Vaccinations have revolutionised the control of infectious diseases in your cats. It is essential that all of your cats are adequately vaccinated to protect them from several common or life-threatening conditions.
A Guide to Cat Vaccination
Kittens do receive some protection against disease from their mother's milk, but as this wears off they need to start on a course of vaccinations.
From 8 weeks of age, your kitten will need 2 to 3 sets of vaccinations, depending on what coverage they require. The essential vaccine covers feline panleukopaenia, feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus. However, any cats that will be going outside at all should also be vaccinations against Feline Immunodeficiency virus.
Once they have completed their initial course of vaccinations, your cat will still need regular booster vaccinations to maintain their protection. As part of their yearly health check, your veterinarian will give your cat these booster vaccinations when they are required.
After Vaccination Care
Following vaccination, your cat may be off-colour for a day or two, or have some slight swelling or tenderness at the injection site. Access to food and water and a comfortable area to rest are usually all that is required for a quick recovery. However, if the response seems more severe, you should contact your veterinarian for advice.
Please call us to discuss a suitable vaccination regime for your pet kitten or cat.
INFECTIOUS DISEASES OF CATS THAT WE VACCINATE AGAINST
Feline Enteritis (also known as Feline Panleucopenia)
Feline panleucopenia virus is actually thought to have mutated into canine parvovirus, which may give you some idea of how serious this infection can be. It is very contagious and the death rate is high, especially in kittens under 12 months of age. Symptoms of infection include depression, loss of appetite, miscarriage, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood, and severe abdominal pain.
The virus spreads very easily, so heavily contaminated areas may need cleaning with a special disinfectant. Cats that do recover may continue to carry the virus for some time and infect other cats.
Fortunately, vaccination is highly effective at protecting your cat from this disease.
Feline Respiratory Disease (Cat flu)
90% of cat flu cases are caused by either feline herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis virus) and/or feline calicivirus, with the rest caused by one of a number of other viral or bacterial infections.
Feline respiratory disease affects cats of all ages, but is especially severe in young kittens, and Siamese and Burmese cats. It is highly contagious and can cause sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers. Fortunately, the death rate is low except in young kittens, but the disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks. Recovered cats can continue to carry and spread the infection for long periods, and can show signs of the disease again if they become stressed.
The vaccines your cat receives will provide good protection against both herpes and calicivirus. Although your cat may still develop mild cat flu signs through one of the other causes, the vaccine protects your cat against the most common causes and the viruses that can cause life-long respiratory disease.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline AIDs is an incurable disease caused by the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Although a similar disease to human AIDs, FIV is a unique virus that doesn't cause disease in people or any other animals.
The virus is spread through fight wounds, with about 20% of stray cats carrying the virus. Any cat that goes outside may be exposed to the disease through fights with other cats.
Feline AIDs affects your cat's immune system, meaning they cannot fight other diseases. When first infected, most cats show no signs, though some may develop a mild fever and swollen lymph nodes. However, as the disease progresses, infected cats show weight loss, mouth ulcers, and a poor coat condition, as well as long-lasting or recurrent infections.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine available that is effective at protecting your cats against FIV.
For more information on FIV, click here to visit the stopFIV website.
Could your cat be at risk? Click here for an FIV risk assessment form.