It is important to vaccinate your cat from 9 weeks of age and then annually to maintain protection.
Start from 9 weeks of age with their first vaccinations with one of our vets. A kitten’s primary vaccination course involves two injections, 3-4 weeks apart. They are injected twice to ensure immunity builds up to the appropriate level to protect the cat should they ever be exposed to the disease. Kittens should be immune from 2 weeks after their second vaccination. Remember their annual adult vaccinations to maintain their immunity.
Continue their vaccinations on an annual basis to maintain protection. We strongly recommended that all pets have an annual health check. This involves a full clinical examination from a Veterinary Surgeon to ensure there are no problems that could benefit from prompt attention at an early stage, and advice on maintaining good health. In addition, advice can be given on treating for fleas and worms, neutering, microchipping and dietary requirements.
These annual boosters supply the best protection available against major infectious diseases in addition to the initial kitten course. These diseases have few effective treatments and are often fatal.
We are sometimes asked why vaccinations need to be annual. The manufacturer’s authorisation and the recommendations for the vaccinations use are based on the minimum period of protection for any animal vaccinated with the product in question. So simply put, tests have demonstrated immunity for at least 1 year after a vaccine, but they cannot prove that immunity definitely last any longer than that. Hence, annual vaccination provides our cats with the best available immunity.
Generally, we still recommend vaccination of elderly cats. However, the vaccinations used and their frequency are tailored to their individual needs. Along with a booster, we give an Annual Health Check. It is very important for older cats to maintain the best of health, quality of life and comfort. So remember a regular visit is still very important, vaccination or not.
What do we routinely vaccinate our cats against?
Cat Flu: Routine vaccination offers protection against two different strains of ‘cat flu’. It is very common in the cat population and spreads quickly in multi-cat household. Cats have ‘flu’ like symptoms with watery eyes, sneezing, and discharge from the nose, and more serious cases can involve chronic sinusitis, damage to or loss of eyes and ulcers in the mouth.
Although it can be treated, once cats have caught it, it can often re-appear throughout life.
Feline Panleucopaenia/Feline Enteritis: This disease causes serious and potentially fatal gastroenteritis similar to Parvovirus in dogs. It is becoming less common in the UK but is still a high risk for young kittens as the virus can persist in the environment for months, even years after exposure.
It can be brought into a house unknowingly on footwear, so indoor cats are still at risk, and its close relationship to Parvovirus allows cross infection cases too. Cats show symptoms including vomiting, anorexia and a fever. They require intensive supportive treatment including intravenous fluids and nursing care, and still the risk of losing them is high.
Feline Leukaemia Virus: This highly infectious disease can affect cats of all ages, especially kittens. It is spread in many ways including fight/bites, urine, blood and saliva. It is associated with the occurrence of tumours, anaemia and suppressing a cat’s immune system making them vulnerable to other diseases, and becoming unable to deal with simple infections.
Signs and symptoms may take months or years to develop and can be very vague as it affects the immune system so cats may just seem a bit off colour, may appear slow to recover from minor illnesses or have on and off anaemia. There is no treatment or cure for this virus; we simple try to maintain a good quality of life for the cat for as long as possible.
Joining the 608 Pet Health for Life covers your cat’s boosters, worm and flea control, plus many other benefits, and all at a special rate. Have a look and see how your pet and purse can both benefit.
What other vaccinations are available?
Feline Chlamydophila: This infectious organism causes inflammation of the conjunctiva that covers the inner surface of the eyelids, this is also known as conjunctivitis. It is most commonly seen in kittens, although cats of all ages can become infected. Symptoms include discharges from the eye, swelling and reddening of the conjunctiva. It is also known to cause fertility problems in breeding queens and chest problems. This vaccine is not part of routine protocol but can be advantageous in high-risk situations; cat shelters, cat-breeding premises etc.
Rabies: The UK is currently rabies free so therefore we do not routinely vaccinate against it. However, vaccination against rabies is essential for any animal traveling abroad to not only protects the animal against the disease but also allow entry back into the UK. The specifics around pet travel are under review due to Brexit, we therefore suggest getting in touch if you need more information and we will be able to advise the current protocol.
We endeavour to keep up with the latest thoughts on vaccination, and tailor the programme to a cat’s individual needs. If you have any questions or concerns please talk this through with one of our vets.