Vaccination has revolutionised control of infectious disease in our pets. It is essential that all pets are adequately vaccinated to help protect the pet population as a whole. Responsible pet care requires kittens to be given their initial course of vaccinations, but this cannot protect them for the rest of their lives. Adult cats require yearly vaccination boosters to maintain their maximum immunity against disease.
Kittens are ‘temporarily’ protected against many diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies decline in the first couple of months of their lives, however until they drop sufficiently they can also neutralise vaccines. A series of vaccinations is necessary for a kitten because the level of antibodies each kitten gets from its mother in the first 48hrs of life determines when it will respond to a vaccination.
We follow the World Small Animal Veterinary Association recommendations when it comes to your kittens vaccination regime. The first vaccine is recommended at between 6-8 weeks then 10-12 weeks and the last vaccine as a kitten must be given at 16 weeks. It takes 2 weeks to respond properly to the vaccination. They are then covered as well as that individual can be for a period of time, and the recommendation for booster vaccinations is at their first birthday, in which we do a full physical check-up & boost the vaccination.
Adult Cat Vaccinations
The immunity from kitten vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Yearly health checks to check for other developing problems and booster vaccinations will provide the best protection for the life of your pet. If your pet misses a vaccine scheduled then an additional booster vaccination may be 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, but this should be mild and is quite uncommon. 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 us for advice.
Please give us a call to discuss a suitable vaccination regime for your pet kitten or cat.
INFECTIOUS DISEASES OF CATS THAT WE VACCINATE AGAINST
CORE VACCINES - Strongly recommended
Feline Enteritis (also known as Feline Panleucopenia)
It is very contagious and the death rate is high, especially under 12 months of age. Pregnant cats may lose their young or give birth to kittens with abnormalities, quite often with brain damage. Symptoms are depression, loss of appetite, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood and severe abdominal pain.
The virus spreads so easily that 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.
It is the cat form of parvovirus in dogs.
Feline Respiratory Disease (Catflu)
It is caused in 90% of cases by feline herpesvirus (feline rhinotracheitis) and/or feline calicivirus.
Feline respiratory disease affects cats of all ages, especially young kittens. It is seen more in multi cat households & cats that roam. It is a highly contagious virus which causes sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers.
Fortunately, the death rate is low unless there is secondary infection with bacteria, except in young kittens, but the disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks with treatment aimed at the secondary infections, as there isn't any highly effective treatment for the viral disease itself.
Vaccination protects or at least greatly limits the signs and time taken to eliminate the disease, depending on the individual cat.
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.
NONE CORE VACCINATIONS - The "optional extra" vaccinations
Chlamydia (also known as Chlamydophila)
Feline Chlamydia causes a severe persistent conjunctivitis in up to 30% of cats.
Vaccination doesn't prevent infection but does minimise the signs shown.
Kittens are more severely affected by Chlamydia when also infected with “Cat Flu”, and Chlamydia can be shed for many months. Vaccination against cat flu and Chlamydia helps protects against clinical disease. An antibiotic can be used to directly treat this organism, and being previously vaccinated can help reduce the time taken for signs to be resolved and shedding of the chlamydia to stop.
Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)
Feline Leukaemia is a serious disease of cats caused by feline leukaemia virus.
The virus attacks the immune system and may be associated with lack of appetite, weight loss and apathy, pale or yellow mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhoea, reproductive problems, increased susceptibility to other infections (Immune suppression) leukaemia (a blood cell tumour) and other blood cell tumours. Many cats may be infected , fight the virus off successfully and show few or no signs at all.
About one third of infected cats remain chronically infected and may shed virus in their saliva, tears, nasal secretions and urine. The disease is then spread to uninfected cats by mutual grooming, fighting, sneezing or even flea bites.
There is no reliable effective treatment against the virus itself.
In some countries there may be a link between vaccination against this virus and a certain severe tumour, which doesn't appear to be the case in Australia.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline AIDS is a disease caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and affects the cat’s immune system. Their natural defence against attack by other diseases may be seriously affected, much in the same way as human AIDS.
This disease is not transmissible to humans.
FIV is almost always transmitted by bites from infected cats. The virus that causes the disease is present in saliva.
While some infected cats show no sign of disease, others may display initial symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes.
As the disease progresses, symptoms may occur such as weight loss, sores in and around the mouth, eye lesions, poor coat and chronic infections.
Eventually, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections and diseases. As a result, the cat may die from one of these subsequent infections.
Unfortunately in Australia, a lot of cats are infected with this virus.
If you suspect your cat is showing any signs of FIV or FeLV we can perform an in-house blood test to determine if they are positive for these diseases.