When I moved to North Carolina from Florida I had my two oldest cats Chica and Yoko then. They had been getting their yearly vaccination booster shots even tho they are indoor only cats. I took them to my first holistic vet in Boone, NC and she talked me out of these boosters saying she had seen too many animals have severe and long term reactions to them. That was twelve years ago and since then none of my cats have gotten any boosters - just the basic first time shots required. Chica is 19 now and Yoko 17 and in great health.
Everyone has to make the decision that feels right for them. Don't let your vet bully you into getting shots you don't want - find another vet that will work with you. I have copied below the recommendations of a holistic vet near Raleigh that I have worked with for seriously ill pets. This sums up what a lot of veterinarians now feel about vaccinations.
Homeopathic veterinarians and other holistic practitioners have maintained for years that Vaccinations are doing harm. Aside from the immediate risk of vaccination side-effects, such as allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock, there are more compelling reasons to avoid vaccinations whenever possible. Vaccinations represent a major assault on the body's immune system. Attenuated organisms, or chemically killed viruses or bacteria, are injected directly into the blood stream via subcutaneous or intra-muscular injection, an unnatural route of infection. This profound insult avoids the body's first line of defenses, flooding the system with millions of organisms or viral particles, causing irregularities and abnormalities in the immune system which then manifest as chronic diseases in animals. This overall effect, while potentially protecting the individual from a specific, acute disease, is to weaken or create imbalance in the immune system so that underlying tendencies to diseases are brought to the surface. In other words, vaccinations represent a major stress. Following vaccinations, we often see chronic problems begin such as epilepsy, skin allergies, persistent upper respiratory infections, irritable bowel syndromes, auto-immune diseases and cancer, just to name a few.
What we now confront in our animal companions are generations of over-vaccinated animals, and these current offspring are suffering the penalty of this medical abuse. Where vaccinations have helped in eradicating or reducing the incidents of severe and acute disease processes, the result has been to plague us with more insidious, chronic diseases that are difficult to treat and often incurable and that lower that quality of life for many individuals and animals.
After more than thirty years of practicing veterinary medicine, I am observing chronic diseases that begin much earlier than before. Cancer before five years of age in dogs and cats was a rarity, but now it is not unusual to see fatal cancers in two and three year old animals. And the incidence or number of cases is definitely increasing. While poor breeding practices, poor commercial diets and other environmental factors play their part, I believe it is the practice of vaccinating an animal repeatedly, with multiple vaccinations throughout their lifespan that factors the most. We have genetically weakened our companions with this practice. A normal dog or cat living to twelve years of age will receive at least twenty and possibly thirty vaccinations during their lifetime. Fifteen or so of these shots will have four to seven disease fractions present in each vaccination.
In all of this, balance in nature has been lost to the pharmaceutical-medical complex philosophy, propelled in great part by monetary factors, leading us to believe that all vaccinations are beneficial.
Risk of Exposure should be the main guideline for consideration of whether to vaccinate and what to vaccinate against. If your cats are indoor only, or if your dogs' outside activities are on a leash or within a fenced area under supervision, there is little risk. The other considerations for a vaccine's use are its proven safety, its effectiveness, and whether the disease so serious or life-threatening that vaccinating is necessary. Remember, VACCINES ARE NOT HARMLESS. Only vaccinate if the threat is real.