Categories: vaccinations

Feline vaccine overdose and pancreatitis

Is there a connection between feline vaccine overdose and pancreatitis? I’m told by veterinary experts that more than 90% of all pancreatitis cases in the cat have no identifiable cause.

In other words, veterinarians do not know what causes feline pancreatitis. That would seem to be a sorry state of affairs and one which should be rectified. There are a number of mysterious cat illnesses. I mean we don’t know what causes them. This got me thinking.

There is a lot of discussion about vaccinations and the risk and rewards that they bring. I researched the issue as to whether feline vaccine overdose could cause pancreatitis. I discovered that, unsurprisingly, veterinarians have conflicting ideas on the subject.

Dr Marcia’s blog usefully refers to studies conducted on humans which indicate a possible connection between vaccines and pancreatitis in dogs (and cats, I would presume). She makes the point that the pathology is very similar in cats, dogs and humans in terms of this subject.

Dr Marcia says that we used to blame high fat foods for pancreatitis in pets. She also says that there is an alarming increase in pancreatitis in cats and dogs. This occurs even when the pet is on a low-fat prescription diet.

Dr Marcia suggests, in her blog, that a common denominator is “recent or repeated vaccination”.

She states that in human research studies, “histamine release triggered during vaccination causes damage to the pancreas”. She states that she has not seen pancreatitis in a dog who has been “minimally vaccinated”.

She is not saying that there is a certain connection between cat and dog pancreatitis and over-vaccinating. She simply suggesting that there may be a connection and it should be looked into.

The comments to her online article are interesting because another veterinarian – a well-known veterinarian with an internet presence, Dr Paul Jaffe DVM – argues that what Dr Marcia is stating in her blog is dangerous because it undermines pet vaccination as a means of preventing disease.

Dr Jaffe gently criticises Dr Marcia for not presenting evidence-based medical arguments. He criticises her for going along with a gut feeling rather than being more scientific.

You can read Dr Marcia’s blog by clicking on this link. The discussion between two veterinarians is interesting. And I don’t think Dr Marcia is being anything other than genuinely concerned for animal welfare. It does show that more work needs to be done on the causes of feline pancreatitis.

In addition to the possible link between over-vaccinating and feline pancreatitis, it is argued that a high carb kibble diet may play a role in pancreatitis in cats and dogs.

Is there a pet health problem with pet owners stopping all vaccines because they are reading information on the internet which puts them off vaccinating their cats and dogs?

The truth of the matter is that more work is required on vaccinations and on their benefits and detriments but also we need to remind ourselves that vaccinations are about risk and reward. They do prevent illness but they also carry a risk of creating an illness themselves.

The general consensus is obvious: that vaccinations provide an overall benefit to feline and canine health otherwise they wouldn’t exist. But I have a hunch that over-vaccinating could be one of the unrecognized causes of a number of feline illnesses including feline pancreatitis.

Feline Pancreatitis: A frustrating disease – for both cats and their guardians

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • My cat had shots done 9 days ago. She was fine before that, but stopped eating and drinking a few days after. She was also very lethargic all of a sudden. After bringing her back to the vet, turns out she has pancreatitis. I find that odd and I find this article very interesting. It seems there is something to this.

    • Thank you Tania for sharing your story. It is certainly interesting. Unfortunately, I am not a veterinarian and therefore can't really add much more than what I have said in the article. It may be tricky but you might discuss the issue with your veterinarian. In fact I think you really must discuss it with your veterinarian. After all, pancreatitis is an illness which should not be taken lightly. I wish you and your cat the very best of luck and if you have the time I should be pleased if you would write a follow-up comment to tell me how you and your cat got along after your discussion with your veterinarian.

  • It's hard to know. Cats were treated like dogs in veterinary medicine for decades. Sometimes you get better answers by moving to human medicine and adverse reactions that are more likely to be reported.

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