Vaccinations for Cats
Did you know that there are over 10 vaccinations available for cats? Which ones does your cat need?
As traditional veterinarians, we are concerned about over-vaccination. We realize that some vaccinations are necessary but that each cat should have a vaccination program tailored to its’ lifestyle. As traditional veterinarians, we tend to minimize vaccination and will be glad to discuss your pet’s individual needs during the examination/consultation. Here is a short list of the more common vaccinations for cats:
Rabies is a disease nearly everyone has heard of. It is contracted when an animal is bitten by another animal that has been infected and Rabies is always fatal. Rabies vaccinations are required in many states for cats. Even if you have an indoor cat, you should consider the vaccine. In nearly all cases, an animal will need to be put down if it has been infected with rabies. Almost all cases of Rabies in California involved indoor cats!
- Panleukopenia Virus
The more common name for this virus is “distemper”. It is a highly contagious disease which is why vaccination is recommended. Symptoms include fever, seizures, loss of appetite, and possibly death. Kittens are born with a natural immunity for the first few weeks of their lives. Vaccinations should start at around 8 weeks old and there is a series of 3 vaccinations given at 3-4 week intervals. Your cat should also receive a vaccination every 1-3 years.
Caused by the herpes virus, Rhinotracheitis is an upper respiratory infection that is highly contagious. The infection could prove to be fatal in young kittens, so the vaccination is highly recommended. The vaccine lasts for 1-3 years, so follow up vaccinations are necessary.
Calicivirus is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. It is very contagious through contact with infected cats. Symptoms include fever, gum disease, mouth ulcers, and sneezing. More advanced forms of the virus are more severe and can cause fatality. Cats do not need to exhibit symptoms in order to transmit the disease to other cats. The contagious nature of this disease makes it important for your cat to receive a vaccination every 1-3 years.
- Feline Leukemia Virus
This is another virus that is spread through direct contact with an infected cat. For this reason the vaccine is highly recommended for outdoor cats, or cats that are frequently in contact with other cats. All kittens and newly adopted cats should be tested for the presence of this virus (and FIV) before vaccination. This is an optional vaccine for indoor only cats, but should still be considered in the first year or two of life.