|Purred: Sun Feb 26, '12 10:50am PST |
|I’m a little late here, but I want to say something about the discussion about kidney disease. I don’t competely agree with the idea that kidney disease is inevitable and simply the result of aging. I think age and genetics can be factors, but I now also believe that overvaccination, particularly of the common FVRCP (the “distemper” combo shot) is a big factor in cats developing kidney disease. I’m dealing with kidney issues with Gumpy now (still mild to moderate) and I’ve gotten clearer on the vaccine issue.
There is scientific evidence for this. Here’s a quote from littlebigcat.com, Dr. Jean Hofve’s site:
"Evidence is mounting that the common FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and paneleukopenia) vaccine may cause long-term damage to cats’ kidneys that increases with every booster. Here’s the report from Colorado State University:
The Center for Companion Animal Studies at Colorado State University has shown that cats vaccinated with FVRCP vaccines grown on Crandell-Rees Feline Kidney (CRFK) cell lines can develop antibodies to renal proteins, and that cats hypersensitized to CRFK cell lysates can develop interstitial nephritis…Cats administered FVRCP vaccines parenterally (by injection) have higher levels of circulating antibodies to these antigens than do cats who were administered a FVRCP vaccine for intranasal administration.
Similar antibodies have been implicated in the development of renal disease in humans, and there is every reason to suspect that they do the same in cats. Chronic renal failure (CRF), also called chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats is known to be caused by chronic interstitial nephritis, or inflammation of kidney tissue–the very thing that these vaccines cause."
Something to be aware of is that most vaccines have a much longer duration of immunity than the (even) every three years recommendation that is now the rec of the AAFP (no more than every three years is the current guideline). Most vaccines probably will provide lifelong immunity or much longer than three years. The top researcher in veterinary immunity, Dr. Ronald Schultz, confirms this and also says he only does one round of properly timed vaccines to his pets. Also panleukopenia (aka distemper) is a disease of young cats; older cats have natural immunity along with the immunity they receive with a round or two of vaccines (kitten vaccines need to be administered at the right time to be effective, and then it likely will provide very long immunity).
Here’s a link to a very informative video interview with Dr. Ronald Schultz .
I agree with Hanna, that you can’t always just trust what your vet says. You have to be a proactive and do your research on this and other topics. One of Gump’s previous “feline-only” vets gave him with booster vacs when he had a chronic disease and was a senior cat. His current vet feels that was “highly inappropriate”. Overall I’m not saying that cats shouldn’t be vaccinated, just that overvaccination is a big concern.
I know this is a controversial area and it can make people nervous to receive those post cards in the mail and to not go in every year for “shots”. It was confusing for me for a while, but I got clear on this issue and I feel comfortable with not doing any more booster shots - ESPECIALLY for an older cat (I may do titering for my younger cat). Rabies is a different story since it’s required by law, but there is a study going on right now to show that the duration of immunity of the rabies vaccine is at least seven years. Part of the reason for the study is to hopefully change the rabies laws to boosters being required every seven or at least every five years (see the Rabies Challenge Fund).
I think other factors can also affect kidney health. I think that chronic dehydration from dry food stresses the kidneys overtime, and urine acidifying additives in dry food also have an effect (most dry foods do have urine acidifiers in them). There is scientific evidence for urine acidifiers affecting kidney health (look at the article at the end of Max’s House Feline Nutrition for studies on this).
I also think that diseases like diabetes (which in most cases is related to diet) put additional stress on the kidneys, along with possibly medications which have to be processed by the kidneys (I believe most insulins contain preservatives which may also effect the kidneys over time).
One more point (sorry about the long post), I’m also concerned about overvaccination being a factor in other chronic diseases in cats, not just kidney disease. Hopefully there will be more studies and information about this in future, though studies are expensive and take time, and it also takes time to change standard practices, though more and more vets are thinking about the effects of overvaccination on pets.
I just wanted to share some thoughts on this topic of aging and kidney disease. I really don’t believe weakened kidneys are just due to aging. Perhaps cats can have longer lifespans; in the past humans had much shorter lifespans. Maybe if we stop overvaccinating, and feed better quality, more appropriate food, cats can live longer, healthier lives.
Purrs and best wishes...
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