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Cat Vaccinations

What vaccinations do cats need?

All cats should be vaccinated against Cat Flu and Feline Infectious Enteritis. Cats that are allowed out of the house – even occasionally – should also be vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia Virus.

When should kittens be vaccinated?

We advise kittens have their first vaccine at nine weeks old. Vaccinating before this age is unreliable because antibodies received from the kitten’s mother may prevent the vaccine from working.

A second dose at twelve weeks old is needed to ensure full protection. A kitten should not be let out of the house until a week after the second vaccine to allow the immunity time to develop.

How often are booster vaccinations needed?

Booster vaccinations are needed on a yearly basis. The protection from the primary course is not life-long. We send reminders through the post to help you remember when your cat’s vaccine is due.

What are the diseases we vaccinate against?

Cat Flu is caused by Feline Herpes Virus and the Feline Calici Viruses. These viruses cause a disease of the upper respiratory tract (sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, mouth and eye ulcers) plus a loss of appetite, fever and depression. Very young and very old cats and those with poor immune systems can become severely ill and may die, often of secondary infections, lack of nutrition and dehydration. The Cat Flu viruses are very common, especially in young cats, but vaccination does not offer complete protection because the vaccines currently available are not effective against some strains of the Calicivirus. However, severe disease will not develop in a vaccinated cat, and in most cases Cat Flu will be completely prevented.

Feline Infectious Enteritis (FIE) is caused by the Feline Panleucopenia Virus. It causes a severe and often fatal form of enteritis. The Panleucopenia Virus is widespread in the environment and vaccination is highly successful.

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) affects the immune system of the cat and may cause anaemia or cancer to develop. Most infected cats die or are euthanased, and there is no cure. It is transmitted by saliva, biting, urine, faeces, in the womb or from an infected mother’s milk. A cat should be vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia if it will be allowed outside the house (even if only occasionally) or in contact with any other cats that have not been tested for the virus. As there is no cure it is advisable to vaccinate unless your cat will never be able to go outdoors, never be used for breeding, and will not be joined by another cat in the household at a later date. If a kitten’s mother is not vaccinated and has not been tested for FeLV then a kitten can be tested to see if he is already infected.

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