Essential vaccinations for your cat

Cats are at risk for various diseases. Vaccinating your pet early is the best defence for preventing cat disease, but not all cat diseases have a vaccine.
Vaccinations are antigens that generate an immune response, or the production of antibodies, without inducing a disease. Before bringing a new kitten into your home, you should know their current vaccinations. If necessary, plan to bring them up to date for their health and your peace of mind.

Kittens are typically vaccinated on a standard schedule of eight weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. A vet will administer one half of a vaccine, then test the kitten weeks later before administering the other half.

Important core vaccinations

1. FVRCP vaccinations are one of the most important ones that prevents cat disease. It vaccinates against three potentially deadly airborne viruses – feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), calicivirus (C) and panleukopenia (P). These can be contracted by cats at any age:

  • Panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper, is easily spread from one cat to another. The virus spreads rapidly and can kill within 12 hours of a cat contracting it.
  • Feline Calicivirus causes a range of flu-like symptoms.
  • Feline Rhinotracheitis virus causes upper respiratory infection of the cat’s nose and throat.

2. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is the most commonly diagnosed cause of disease and death in domestic cats. FeLV is often transmitted through direct contact with an infected cat through grooming or sharing litter boxes, food and water bowls. A mother can also pass it to her litter. Outdoor cats are susceptible to the virus through bites and scratches from infected cats. It taxes a cat’s immune system, opening them up to contracting more serious infections.

3. Feline rabies is one of the most dangerous cat diseases, because it can be passed along to humans, too. This debilitating and degenerative disease attacks the nervous system. Cats usually contract rabies through encounters with wild animals as opposed to other cats. There is no treatment or cure for feline rabies.

Some diseases can’t be prevented with vaccines. Keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour and take your cat to the vet regularly. Many feline diseases are passed through the bites of other animals, making outdoor cats at risk. Limit their exposure outdoors or better yet, keep your cat inside.

Kidney disease

Renal failure, caused by kidney disease, is a leading cause of death in older cats. Age, genetics (chronic) or the ingesting of toxic or poisonous substances (acute) are linked to renal failure. Acute cases can be reversed with aggressive treatment, but there is no curative therapy for chronic kidney disease.

Dental disease

The first stage of dental disease is gingivitis. Plaque, a light film of bacteria on the surface of the tooth, and tartar build-up are the most common underlying causes. As gingivitis progresses, the gum tissue (gingiva) around the tooth becomes red and inflamed. Removing plaque and tartar is the best defence in preventing gingivitis from advancing to periodontitis.

Help your cat prevent these diseases through vaccinations and regular check-ups.

Essential vaccinations for your cat
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