Cat Vaccine Safety

Vaccine safety has become a very controversial topic in recent times. Cat vaccines are divided into two categories namely the core vaccines and the non-core vaccines. While core vaccines are administered to all pets, non-core vaccines are only administered to pets that are at risk of contracting specific diseases.

Types of Vaccines

Vaccines are available as modified live vaccines or killed vaccines. Killed vaccines aren’t as effective as modified live vaccines but they’re preferable for use in young pets or cats with weak immune systems. Live vaccines, on the other hand are very effective when administered to healthy pets. However several pet owners are becoming increasingly concerned over the safety of these vaccines because some pets actually develop the full blown form of the disease soon after they’ve been vaccinated. It’s thus important to work with the vet to determine which vaccines are best suited to your cat.

Safety of Vaccine

Modified live vaccines contain a certain quantity of virus that’s meant to trigger an immune system response. Although these vaccines are very effective, they shouldn’t be administered to cats suffering from FeLV or FIV. Killed vaccines on the other hand contain adjuvants that are known to cause Vaccine Associated Sarcomas (VAS) in cats. Pets that have been administered any killed vaccines need to be monitored and any signs or symptoms of illness have to be made known to the vet.


Pets suspected of VAS develop a small lump at the vaccination site. This condition has to be diagnosed promptly as these tumors are very aggressive. They’re known to quickly spread to surrounding areas of the body. VAS generally develop in pets that are administered the FeLV vaccine. Due to this, the vaccine is only given to pets that are at great risk of contracting the virus. Since the symptoms of the illness are far worse than the symptoms of sarcoma, it’s necessary to administer this vaccine to pets that stand a chance of contracting FeLV.

Side Effects of Vaccines

Each pet responds differently to medication and vaccinations. It’s thus difficult to predict the side effects experienced by each and every pet. However, the most common side effects include pain and redness at the injection site, reactions to vaccines and anaphylaxis. If your pet shows signs of severe vomiting and experiences seizures, it’s important to seek prompt medical help as it could be a life-threatening situation. The vet will have to give the cat epinephrine and supportive therapy to stabilize his condition. If you know that your cat is allergic to certain vaccines, you should make sure that you inform the vet of the same when you have to give your pet any booster shots.

Tips for Pet Owners

  • Avoid vaccinating the pet on your own. Instead have a licensed vet, vaccinate your cat.
  • Monitor your cat after he has been vaccinated and make note of any changes.
  • Take a look at the injection site and watch for any unusual lumps or bumps.
  • If the cat has a weak immune system, avoid administering too many vaccines because it exerts extra pressure on his immune system.

While it’s important to be aware of the adverse effects of vaccines, it’s equally important to administer all core vaccines to your cat. You will have to work with the vet to determine the best vaccination protocol and follow up with periodic vet checks to determine the overall condition of your cat’s health.