.
But if the dog has been previously vaccinated, particularly if that last vaccination was as an adult ... then, no matter how many years go by before the next booster, only a single vaccination is needed and you can wait at least three years for another booster.
In reality, once vaccinated as an adult with the core vaccines, immunologists feel that most dogs are immune for life, particularly for parvovirus. Many vaccine manufacturers have "duration of immunity" studies that show protection for "at least" 5-7 years. But vets and the experts still tend to recommend boosters every 3 years just to protect the occasional dog that may not have responded well to a previous vaccination.
The one exception is always Rabies ... for which you must follow local legal requirements ... most of which follow whatever the rabies vaccine is "labeled" for ... either 1-year or 3-years.
I also highly recommend an article on Overdue Vaccinations by Dr Richard Ford (a co-author of the AAHA Guidelines) in the Nov/Dec issue of Today's Veterinary Practice. Much of my above info came from it. I admit my bias, he is a good friend of mine and my mentor, but he is also considered a vaccine guru by his peers and highly respected as one of the top experts on vaccination protocols. Here is a link to his article on overdue vaccinations (one of an on-going series on vaccination questions) http://www.todaysveterinarypractice.com/article.asp?articleid=T1211F03#article
Hope that helps.
Stephanie in Montreal (soon to be Raleigh, NC)View Thread
The term "declaw" is misleading. As Rohvannyn pointed out, it is not the removal of the nails but rather the amputation of the toes at the first joint. It is like amputating all of your fingers at the first joint. As you can imagine, it is extremely painful, particularly since cats have to put weight on the newly amputated toes in order to walk.
With your cat hiding and not eating, it is likely that she still has a lot of pain from both the declaw and spay surgery. I would call and let your vet know. She probably needs more or stronger pain medication for a while. If you can get the pain under control, that may take care of her not wanting to eat.
Rohvannyn is also right that you don't want her to go too long without food or water. Again, talk to your vet for suggestions. If she has a favorite treat, you can try that. Otherwise your vet might want you to assist her by using your finger or a needle-less syringe and putting a little food in her mouth. But I suspect that her lack of appetite is the result of pain from the declaw as well as from the spay surgery.
It is also recommended, as Rohvannyn mentioned to use a soft litter like shredded paper for a while. Regular litter could hurt her painful feet and cause a litterbox avoidance because cats tend to associate pain with location. If it hurts to use the litterbox, she might try to go someplace else.
Some cats recover well from declaw surgery and others have a more difficult time. Claws are natural for cats and their first line of defense, so it may take her a while to adjust to not having them. Be patient and give her lots of love and understanding. Good Luck.
My condolences on the loss of your kitty. Many of us have gone through it and know the pain and grief.
The cancer caused by vaccinations (or other injections) is usually a fibrosarcoma and is seen at the site of the vaccination. So, it is unlikely that bladder cancer is a result of a vaccination, unless the vaccination was given near the bladder, which I doubt happened.
A little on the Vaccine Associated Sarcomas (VAS) which are also called Feline Injection Site Sarcomas (FISS).
The problem is not the vaccine itself but rather chronic inflammation that is caused by the vaccination. Some cats have a genetic predisposition which causes the immune system to react to the inflammation in a way that results in a mutation to the P53 gene. The P53 gene is a "tumor suppressor" gene. When it mutates, it no longer suppresses cell reproduction and cancer develops. So, two things are needed for a VAS:
1) Inflammation (particularly long term chronic inflammation) 2) genetic predisposition (which results in a mutation of the P53 gene that allows tumor growth)
A fibrosarcoma (cancer) may occur as a result of any inflammation, not just that caused by vaccinations. Thus, the experts are now starting to prefer to use the term Feline Injection Site Sarcoma (FISS). It has been seen after injections of long acting steroids, antibiotics, insulin and even just subcutaneous fluids. Some cats are so sensitive that any inflammation can cause it ... even things other than injection. It has been seen as a result of inflammation caused by eye trauma, or sutures, or even when a vet accidentally left a piece of gauze in at a surgery.
But vaccines, particularly the Rabies and Feline Leukemia vaccines are most implicated because most of them are Killed Virus (KV, also called "inactivated") vaccines. That means that the vaccine is made by taking either rabies or FeLV and killing the virus and injecting it. But the immune system is smart enough to know that the virus is dead and not a threat, so it doesn't respond. So, they have to add a chemical to the vaccine called an adjuvant, often (but not always) aluminum. The whole purpose of the adjuvant is to create inflammation at the vaccination site and hold the vaccine there. The inflammation is like holding a sign up to the immune system and telling it to come here and respond. There have been studies to show that the inflammation caused by KV vaccines lasts for months and likely years. A fibrosarcoma has developed as long as 9 to 11 years after the last vaccination. But the cancer occurs under the skin at the vaccination site.
It is true that it is a rare cancer ... estimated at between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 10,000 vaccinations. But that still translates into thousands of cats each year in the US. We don't know what cats have the genetic predisposition, so it is wise to avoid using adjuvanted KV vaccines.
There is one alternative type of vaccine for both rabies and FeLV vaccines that are not adjuvanted. They are the recombinant vaccines that are made by a company called Merial in their Purevax line. They are made by taking just a small piece of DNA from rabies or FeLV and inserting it in a carrier virus, i.e. the canarypox, which is a bird virus that is not able to replicate in mammals. They are very good vaccines and produce very little inflammation that is gone within a couple days. The only draw back is the rRabies is licensed as a 1-yr vaccine and has to be boostered annually.
For the other "core" vaccines (Panleukopenia, Herpes, Calici) it is recommended that a Modified Live Virus vaccine be used. They give better protection and do not have any adjuvant ... and very little inflammation.
All that said, I don't think a vaccination would cause bladder cancer. The cancer caused by vaccines (and other inflammation) is usually a lump under the skin at the site of the vaccination.
How old are your "older" cats? It would probably be a good idea to do a full "senior" blood panel which would include checking their thyroid values (T4). A blood pressure check might also be a good idea because hypertension (high blood pressure) can also cause heart disease ... though getting an accurate blood pressure reading on cats is tricky.
I would also want to pursue what is causing your female to be "unsteady and losing her balance". That could be something else going on as well.
The only way to know what is causing the heart murmur is by doing an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) ... preferably by a cardiologist (which is expensive) or at least by an experienced Internal Medicine or Feline Specialist. Some causes of a heart murmur are no problem ... but the concern is to check for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which is a genetic disease that often doesn't develop until middle age or later. It causes a thickening of the left ventricle of the heart which thickens inward so that the space in the ventricle becomes small and difficult to pump the blood out. It is a progressive disease, though the rate of progression is extremely variable ... so that in some cats it never becomes a health factor, though in others it can lead to heart failure and death. Are your cats related? HCM is generally considered a genetic disease, so related cats have a higher risk if one of the parents has the gene.
I don't know that HCM is a factor with your cats. But if you want to learn more about it, I highly recommend a website that was done with the help of Dr Mark Kittleson (of UC Davis) who is THE authority on feline HCM. He retired last year but spent most of his career researching HCM. This website was written for pet owners and gives info from the top expert, explained so that non-professionals can understand. Here is the website address: http://mysite.verizon.net/jachinitz/hcm/index.html
If there is thickening of the heart that is secondary to hyperthyroidism or hypertension ... then, when those conditions are treated, the heart will usually return to normal.
Your vet will guide you on what to do and when. But it is probably a good idea to follow up on the heart murmurs ... and also the balance problem your one cat has.
Sorry to hear about your kitty. Unfortunately, I think many people get mislead by the term "declaw" which sounds like it is a simple removal of a nail. But in reality, it is an amputation ... the equivalent of amputating all your toes and/or fingers at the first knuckle. Plus, a cat is being asked to walk on newly amputated toes, putting weight on painful wounds.
Needless to say, it is an extremely painful procedure. I think my first question would be whether your vet has given you pain medication for your cat. If so, it might need to be increased or a different pain medication given ... and if none has been given, she likely needs some.
It is common for recently declawed cats to not want to use the litterbox ... because the grainy litter is painful to their paws. Most vets suggest using newspaper for litter for a while ... either shredding it or getting some paper litter at a pet store.
If she hasn't eaten or had anything to drink in several days ... that can be very dangerous for a cat. Cats don't handle a lack of food well and it can lead to very serious (life threatening) liver disease called hepatic lipidosis ("fatty liver" disease) particularly if she is overweight at all. Also, if she hasn't been drinking for several days, she is likely dehydrated.
I think your vet should see her so that she can evaluate her overall health, and may want to take a blood test to check liver values, etc. If your vet doesn't want to do that, you may want to get a second opinion at another vet.
She will likely recover okay from the declaw, but she has to eat and drink ... soon! She might need a feeding tube if she continues to refuse food and water. If she is on medication (antibiotics or pain medication) it may be that they are causing some tummy upset or nausea, so that she doesn't want to eat. If your vet feels that might be part of the problem, it would be another reason to change medication.
Try not to beat yourself up over this. You obviously had no idea what the surgery would involve. What is important is to learn from it and do what you can for your cat. You obviously love her and she knows that.
I hope all goes well. If she is still not eating or drinking, you need to have a vet check her. Dehydration and effects of not eating may be her greatest immediate problem ... along with some pain medication if she doesn't have some now. Good luck.
Sorry, I know I get wordy when trying to share info ... and wanted to just add a little more info for you.
First, I need to let you know that I'm not a vet and have no credentials. But my "hobby" is listening to talks given at vet CE conferences by some of the top experts. Over the past 5 years, I've become friends with Dr Richard Ford, now emeritus at NC State (ranked the 3rd best vet school in the US) who has also become my mentor and feels I have a good grasp of vaccine issues. Dr Ford is an Infectious Disease expert and known internationally as a guru of vaccines and vaccination protocols. He is a co-author of both the official 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines and the AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines (just updated and due to be published at any time now ... he also helped write the previous version in 2006). So, all that is to say, I'm not a vet but I am trying to share info from one of the top experts on feline (and canine) vaccinations.
Dr Ford and most of the experts feels VERY strongly that cats should never receive adjuvanted vaccines (i.e. never receive killed virus/inactivated vaccines).
That said, there are also a couple specialists who disagree ... such as Dr Mike Lappin of Colorado State and Dr Gary Norsworthy, a feline specialist in Texas. They put the emphasis on the genetic component and say that if a cat has the genetic susceptibility, it can form a VAS after ANY injection ... and actually anything that causes inflammation.
While they are correct that some cats develop a sarcoma from any type of inflammation ... the fact is that adjuvants used in KV vaccines are intended to cause chronic inflammation. Cats have received injections for many years. But it was only after KV vaccines for rabies and FeLV began to be used in the mid 1980s that vets suddenly saw a major increase in the cases of VAS in cats.
Cats can also develop a Vaccine Associated Sarcoma up to 9 years after the last vaccination. So, just because a cat doesn't develop one immediately after a KV vaccine, it could do so years later.
On the other hand, VAS is still relatively rare ... with estimates of anywhere from 1 in 1,000 vaccinations to 1 in 10,000 vaccinations. But if it is your cat, that's still too many.
The AVMA formed a VAS Task Force in the 1990s. All they could do (since recombinant vaccines didn't exist at the time) was to suggest sites for vaccinations ... which were:
-- Rabies in the Right hind leg -- FeLV in the left hind leg
Both as low on the leg as possible (below the knee).
Why? So that if a cancer develops, one can cut off their leg and try to save their life. Dr Ford's point is that is not something we should settle for. Why use an adjuvanted KV vaccine and give it where you can cut off their leg if they develop cancer? Why not use a less inflammatory vaccine (i.e. recombinant) and reduce the risk of a sarcoma?
The AVMA VAS Task Force also came up with a 1-2-3 Rule to help determine when to biopsy a lump at the vaccination site:
biopsy any lump that is ... 1. still growing after 1 month 2. more than 2 cm in size 3. still exists after 3 months
So, this is the choice every pet owner has to make ... and should discuss with their vet. I also have a cat that HATES going to the vet. But I also choose to use an annual vaccine that is not adjuanted (the recombinant rabies) rather than a 3-yr vaccine that is adjuvanted.
As for the other core vaccines (herpes, calici, panleukopenia) all modified live vaccines for them are good for AT LEAST 3 years and likely longer. After the first adult booster, the panleukopenia portion is thought to be protective FOR LIFE (though they still recommend boosters every 3 years).
Most of the non-core vaccines do require annual boosters (e.g. chlamydophila, bordetella, FIV, FeLV). Use of them depends on risk of exposure that your vet can discuss with you.
Hope this gives you (or others) something to think about and discuss with your vet.
Unfortunately, the choice of rabies vaccine for cats isn't that easy ... at least for now.
For cats there are two types of rabies vaccines: 1. Killed Virus (also called "inactivated") 2. Recombinant
The problem that comes up with feline vaccines is that some cats develop a very aggressive type of cancer at the vaccination site ... called a fibrosarcoma. They have been called more specifically "Vaccine Associated Sarcomas" (VAS) but the experts seem to be changing the terminology to "Feline Injection Site Sarcoma" (FISS) since they "can" develop after other types of injections as well.
Research has shown that the problem revolves around how the cat's immune system responds to chronic inflammation. What happens is that a mutation occurs to the "p53 gene". The p53 gene is a tumor suppressor gene. When it mutates, it allows tumor growth, i.e. a fibrosarcoma (and occasionally other types of cancer).
The two elements required for a VAS/FISS to develop are: 1. inflammation (particularly chronic inflammation) 2. a genetic predisposition that results in a mutation to the p53 gene in the inflammation
How does this effect vaccination choice?
Killed Virus (inactivated) vaccines are made using a dead virus (e.g. dead rabies). But the immune system knows that something dead is not a threat. So, in order to get the immune system to respond, they MUST use a chemical additive, often aluminum, called an "adjuvant". The whole purpose of an adjuvant is to hold the vaccine at the vaccination site and create INFLAMMATION ... and studies have shown that it is a chronic inflammation that can last months (and likely years).
The other option for rabies vaccines for cats (not for dogs) is the recombinant rabies vaccine (designated as "rRabies"). A recombinant vaccine is made by taking ONLY the small piece of DNA (not the entire virus ... so rabies is not present in the vaccine) that is needed to produce a protein that triggers the immune system to develop antibodies that will protect the cat from rabies. Injecting just that piece of DNA won't work ... so the DNA is inserted (i.e. "recombined" ... hence "recombinant" vaccines) with a carrier virus (known as a "vector"). For the feline rRabies vaccine, the small piece of rabies DNA is inserted into the Canarypox vaccine (vector). Canarypox is a bird virus and cannot reproduce in mammals, so there is no danger of giving a cat "canarypox" disease. But when it tries to replicate, the canarypox breaks apart and delivers that piece of rabies DNA which produces immunity to rabies. It is a very good vaccine that gives very good protection.
What is important, is that the recombinant rabies vaccine does NOT contain any adjuvant and produces very little inflammation that only lasts a couple days.
A recently published statistical study by Dr Phil Kass of UC Davis (who is highly respected) concluded that cats given a recombinant vaccine have a significantly lesser risk of developing a VAS than cats given a Killed Virus rabies vaccine.
Okay, back to the issue of using a 3 year rabies vaccine. ALL licensed 3-year rabies vaccines are ADJUVANTED Killed Virus vaccines ... which increase the risk of a VAS.
The recombinant rabies vaccine is only licensed for 1 year (must be boostered annually) but has NO ADJUVANT and reduces the risk of a VAS.
So here is the dilemma ... vaccinate only every 3 years but use an adjuvanted KV vaccine that increases the risk of an aggressive and lethal cancer.
Or, use a recombinant vaccine that must be boostered every year, but reduces the risk of cancer.
Every vet school in the US and the majority of vaccine experts choose to use only non-adjuvanted vaccines (i.e. they only use the rRabies).
The frustrating thing is that there is a new study in Europe by Merial (which makes the only rRabies vaccine) that shows it protects for at least 3 years ... but it is only licensed in the US for 1 year. Thus the dilemma.