We Offering the Safest Vaccines. What Does This Mean?

This is a long explanation but an important one. Last year, Granville Veterinary Clinic has changed the type of vaccine we are giving to be the very best and safest!

The advent of vaccines in veterinary medicine has helped to prevent many deadly diseases and has also helped to allow our pets to have a longer, higher quality of life.  But, starting in the 1990s, several significant events occurred that began a revolution in both the practice of re-vaccination and how the vaccines themselves were produced.  The most significant event was likely the correlation between the administration of some vaccines and an increased risk of certain kinds of adverse reactions in cats.

These adverse incidents included chronic inflammation and the formation of small firm nodules known as sarcomas (fibroscaromas).  Previously dismissed as non-threatening, new information about these growths sparked intense debates and caused many veterinarians to re-think their vaccine protocols.   Numerous studies were initiated not only to determine how the vaccine might initiate the inflammatory process, but also how to best protect our pets from disease without adverse side effects.

Vaccines are designed to produce antibodies in our pets that, in turn, help to defeat disease-causing organisms such as viruses and bacteria.  Some of these vaccines use live viral particles that have been modified to reproduce in the body and cause immunity, but not cause disease.  Safely used in both humans and pets, modified live vaccines have had rare occurrences of reversion, meaning that the vaccine changed back to the original disease causing entity.   Other vaccines used “killed” or inactivated viruses.  These vaccines are generally very safe in that they cannot revert to a virulent form, but can generally only stimulate part of the immune system since they cannot reproduce in the body. The newly initiated studies implicated killed vaccines, such as rabies and feline leukemia virus, as having a higher risk for some vaccine associated adverse events.  Specifically, a chemical additive known as an adjuvant was tied to the increased risk of many of the vaccine reactions.  These include inflammation and formation of the granulomas at the injection site.  Adjuvants are an important component in improving the immune response to killed vaccines.  Ironically, the adjuvants may be responsible for some of the adverse reactions seen in pets.

After learning of the potential effects of adjuvants, veterinary scientists began a search for an effective vaccine that would protect the pet, but avoid the use of adjuvants.  Merial, a leading manufacturer of veterinary products, researchers were able to take small pieces of DNA from rabies virus and feline leukemia virus and insert the DNA into a canarypox virus which is a separate virus that does not cause disease in cats.   Known as a recombinant vaccine, this vector generates a strong immune response without the use of adjuvants.  Since recombinant vaccines are not made with the disease-causing organism itself, there is no chance of causing the disease we are trying to prevent.  However, the DNA of the original virus still results in excellent protection from disease.

An additional benefit to the canarypox vector vaccines is that shedding of live viral particles is eliminated, making the vaccine especially attractive to humane organizations and shelter situations.   These vaccines are also very good at over-riding the natural antibody protection that puppies and kittens receive from their mom, increasing the likelihood that they will generate a strong immune response on their own.   This response is very helpful in preventing disease transmission in the high-density shelter populations.

What does all this mean?

  • Science improves our lives but can be confusing and complex.  GVC researched vaccine protocols to determine what is the most effective and safest and recommend the use of Recombinant Vaccines in cats.
  • The risk of a deadly cancer (Feline Fibrosarcoma [FSA]) induced by a vaccine) is 2-4 in 10,000. Risk is relatively low unless it is your pet
  • The PureVax vaccine is guaranteed. If a problem does occur, the vaccine manufacturer will pay for treatment.
  • Additional cost of using a recombinant vaccine over the old-style vaccines is approximately $80 over a 5-year vaccine regimen. The cost over the lifetime of a cat is approximately $240.
  • The cost of treating a cat with a vaccine associated FSA is $6,000-$10,000 with a guarded prognosis and shorter life expectancy or death.
  • OSU recommends, uses and teaches students to only give recombinant vaccines.
  • The ONLY reason not to do recombinant vaccines in a cat is cost.
  • Granville Veterinary Clinic is absorbing part of the cost of the vaccine to make it more affordable and provide the most effective and safest vaccine technology to our cat patients.
  • Cats get same number of shots if they do 3-year rabies or yearly rabies with any vaccines (7 shots).

We feel it is our duty at the GVC to offer the very best, safest and most effective vaccines to our clients to help them protect their beloved cats.