Kazon received a beaming report from the doctor this morning as he suffered through his annual exam.
“He wears his weight well,” the vet said, then she continued by explaining he hasn’t a single bit of extra weight on him. He’s a large cat as I’ve pointed out before, and she was especially pleased with how solid he is.
Aside from his weight, which fluctuated a bit last year and warranted extra attention between then and now, she lavished upon him all sorts of praise for his healthy condition. Teeth look good. Heart and lungs sound perfect. Muscle tone couldn’t be better. Temperature is right where it should be. She pranced through a litany of comments, each of them an indication of a feline with no significant concerns.
Once she had completed her exam, she took a moment to talk to me further about why he can never again have vaccinations. Of course, I asked since not getting them makes him susceptible to dangerous ailments.
“If you remember the last time we gave them to him a few years ago,” she explained, “his reaction was critical. Within hours, his temperature had risen to a dangerous level and he showed signs of anaphylaxis. He’d also shown a steady ramping up of the same during previous years. That means his body was trying harder and harder to fight what it sees as an infection. Since immune systems remember what they’ve done in the past, each time we introduced those disease proteins into his body made it think it had to respond more strongly than it had before. You can see where that was leading. Considering how high his fever went last time, another round would probably push him well beyond his own body’s ability to withstand the assault.”
She went on to tell me that age also played a part in the drama. All bodies weaken with age after they pass a certain point of development. In this case, a cat advancing in years would be unable to withstand the increasing severity of such an immune response. It might also create systemic autoimmune disease, a situation in which the immune system whips itself into a frenzy and begins attacking healthy tissue.
I shook my head in acknowledgment of the problem, and immediately I remembered what the emergency vet had told me after Kazon’s last vaccinations, when he ended up on IV fluids and under constant monitoring for hours. His acute febrile state would only worsen with additional exposure to the vaccines. Since his last episode had been so dangerous, it’s likely any additional contact of that nature would induce a critical ague that would permanently injure his internal organs, if not cause death. Although he hadn’t explained why that was true, he had at least told me what I already suspected: Kazon simply could not be vaccinated any more.
With that discussion over, this morning’s appointment ended with a final word of warning about keeping Kazon inside and not exposing him to other animals. I assured her that would not be a problem.
Although he spent the entire time being a pathetic baby, a docile bit of putty who wouldn’t get more than a breath away from me, he returned to his normal self the moment we arrived home. He enjoyed a treat for being such a good boy, and now he’s sleeping off the stressful event with a welcome morning nap.