Your cat will need vaccinations to prevent infection and to ensure proper long-term protection against various viral illnesses. The following is our recommendation of vaccines for your cat:
FVR-CP: CCommonly known as the “distemper” vaccination, this vaccine is actually a 3-way vaccination against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (feline Herpes virus), Calici-virus, and Panleukopenia (feline distemper). We recommend this vaccine for all cats, usually beginning at 8-9 weeks of age with a second dose or booster given 3-4 weeks later. The vaccine is then boostered annually.
Feline viral rhinotracheitis is a widespread respiratory disease caused by a herpes virus. It is most severe in kittens and causes signs of nasal and ocular discharge. It is very contagious to cats and infection can result in chronic or recurrent infections throughout life. Ocular problems throughout life may include painful squinting, corneal ulcerations, and corneal lesions that affect vision.
Calicivirusis responsible for causing severe respiratory infections. It may cause severe, painful ulcerations of the mouth and tongue, discharge from the eyes, and may cause pneumonia. It may lead to persistent infection.
Panleukopenia, otherwise known as feline distemper, causes clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and death. It is the most widespread disease of cats and causes high mortality rates in those cats infected. This disease is very contagious, easily transmitted, and is capable of surviving in the environment for years. Vaccination is highly protective against feline distemper.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV): This is a form of cancer caused by a contagious virus. It is spread from cat to cat through close contact and is frequently fatal. Infection also suppresses the immune system, allowing for various other illnesses to occur. Clinical signs of feline leukemia infection are extremely variable, but commonly include: weakness, weight loss, anemia, and secondary infections. Some cats infected with this virus become asymptomatic carriers for 2-3 years before becoming clinically ill. Testing for feline leukemia requires a simple blood test and is recommended for any new or sick cats, and prior to leukemia vaccination. Indoor cats having no contact with outdoor cats are considered to be at minimal risk of contracting this disease. However, cats that are in contact with known FeLV-positive cats or who frequently go outdoors should be vaccinated. Following national feline medicine guidelines, we recommend all kittens receive an initial vaccination at 9-12 weeks regardless of indoor/outdoor status. If the kitten will be an outdoor cat or in contact with an infected cat, a second booster is given 3-4 weeks later. Annual revaccination is recommended for at-risk cats.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis: Caused by a virus, this disease causes a number of clinical signs including depression, weight loss, fever, and sometimes accumulation of fluids in the abdomen. FIP is considered fatal and vaccination is recommended for cats that are in cattery situations among groups of cats, or those cats in contact with known FIP-positive cats. Vaccination is thus usually reserved only for high-risk individuals.
Feline Bordetella: This “kennel cough” bacteria can also infect dogs, but in cats only kittens are considered to be significantly infected. Clinical illness after exposure in adult cats is considered to be low. Vaccination should be limited to those catteries where infection associated with clinical disease has been documented.
Rabies: An inevitably fatal zoonotic disease affecting the central nervous system, rabies is seen infrequently now due to required vaccination for dogs and strong recommendations for cats. It is, however, still present endemically in the wildlife populations and is therefore a very important public health concern. Transmission can be through any contact with a wild animal (bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes are the primary carriers) but especially through bites or scratches. Given its nocturnal and predatory nature, the cat has surpassed the dog in actual rabies cases in recent years. Any person receiving a bite or scratch from a wild animal or unfamiliar dog or cat should immediately clean the area with soap and water and report the wound to a physician and local animal control office. Vaccination is given after 12 weeks of age, then either annually or tri-annually.