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Dr. Christy
Dr. Christy, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
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Experience:  12 years clinical experience with a passion in small mammals and internal medicine.
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My cat was given vaccines (FVRCP, rabies, leukemia) and it

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My cat was given vaccines (FVRCP, rabies, leukemia) and it now turns out she was pregnant when she got them. (The vet actually knew this was a possibility, but since she was not obviously pregnant, [all she did was feel her belly], she went ahead with the vaccines...) My question is, is there any chance these kittens (now 4-5 weeks pregnant) will be okay, or could lead some kind of salvageable life, or should we definitely abort? Also, is it common practice for a vet to give vaccines to a possibly pregnant cat? (She was a stray one week before, and I told the vet she might have been seen MATING) Wouldn't it be a good idea to give an ultrasound, or wait to see in a few weeks?? Or at least tell us of the risk? Am I right to be a little confused and upset why this happened? These last weeks, while waiting for her to get her next shots so she could be spayed, I could tell she was pregnant, and we decided to keep one. Now we have to abort them, at this late stage?? This was at the SPCA.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Christy replied 5 years ago.
HelloCustomer
I am very sorry to hear about this difficult situation. These situations are each handled individually with the pros and cons evaluated for each situation. I would say that it is not common practice to vaccinate pregnant queens. If vaccine benefits outweigh the risks - like in a distemper outbreak.

Here's what the 2006 AAFP Feline Vaccinations Guidelines say:

"Unless specifically stated on the label, vaccines are not evaluated by manufacturers for safe use in pregnant queens, and routine vaccination of pregnant cats should be avoided. However, the benefits of vaccinating a pregnant queen may outweigh the risks in some circumstances (eg, catteries with endemic URD). If vaccination is determined to be essential, use of killed agent vaccines may be preferable."

 

It is possible that your vet chose to use killed vaccines which are safe in pregnancy. Most clinics do not routinely carry these products but perhaps the spca does. If a modified-live vaccine was used there is certainly some possibility of abortion or birth defects.

 

I am not sure why your veterinarian did not discuss the situation with you - I certainly would have as well as give you options.

As to whether or not you decide to abort the kittens, that is a very emotional decision and I think it is essential to know if the queen was given safe or potentially harmful vaccines. Please let me know if this fully answers your questions.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for your response. (I will accept your response, I just want a little more onfo.) I am pro-choice in general, but this is late in the term. The vet is saying the only option is to abort, I just want to know if that is true. (So I assume the vaccine was live.) Could these kittens be "okay"? Is it just a high risk, or would they definitely be severely challenged? I am almost certainly going to get the abortion. There are too many cats out there to bring in another litter, let alone one with severe brain damage. I just wanted a second opinion about the severity of the deformity.

 

I see no good reason why they should have vaccinated her before determining if she was pregnant. She is the only cat in our house, and we are keeping her inside, at least until she is spayed. They were told she could be recently pregnant. Mainly I'm just upset that the vet took such a risk, and did not bother to inform us. Couldn't they also have gotten her in for spaying asap, instead of waiting three weeks for more vaccinations while her now deformed kittens grow?

 

I'm just trying to make the best decision, and I'm not 100% sure I trust the judgement of this vet. (Actually the SPCA)

 

Thanks.

Expert:  Dr. Christy replied 5 years ago.
I understand your frustration, sadness, and anger in this situation. I would say that the situation is a high risk situation - not a for certain deformity. I feel just awful about the tough decision that you have to make. I would want to be certain that if we allow the pregnancy to continue that we have homes ready to accept cats with possible brain damage. I regrettably agree that the best decision is to spay the queen and terminate the pregnancy - but that choice is certainly yours to make.

The brain damage is called cerebellar hypoplasia and the kittens would lack fine motor control and balance - this is associated with the fvrcp vaccine.

I am unfortunately not going to be able to justify the choice to vaccinate the queen - that is not the decision I would have made. I think that I may look into finding a new veterinarian that I trust. Good luck.
Dr. Christy, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 298
Experience: 12 years clinical experience with a passion in small mammals and internal medicine.
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