Disease and Vaccinations
Vaccination schedule for kittens:
- 6-8 weeks of age
- 12-14 weeks of age
- 16-18 weeks of age
During these weeks your kitten should be vaccinated against viral diseases. The most common vaccine is called a Fe3 vaccine; this vaccine protects cats against three viruses. These viruses are known as feline viral herpes virus, feline calicivirus and feline panleucopaenia. The additional vaccines are called FeLV vaccine which prevents cats against feline leukaemia and FIV which protects against feline immunodeficiency virus.
Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Disease (caused by Feline Viral Herpes and Feline Calicivirus)
This virus is also known as ‘Cat Flu’ and affects the respiratory system and conjunctiva. It is spread through aerosol droplets via sneezing or through direct contact with saliva, nasal and eye secretions. It is also transmitted in-directly via contaminated food/water bowls or by handlers. Infected cats can shed the virus for two weeks.
Symptoms Include: Sneezing and snuffling. Fever and depression, reluctance to eat, conjunctivitis and inflammation of the nasal cavity and sinuses.
Also known as ‘Feline Enteritis’, ‘Feline Infectious Enteritis’ or ‘Feline Distemper’. This virus affects the lining of the gastrointestinal tract which causes ulceration internally and also the immune system. This virus is spread via the contact of infected bodily fluids, faeces and even fleas. Has also been known to spread through bedding, infected food/water bowls or by handles or infected cats.
Symptoms Include: Lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea with abdominal pain. Diarrhoea can also contain blood.
Feline Leukaemia Virus
Feline Leukaemia Virus or ‘FeLV’ affects the lymphatic tissues and is spread through saliva via close contact with another cat, biting another cat, through food and water bowls, through litter trays and even from their mother’s milk during nursing. The virus can only survive for 2 hours in a dry environment and 48 hours in a damp environment. The way the cat’s immune system reacts to the virus depends on the outcome of it.
Symptoms Include: Loss of appetite, depression and weight loss, vomiting and diarrhoea. Reproductive problems occur further down the tract which lead to the increased susceptibility to other infections. Tumors can also develop in different parts of the body.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (also known commonly as Feline AIDS)
This virus also known as ‘Feline AIDS’ or ‘FIV’ affects the immune system and its ability to fight off infections. The virus is spread via deep bite wounds or scratches where the infected saliva enters another cat’s bloodstream. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant female to their offspring while still in the utero.
Symptoms Include: Fever, depression and swollen lymph nodes. (Actue Stage) In the second stage known as (Subclinical Stage) the symptoms either decrease or disappear. Then results in chronic infections due to the cats suppressed immune system (Chronic Stage).