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Cat Vaccinations

Cats and kittens are vaccinated against a range of infectious diseases. These diseases are currently kept under control in the UK due to our excellent vaccination protocols. 

Vaccinations are an important part of being a responsible cat owner. A kittens vaccination course should start from 9 weeks onwards and consist of two or three injections which are given 2-4 weeks apart. Maternal immunity will begin to wane around 8-12 weeks so it’s important that vaccinations then take over the job of protecting your kitten. 

To make sure your cat is fully protected they will need a primary vaccination course usually given as a kitten, but it’s also important for them to have a yearly booster vaccination to make sure they are protected for life. 

Core vaccinations 

·Feline Infectious Enteritis – also known as feline panleukopenia virus is a highly infectious virus that can be responsible for a severe and often fatal version of gastroenteritis (vomiting, diarrhea, tummy pain). This was once a major killer of cats but is now rare thank you to vaccination protocols.  

·Feline Influenza (feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus)– also known as cat flu. The viruses that cause these infections are common. Symptoms include runny eyes, conjunctivitis, sneezing, nasal discharge, ulcers in the mouth, and a sore throat. The infection is normally spread through close contact between cats and once a cat has had the infection, they can continue to spread it without having any symptoms. 

Non-core vaccination – these vaccinations are recommended for cats at specific risk of infection.

·Feline leukemia virus – cats that are diagnosed with this virus usually die or are euthanised within a few years. This is one of the reasons that most UK vets would class this as a core vaccine. The widespread use of this vaccination has greatly decreased the cases of this disease. The virus attacks the cats’ immune system and white blood cells and over time can cause anemia and lymphoma. Feline leukemia is transmitted via cat-to-cat contact of body fluids. It is a recommended vaccination for any cat that is going to encounter other cats. 

·Bordetella – this is the same bacterium that causes kennel cough in dogs and although it's not as common in cats it does have similar upper respiratory symptoms to it. Sometimes this vaccination is given when a cat is going into a cattery for a longer stay. 

·Chlamydophila felis – this bacterium normally causes conjunctivitis, but the cat can also present sneezing, nasal discharge, and runny eyes. It's very infectious but must be in close contact so this is more common in multi-cat households. 

·Rabies – is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system. It is commonly spread through the saliva of an infected warm-blooded animal and is transmitted by either being bitten or scratched by the infected animal or their saliva entering through a cut. Fortunately, the UK has declared that we were rabies-free over 90 years ago and cats are not routinely vaccinated against this any longer. However, all cats that are travelling abroad must be vaccinated against rabies before travelling

Author: Emma Webb / Posted: April 22nd 2024
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