Cat Vaccines – Which Vaccines Should Cats Get?
Vaccines play an important role in keeping your cat healthy. Talk to your veterinarian about the vaccinations your cat needs, as this may differ based on your location and the circumstances your cat lives in.
Why Are Cats Vaccinated?
Routine vaccinations have an important effect in preventing the occurrence of feline diseases. Some (essential vaccines) are recommended for all cats, while others (non-essential vaccines) are recommended only for cats at risk of contracting the disease due to their environment and lifestyle. Talk to your veterinarian about which one is appropriate.
Puppies usually get their first combination vaccine at 8-9 weeks and the booster vaccine at 12 weeks (with rabies vaccine as well). One more dose of the immune booster vaccine is given one year later to strengthen the immunity. Cats must be in good health at the time of vaccination, and your vet should therefore perform a routine examination of your cat before vaccinating.
What Are the Side Effects of Cat Vaccines?
Like any medical intervention, vaccination has some side effects, but most experts agree that the benefits outweigh the side effects. A major recent concern is that a small number of cats develop tumors at the injection site. This complication is more common in the US than in the UK, and tumors are thought to be linked to rabies and FeLV vaccines. Discuss this and your concerns about other side effects with your veterinarian, who can explain steps to take to minimize the risk.
What Vaccines Should Cats Get?
Essential vaccines protect your cat against the following common and highly contagious diseases:
FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA (Also known as FPV, FELINE INFECTIOUS ENTERITIS, and FELINE PARVOVIRUS) is a highly contagious virus that can cause severe intestinal inflammation. This disease can cause the death of your cat, you will need to be very careful.
FELINE HERPESVIRUS (FHV or FELINE RHINOTRACHEITIS) and FELINE CALCIVIRUS (FCV) These viruses are responsible for most cases of “cat flu”. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and mouth, cough, conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis), mouth sores, and fever. Cat flu is a deadly disease for your cats, so you should pay attention and consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Rabies: This is usually fatal and is easily transmitted from animals to humans. It is one of the main vaccines in countries where rabies is epidemic. Cats in the UK are not vaccinated against rabies unless they go abroad.
It may be recommended to have other vaccinations based on your cat’s circumstances. These vaccines are:
FELINE CHLAMYDOPHILOSIS This bacterium causes conjunctivitis and sometimes a runny nose. It is transmitted by direct contact between cats and is often recommended for cats living in multi-cat households.
Feline leukemia virus (FELV) This virus is transmitted by direct contact between cats and usually results in death within three years of diagnosis. It is generally recommended for outdoor cats, but be sure to consult your veterinarian anyway.
Until recently, adult cats routinely received immune-boosting vaccines every year. However, as there is growing evidence that these vaccines last for more than a year, new information suggests that for most cats, the main vaccinations (except rabies) and immune boosters every three years are sufficient. However, you can make the most appropriate decision to protect your cat’s health by consulting your veterinarian.