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 regular vaccination to maintain 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. This is why a series of vaccinations is necessary for a kitten. The core vaccination schedule for a kitten in Australia starts with the first vaccination at 6-8 weeks, with two boosters every 4wks after the first. The core "F3" vaccination protects your cat against two important viruses that cause cat flu, and the potentially fatal "feline panleukopenia" virus (see below). Additionally, we can provide advice on whether your cat needs additional "non-core" vaccinations. These include Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), FeLV, Chlamydia, or even vaccinations against rabies if you and your cat are moving overseas.
Adult Cat Vaccination
The immunity from kitten vaccination weakens over time and your pet can again become susceptible to disease. Annual health checks and booster vaccinations will provide the best protection for the life of your pet. If your cat has had a vaccine reaction or usual booster frequency is inappropriate for your cat on other medical grounds, we can also provide antibody titre testing.
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 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
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.
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, Siamese and Burmese cats. It is highly contagious and causes 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.