Kitten vaccinations are generally carried out from as early as 9 weeks of age, with the second dose three weeks later.
Booster vaccinations are then given each year to ensure your cats immunity is maintained. There are four main vaccinations that are advised for your cat which you can find out more about below.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
Just as with the human common cold, the virus that causes this upper respiratory-tract infection ('cat flu') is easily transmitted from one cat to another, so vaccination is imperative if your pet will come in contact with other cats. Its symptoms may take the form of moderate fever, loss of appetite, sneezing, eye and nasal discharges and coughing. Kittens are particularly affected, but this disease can be dangerous in any unprotected cat, as effective treatment is limited. Even if a cat recovers, it can remain a carrier for life. It is advised that all cats are vaccinated for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis.
This virus is another major cause of upper respiratory-tract infection ('cat flu') in cats. Widespread and highly contagious, its symptoms of fever, ulcers and blisters on the tongue and pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) can range from mild to severe, depending on the strain of virus present. Once again, treatment of this disease can be difficult. Even if recovery does take place, a recovered cat can continue to infect other animals, as well as experience chronic sneezing and runny eyes. Vaccination is therefore important and advised for all cats.
The virus infects and kills cells that are rapidly growing and dividing, such as those in the bone marrow, intestines, and the developing fetus. It is caused by a virus so resistant, it can survive for up to one year outside of a cat's body! Therefore, as most cats will be exposed to it during their lifetimes and infection rates in unprotected cats can run as high as 90% to 100%, vaccination against this potentially fatal disease is absolutely essential. Symptoms can include listlessness, diarrhoea, vomiting, severe dehydration and fever. Thankfully, the vaccine itself is very effective in preventing the disease. Treatment is very difficult and, even if recovery takes place for a period of time, a once-infected cat can spread the disease to other, unvaccinated animals.
Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)
Infection with the Feline Leukaemia Virus can result in a multitude of serious health problems for your cat - everything from cancerous conditions such as leukaemia to a wide range of secondary infections caused by the destruction of the immune system. In fact, it is the leading cause of death in North American cats. After initial exposure to the virus, a cat may show no symptoms of its presence for months, if not years, yet all the while infect others. Testing is available to determine the FeLV status of your cat. If he or she has not yet been infected, but is likely to come into contact with cats that are, vaccination against this potentially fatal disease is highly recommended, especially if your cat goes outdoors.
After evaluating your cat's particular situation and risk factors, your veterinary surgeon may also recommend vaccination against other infectious diseases. These might include: Feline Chlamydiosis & Rabies. If you are looking to vaccinate your cat or for further advice, contact your local Calder Vets branch.