Okay, from all the studies that I've seen on here, I know for sure I'm never going to take the risk of annual vaccinations. The main problem is... I'm not sure if I want to vaccinate at all yet. Raiju's almost 8 months old now, and I feel like now is about the time that I should consider getting him his distemper/rabies, but I'm still very uncertain about it. I'm so afraid of him getting a bad reaction to a distemper vaccine that it makes me not want to get it for him at all, ever.
I don't want me being afraid of the vaccine to limit what he can and can't do outside, though. I still want to be able to take him to parks, and to play in the backyard and dig. I've never heard of any distemper outbreaks in my state/area (New orleans, Louisiana) so I'm not even sure there's much of a risk from letting him play around even though he's not vaccinated. ((I'm also not even sure that being vaccinated would really help if he came in contact with distemper, either. I've read a few mixed things on how effective they are in the first place.))
I know that the rabies vaccine is required at 1 years old, here, and I have no problem doing that since I haven't heard anything bad about the rabies vaccines yet, but I'm still so undecided on distemper. I'm terrified that he'll get hurt either way.
So, for those of you who do maybe one or two sets of vaccinations, or do none at all, can you give me any advice? What was it that made your decision sway either way?
I'm probably the worst to ask. I don't vaccinate (well except to import...you have to then)No one can actually answer this one except you. Do your research. I studied for about a year (on anti-vaccine lists and forums) My guys are not confined to house, they go outside. I take them places, they go to the vet's (probably the riskiest place you can take your fuzz) I live in the country. Like many these days who question the whole vaccinate yearly or how ever many times is required I started asking myself why years ago. We were seeing auto-immune diseases in dogs, cancers in cats that only appeared after vaccinations. When I got into ferrets the horrible reactions are scary...but then so is the disease. The idea is to understand what and why you're vaccinating. We've gone vaccination crazy these days...why? The why is because we don't understand what a vaccine does and the medical community doesn't help with this. What is a vaccine? If you can answer that you're far closer to making a correct decision. A vaccine introduces to the body a dead (some are live)bacteria or virus. Why? So the body will be able to mount a defence against that virus much sooner than later. If it encounter it in the real world. It's really simple. Where it becomes complicated or the waters get muddied is that vaccines are touted as a cure. They're not. If you get the distemper vaccine will it stop your pet from getting distemper. NO!!! Absolutely not. If your ferret encounters the distemper virus (and it's virulent) your ferret will get distemper, vaccinated or not. There are no questions about it. With the vaccine your ferret stands a better chance of surviving the attack....about a 10 percent survival rate. There are a ton of different factors that come into play about the surviving but lets just say usually euthanasia happens anyway. Distemper causes neurological damage, permanent damage to the survivors. Most are so damaged that surviving wasn't worth the trip. Very, very few ever really survive. So, why vaccinate....you vaccinate for that 10 percent chance and because rabies is law (at least in most states...some seemingly when you look closely are not). Do your homework, weigh your risks...weigh what you're comfortable with because that's the ultimate challenge. I figure ferrets have such lousy immunities anyway and my chance of running into distemper low and even if I did I would loose my whole business anyway. If you've already vaccinated and are questioning getting that back up, question why....you cannot boost the immunity. It either recognises the virus or it doesn't. If you've given a vaccine, and you run a titer 5 months down the road and there's nothing...don't vaccinate again. Why? Because that animal doesn't and will never recognise the virus anyway. If there is a titer even a very low one (it just means it's never been challenged) your little ones are as safe as their immunities will allow them to be. ciao
Hi I am with heather on this one but I must confess my working ferrets get one and only one distemper vaccine in there lives ( simply because I work them on land that has a lot of dogs and wild foxs and such ) as heather has stated it will give them a tiny chance but thats it vets sell these as a now there protected but there not in england vets now only give it every 3 years to ferrets ( well mine does ) we are lucky we dont have rabies so that is not the issue I treat my dogs the same way they get one shot and one booster in there lives and thats it ( a neighbours mothers dog died of parvo even though it was fully up to date on all vaccines! ) vets like us to think there fully protected if only that were true once its in there the ferret hasn't used it so why add more and more until the body goes into over load? and the ferret crashes the choice has to be yours hope this helps take care bye for now Bev
I do vaccinate for both. Once, at about 5-6 months of age.That gives time for maternal antibodies to wear off. I used to also give a booster one year later, but have since decided against it after seeing studies about immunities lasting 3-7 years. However- no stranger is allowed to handle my ferrets. And distemper hasn't been a problem here for a while. While rabies is technically the law, given that no one is allowed to handle them I'm not overly worried.
Ferrets: Contessa Kitties: Watson, Oskar DIP Sinnead, Vincent, Boris, Zeus and Athena, Willow, Mr. Frodo, Indie, Lucrezia, Judge, Odin, Miss Emily, Suki, Cody, Aristotle, Butterscotch, Frankenfurter. RIP Herne, Ligeia, and Mr. Stubbs
Ojo is fully vaccinated against distemper and rabies. first distemper, wait 2 weeks, rabies shot, wait another 2 weeks, then final distemper shot. Ojo got the final of the series, was kept at my vet's office for an hour (my vet holds onto animals for an hour after vaccinations to ensure no reaction) My vet however was running a bit late, so by the time I got back to pick Ojo up he was only held for 45 minutes. I had even given extra time too. She said he would be fine, as he hadn't reacted yet.
Anyways, I take him in the carrier out to the car and sure enough he starts coughing, and coughing. Then throwing up, and having difficult breathing. I immediately ran him back inside. I was in tears because I was so afraid for him. I also live about 45 mins to an hour away from my chosen vet so I couldn't even imagine getting half way home and having to turn around and deal with that.
Pickle my second Ferret has his first distemper and rabies. I could not bring myself to bring him in for the last of the series. Not to fear monger, but I will admit I was terrified.
Now I have Penwyn, Mittens and Mayvis - Penwyn a year now, Mittens around 8 months and Mayvis around 5 months. I have not brought any of them in for shots. The only "shots" they have is whatever the farms gave them. I have been doing a ton of research, but I honestly just do not want to bring them in. I don't care about costs, they will always get the medical care they need, but after dealing with what I dealt with for Ojo, I don't want to risk it.
Strangers do not come into contact with my bears. The only people who do see them are my sisters, but even then is few and far between and my bestie. I have taken them into my backyard, but I don't plan on taking them to a park or anything like that. It just seems like a recipe for disaster for me.
I got Javik vaccinated a little over a week ago, but that's the last vaccination he will get, and I likely won't vaccinate any other ferrets in my future unless a Rabies shot is required in my area or for travel or something. I honestly do feel like most vaccinations are not worth the risk. As Heather said, vaccinations don't prevent disease, they just give the body a slightly better chance to fight it off, but with distemper there's very little chance of survival even with the vaccination so I see it pointless. I did give rabies because my house and myself get exposed to a lot of dogs and my cat is an outdoor cat. Plus, I do have company over a lot and people always want to see him, so for their safety and his, he did get vaccinations, as do the rest of my pets, but they only get it once every 3-5 years (except for my parents' puppy as he is part pit and although he doesn't bite, I guess it's pretty much manditory). I think overvaccination, even in humans, is just as dangerous and risky as not getting vaccinated at all.
I've gotten most of mine vaccinated with distemper and rabies after 6 months old, and that will be the only time they will be vaccinated. I still have 1 more to go on rabies and 2 more on distemper, but I'm unemployed right now and can't do it.
Out of the ones I've done, 2 have had reactions to vaccines- one to distemper, one to rabies. Both pulled through alright with a steroid injection but it was scary indeed. A third ferret of mine doesn't vaccinate well- the injection always makes one of her bag legs go numb for a while. I do occasionally come into contact with other ferrets, or my ferrets do so I try and protect them if I can.
WOW, I just learned a lot here, I thought that vaccinating them with the distemper vaccine was a preventative, I guess not, thank you for all the input. I have always vaccinated my ferrets with both distemper & rabies, but this is making me really rethink if I want to vaccinate Sanuk with the distemper vaccine. I may just do the Rabies & call it good. (dance)
There is one thing to consider and I'm not saying anyone is doing this or making a decision in this manner, here. It was something we encountered on the raw ferret list years ago and that was people making a blind decision to "not" vaccinate for financial reasons. Vaccinating is expensive but you should never base your decision on cutting vet costs. I've often suggested to people that if they're fence sitting about this whether to vaccine or not is to titer to see if there is any immune response. This is a very costly process and unless you totally understand the process you won't be able to make an educated decision on the results. The decision based on a purely financial reasons (cutting corners)will cost you far more in the end. The cost to fight any of these diseases both financially and mentally is huge. I spent a year on an anti-vaccine forum. I saw the costs that were encountered fighting these diseases and I also saw the devastating results when they didn't work. I also saw the huge numbers of vaccination failures. Once one realizes that a vaccine is neither a preventative, nor a cure then you will understand it offers a possible "fighting" chance. You then can weigh it against it's costs. With any vaccine there is the risk of a hyper-immune response. Unfortunately, ferrets seem to be very sensitive to the distemper vaccine. Chances are if you were to run a titer on a ferret who has had a reaction to it's vaccine, there will be a zero response, meaning that your ferret has as much of a chance of getting the disease as a ferret who's never been vaccinated. If you're going to vaccinate, for your own peace of mind, wait until the ferret is about 6 months or older to make sure that the mother's antibodies are not going to mess up the immune response of the ferret to the vaccine. Rabies should be left until the ferret is physically mature (not sexually but physically) According to many of the more recent vaccine studies (rabies in particular) the single vaccine should be good for the life of the ferret ciao
Thank you everyone for your input, Especially heather--you had a LOT of really good, informative points about why you choose to or not.
Thanks for your stories as well everyone As disheartening as it is to see how some of you have had bad cases with vaccinations, I'm glad you've shared it with me. As for myself... I'm still on the fence, though I do have a bit more confidence in the decision that I wouldn't be doing booster vaccinations even if I get one of each.