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Cats Vaccinations

Vaccinating your cat
Primary vaccination
Booster vaccination
Why you need to vaccinate your cat regularly
Vaccination safety
The diseases we most commonly vaccinate cats against

We have chosen to use a cat vaccination range which brings you innovations in vaccination technology

Find out more by reading below and if you would like additional information about vaccinating your cat or you would like to book an appointment please contact us.

Vaccinating your cat

We know that you want to do everything to ensure that your cat remains happy and healthy throughout their life.

One easy way to help achieve this is to vaccinate your cat to help protect them against certain infectious diseases, some of which are very difficult to treat and can be fatal. The diseases we most commonly vaccinate our cats against are discussed later.

Vaccines are usually given as injections under the skin, and are normally well tolerated by cats. They stimulate the body’s immune system to fight against specific diseases and this response is then ‘remembered’ so that if there is exposure to the disease in the future the body can react accordingly to protect the cat.

Vaccines vary in the level of protection they provide, and sometimes infection can still occur, but symptoms are much milder than in unvaccinated cats.

Primary Vaccination:

For the first few weeks of life, kittens are usually protected from disease by the immunity they receive from their mother´s milk for a limited time. However, this maternal immunity may also prevent any vaccination given during this time from working effectively. This protection gradually decreases, allowing the animal to respond to vaccination, but also leaving the kitten susceptible to disease; therefore this is the best time to start a vaccination programme.

To discuss vaccinating your kitten please contact us.

Booster vaccinations:

After the primary vaccination course your cat will need regular booster vaccinations to ensure it remains protected. Some boosters can now be given every three years, depending on the lifestyle of your cat. Tailoring a vaccination programme to your cat’s needs ensures that they receive just what they need, when they need it. Your veterinary surgeon will suggest a unique programme of vaccinations, tailoring it specifically to your cat.

Why you need to vaccinate your cat regularly:

Many people believe that if they have their pet vaccinated when it is a kitten the immunity it receives will protect it for the rest of its life.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

After the last injection immunity reaches a peak and then begins to decline, until the level of protection is no longer sufficient to protect your cat.

Revaccination stimulates the immune system so that protection is maintained.

Vaccination safety:

Occasionally there can be adverse side effects associated with vaccination; these are usually mild and resolve quickly such as lethargy and poor appetite, however sometimes, more serious side effects occur such as allergic reactions. If you are worried that your cat has had an adverse vaccine reaction please contact us.

The diseases we most commonly vaccinate cats against are:

Feline Infectious Enteritis:

  • Also known as feline panleucopenia or feline parvovirus
  • A severe disease that has become much less common thanks to highly effective vaccines
  • Very infectious - the virus can be transmitted on contaminated equipment, shoes and clothing, so even indoor cats which don’t have direct contact with other cats are potentially at risk.

Clinical signs:

  • Usually seen as bloody diarrhoea in young animals, with a characteristic offensive smell and severe dehydration. Death can occur so quickly that no clinical signs are observed1
  • Attacks the bone marrow causing the cat to become susceptible to other diseases

Feline Upper Respiratory Disease (‘cat flu’):

  • Caused by two important viruses feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus
  • May be complicated by secondary bacterial infections

Feline herpesvirus

Cats become infected through close contact with infected cats that shed virus in their oral, nasal and eye secretions.

Clinical signs:

  • Fever, nasal discharge, sneezing and eye ulcers. Young kittens may develop pneumonia.
  • Feline herpesvirus remains latent after recovery, and most cats become lifelong carriers2
  • Virus may be reactivated when these carrier cats become stressed or ill, causing repeated bouts of illness

Feline calicivirus:

Very infectious. Spread via direct contact with oral and nasal secretions from infected cats. Virus can survive up to one month on dry surfaces at room temperature so cats can become infected by contact with virus on these surfaces too3

Clinical signs:

  • It is generally less severe than herpesvirus
  • Causes sneezing, fever, painful ulcers of the mouth and tongue

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV):

  • Infected animals may not show any signs for months or even years, so many more cats may be infected before the warning signs are seen
  • It is easily spread in saliva, so cats are infected when grooming each other, sharing food bowls and litter trays and when fighting
  • Animals are usually infected in the first months of life, but any age of animal, including adults and unborn kittens, may become infected

Clinical signs:

  • Attacks the white blood cells and bone marrow
  • Makes the cat vulnerable to secondary infections
  • Also causes anaemia and cancer of the blood, intestines and other parts of the body
  • One in three cats that catch the virus will develop the disease4
  • Most persistently infected cats die within 2-3 years4
  • Only early vaccination and regular boosters can help to protect your cat from the virus

Other diseases we vaccinate against include feline rabies and Chlamydophila felis.


References:

1. ABCD – Feline Panleukopenia Factsheet
2. ABCD - Feline herpesvirus upper respiratory infection Factsheet
3. Radford, A. et al. Feline Calicivirus Infection – ABCD guidelines on prevention and management. JFMS (2009) 11, 556-564
4. Lutz, H. et al. Feline leukaemia. ABCD guidelines on prevention and management. 2009, JFMS 11 (7) 565-574

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