Core Vaccinations for Cats
When vaccines are given, the immune system responds by a protective response. Then, when the cat is exposed to that particular organism, the immune system can either prevent infection or reduce the severity of the disease. The choice for your cat’s vaccine will be decided by your veterinarian.
Factors that determine which vaccine to give your cat, include:
- Age and health of the cat
- Risk the cat poses to humans (e.g. rabies)
- Risk of infection
- Exposure the cat has to other cats
- Environment the cat lives in
Most Common Vaccines
Feline Calicivirus/Herpes Virus
This virus is an infectious upper respiratory tract disease. Once infected, many cats do not totally recover and become carriers either continuously or on and off. This vaccine is usually recommended for all cats.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
FeLV spreads from cat to cat through bite wounds and from an infected mother cat to her kittens. Outdoor cats and indoor-and-outdoor cats are more at risk to this virus. The vaccine for this may be recommended. However, the risk of cancer at the injection site has been a problem. Whether or not to give this vaccine to your cat should be discussed with your veterinarian.
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Feline Panleukopenia Virus (Feline Distemper)
A highly contagious and deadly viral disease, feline panleukopenia can survive extreme temperatures for many months. Plus, it’s resistant to most disinfectants. It was once considered the most infectious disease for cats but, thanks to very effective vaccines, it is now considered an uncommon disease. Due to the serious nature of FPV and its continued presence, this vaccine is recommended.
Given the fatal nature of rabies and the number of increased incidences of rabies in cats, this has become a major public health concern. A rabies vaccine is highly recommended for all cats, and may be required by law in many parts of the country.
Vaccines for Chlamydia (causes an upper respiratory infection), ringworm and feline infectious peritonitis (causes inflammation of certain organs in the body) are also available, but are not usually recommended. Again, your veterinarian will decide which vaccines your cat should receive.
Always make sure to keep up-to-date records of your cat’s vaccine records. If you need a copy, you can contact the veterinary assistant at your vet hospital to obtain this information.
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