Protecting Your Cat from disease
It is essential to ensure your cat is sufficiently vaccinated to safeguard not only your cat but the domesticated pet population in general. Vaccinations assist in not only controlling but also preventing communicable diseases. For continued resistance is recommended that kittens and cats get vaccinations initially with a vaccination booster every year.
Kittens do receive essential antibodies via their mothers’ milk which give a temporary resistance against quite a few diseases. During the first few months the effectiveness of these antibodies wane and at this point is where the vaccinations become important. The vaccines can be neutralized while the antibodies received via their moms’ milk is still present. This is why there is a regime of vaccinations for kittens to ensure effectiveness.
A Cat Vaccination Guide
It is recommended that the 1st set of 2 vaccinations are given at about 8 weeks of age and 3 weeks to four weeks apart to protect against the following diseases:
- feline panleukopenia
- leukemia virus
A round of three vaccinations are given 2 – 4 weeks apart and should be given from around the age of 2 months for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus).
Post Vaccination Care
You may notice a difference in your cat’s behavior. It may have minimal tenderness and swelling around the place it was injected for a day or two. To help your cat recover quicker, give it easy access to water, food and a safe, comfortable rest area. If the behavioural or physical changes seem to be severe please don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you are unsure as to what vaccination regime is needed for your cat or kitten, please don’t hesitate to call us and we can help schedule your pet’s vaccinations.
The diseases that cats are vaccinated against include:
Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Enteritis): This disease is very infectious and the mortality rate is higher in cats younger than 12months than in older cats. If a cat is pregnant and gets infected, the risk is very high of miscarriage or to have babies with abnormalities. The symptoms can include uncontrollable vomiting, appetite loss, depression and diarrhea accompanied with extreme abdominal pain and blood being present in the stool.
The disease is highly infectious and areas that are contaminated will need to be cleaned with a specialized disinfectant. Cats that do recover can still carry the virus and infect other cats they may come into contact with for quite some time afterwards.
Cat Flu (Feline Respiratory Disease): In a high number of cases, the cat flu is caused by the presence of Feline Herpes Virus (feline rhinotracheitis) together with the feline calicivirus.
Cat flu can affect cats of any age or type. However, young kittens, Siamese and Burmese cats seem to be more susceptible. The disease is very contagious. Symptoms include: coughing, runny nose, sneezing, tongue ulcers and a loss of appetite. Even though the mortality is low, except for in kittens, the disease causes a lot of distress and can be present for several weeks. Cats that recover can still have the virus present and continue to be infectious for a long time afterwards. The disease can reoccur if they are placed in a stressful environment or situation.
Chlamydophila (Chlamydia): A symptom of Feline Chlamydia is a harsh unrelenting conjunctivitis in about 30% of cats. Young kittens are more seriously affected by Chlamydophila if they also have “Cat Flu”. Chlamydia can be shed for some time after recovery. The vaccination against the 2 diseases helps protect against the clinical disease.
FeLV – Feline Leukemia: FeLV is a severe disease which is caused by the presence of the feline leukaemia virus. The virus is spread by attacking the cat’s immune system and can be identified with a loss of appetite, pale or yellow mucous membranes, diarrhoea, weight loss and apathy, reproductive problems, vomiting and tumours as well as an increased chance to contract other infections. A lot of cats can be infected but show none of the typical signs.
About 33% of cats that are infected stay infected and can shed the virus in their tears, saliva, urine and nasal secretions. The disease is often passed on to cats that aren’t infected by fighting, sneezing, mutual grooming and flea bites.
FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) becomes Feline AIDS via an infection within the immune system. This lowers their own body’s defence against attack by other diseases, not unlike human AIDS.FIV is however, not transmittable to humans. FIV is mostly passed on by the saliva present in bites from cats that are infected. Some cats have no outward signs of disease, while others can show symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and enlarged lymph nodes. When the disease gets worse the symptoms include symptoms such as sores in the mouth area, poor coat, weight loss, eye lesions and chronic infections. The immune system weakens to a point where it cannot fight off other infections and diseases and as a result, the cat dies from complications of these infections. Australia has a high percentage of cats that are infected.