Vaccinating your Cat
Our pets offer us love, affection and friendship unconditionally; they are an important part of our lives and our families. Just like any other family member their health and wellbeing is no doubt important to you. To safeguard your cat from potentially fatal diseases Greencross Vets recommend a tailored preventative healthcare program for every pet, including vaccinations.
Why vaccinate your cat?
Like they say ‘prevention is better than cure’. It is no different with the diseases that can affect our cats. Most of these diseases are viral and do not respond well to medication. Where treatments are available, it can be prolonged and even prove unsuccessful.
What do you need to protect your cat from?
Commonly called Feline Enteritis
This is a highly contagious gastroenteritis which progresses very rapidly and is often fatal. It is particularly severe in kittens and pregnant cats with symptoms such as high fevers, depression, vomiting and diarrhoea, birth defects or miscarriage. Cats can simply collapse and die with little warning.
Feline respiratory disease
Commonly called Cat Flu
Feline respiratory disease affects cats of all ages, especially young kittens. It is highly contagious and causes sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and mouth ulcers.
Fortunately, the death rate is low except in young kittens, but the disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks. Infected cats carry the virus for the rest of their life and in times of stress the disease and symptoms can flare again and spread the infection other cats.
Feline chlamydia causes a severe persistent conjunctivitis in up to 30% of cats. Kittens are more severely affected by chlamydia when also infected with ‘cat flu’, and chlamydia can be shed for many months. Vaccination against cat flu and chlamydia helps protect against clinical disease.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Commonly called Feline AIDs
FIV is classified as lentivirus or ‘slow virus’ meaning that infected cats may appear normal for years post infection. The main route of transmission is through cat bites making cats who are allowed outdoors at serious risk of being exposed. Eventually infection with this virus leads to a state of immune deficiency that decreases the cat’s ability to protect itself against other infections. This means that bacteria or viruses found in the cat’s normal environment that would normally not affect them can cause severe illness. It is these secondary infections that cause many of the symptoms seen in FIV-infected cats. With this in mind, the symptoms of FIV can be variable but may include persistent fever and recurrent infections of gums, mouth, skin or respiratory tract. They may also suffer from persistent diarrhea and weight loss. Infected cats are also more prone to certain types of cancers and blood diseases along with neurological diseases.
When does your cat need to be vaccinated?
Core Vaccination schedule:
- 6 - 8 weeks First vaccination
- 10 - 12 weeks Second vaccination
- 14 - 16 weeks Third booster vaccination
- Cats require booster vaccinations to ensure long-term immunity against the contagious diseases.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (Feline AIDS):
- If your cat is exposed to the outdoors or neighbourhood cats, consider incorporating the FIV vaccine into your cat’s program. This can be given from 8 weeks of age.
Your veterinarian, in consultation with you, will determine your feline friend’s long-term vaccine program. The recommendations will be guided by your cat’s lifestyle and environment.
Unvaccinated pets are at risk of contracting serious diseases. You can protect your cat and keep them safe from disease by maintaining the vaccination program recommended by your Greencross Vets pet care team.