Having your cat vaccinated is a part of ethical, responsible cat care. Vaccinations can prevent your cat from suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases, such as enteritis, herpesvirus and calicivirus. It gives them the best chance at a long, happy life. Owners must ensure their kittens are given their kitten vaccinations and annual boosters, even if they plan on keeping their cat indoors.
Catteries and boarding kennels will not allow unvaccinated cats, or cats that have not had their annual boosters, to stay with them for any length of time. Not only are unvaccinated cats at risk of contracting terminal illnesses, they can spread the disease throughout the neighbourhood, risking the lives of kittens too young, or other cats too sick, to be vaccinated.
Regardless of whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor cat, it must be vaccinated. A number of diseases are airborne and others can be tracked into your house on your shoes, clothes or skin. Even if your cat is not exposed to other animals, it can still contract diseases. The best prevention is to keep your cat’s vaccinations up to date.
Further, because they are isolated from other animals, indoor cats are less likely to develop immunities against common viruses. This means that if your cat does become sick, its immune system may not be strong enough to overcome the illness alone. To reiterate, then, keeping your cat isolated is no alternative to vaccination.
At Karingal Veterinary Hospital, we recommend the following cat vaccination schedule:
|1st Vaccination||6 – 8 weeks||Enteritis/Herpesvirus/Calicivirus|
|2nd Vaccination||12 – 14 weeks||Enteritis/Herpesvirus/Calicivirus|
|3rd Vaccination||16 – 18 weeks||Enteritis/Herpesvirus/Calicivirus|
Once your kitten has received its third vaccination, it is important to make sure you continue to bring it in for its annual boosters. Protection from vaccinations diminish with time. Every year, your cat’s immune system will need an extra boost to fight against a number of deadly diseases. The booster does not hurt, and has no side effects, save for perhaps a slight, temporary, stinging sensation.
Booking in an appointment for an annual booster is a great way for your vet to get to know your pet, to identify any health issues, including dental problems, before they become serious, and to address any concerns you may have about your cat’s behaviour, nutrition or cat care.
Feline enteritis is also known as feline panleucopaenia virus or feline parvovirus. It is a preventable disease that often results in death. Cats suffering from enteritis can die within 3-5 days of presenting symptoms, often of septicemia or dehydration. Enteritis has a high mortality rate in kittens and can often cause miscarriage in pregnant cats. Common symptoms include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, depression, a lack of appetite, and bloody diarrhea. Enteritis is highly contagious and extremely serious. To prevent your cat from developing enteritis, it is imperative you follow our vaccination schedule.
Feline herpesvirus is a viral infection of the nose and throat. It presents as a cold, with sneezing, discharge from the eyes, nose and mouth, fever, drooling and lethargy. Lesions and ulcers are common and secondary infections, like pneumonia and septicemia can occur.
Kittens and pregnant cats, as well as cats with low immune defences are particularly susceptible to herpesvirus. This is a highly contagious virus, passed on through mutual grooming, sharing litter boxes or water bowls, and by coming in contact with infected cats. Because of its contagiousness, Herpesvirus is often contracted in catteries and multi-cat households, which is why we recommend booster vaccines before your cat is kenneled.
Another rhinovirus, Calicivirus can last for three to four weeks. Its symptoms include lameness, arthritis, fever, ulcers, discharge from the nose and eyes, and bleeding. If your cat contracts Calicivirus, it will have to be hospitalised. Difficulty breathing, and a build-up of discharge in the eyes and nose are common, which can cause serious secondary complications, including hemorrhaging, pneumonia and bacterial infection. Cats that have contracted Calicivirus can die, suffer lung damage or long-term lameness. Like Herpesvirus and Feline Enteritis, vaccinating your kitten can reduce the severity of these symptoms and even prevent the onset of this disease.
Cat care is more than providing nutrition and shelter. In addition to annual check-ups and vaccine boosters, cat owners must be proactive in their cat’s health. Talk to your vet today about microchipping and desexing your cat, and about our parasite prevention program, our affordable approach to staying on top of your cat’s flea and worming schedule.
If you are concerned about your cat’s health, or have any questions about our cat vaccination schedule, contact Karingal Veterinary Hospital today.