Vaccinating Your Kitten
It is essential to get your new kitten vaccinated as soon as possible, especially if you are intending to let them outside eventually. Call us to book your complimentary health check and one of our Vets will disucss this with you.
What are the diseases we vaccinate against?
Cat Flu is caused by the feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus which cause a disease of the upper respiratory tract. The viruses are spread by direct contact with an infected cat, in an infected cat’s tears, saliva and nasal discharge or by sneezing. Very young, very old and cats with poor immune systems can become severely ill and may die, often of secondary infections, lack of nutrition and dehydration.
Symptoms may include sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, mouth and eye ulcers, loss of appetite, fever and depression.
is caused by the feline panleucopenia virus and is spread by direct faecal-oral contact and indirectly following contamination of the environment or objects. The virus causes a severe vomiting and diarrhoea, the vomiting is often very bloody and often progresses to death.
This is is a virus that affects the immune system of the cat and may cause anaemia or cancer to develop. Most infected cats die or are euthanased as there is no cure. The virus is transmitted by saliva, biting, urine, faeces, in the womb or via the milk from infected mother to her kittens. Symptoms may include pale gums, yellow colour in the mouth and eyes, enlarged lymph nodes, bladder/skin/respiratory infections, weight loss and loss of appetite.
What vaccines does my kitten need?
All cats should be vaccinated against panleucopenia virus and the cat flu viruses. These viruses are very common and disease can be very severe. Without these vaccines your cat will not be allowed into boarding catteries or cat shows.
Vaccination against the cat flu viruses is not completely protective as the vaccines currently available do not cover some strains of calicivirus, however severe disease will not develop and in most cases cat flu will be completely prevented.
Feline leukaemia should be vaccinated against when cats go outdoors (even if only occasionally) or are in contact with any other cats which have not been tested for the virus. Because there is no cure it is always best to vaccinate unless you are 100% sure your cat will never go outdoors, never be bred from and you will not bring another cat into the household at a later date. If your kitten’s mother was not vaccinated and has not been tested for FeLV then it may be best to have your kitten tested just in case he/she is already infected.
When to vaccinate your Kitten
Kittens initially have antibodies from their mother via the milk in the first few days of life. If the mother was vaccinated then your kitten will have some protection against disease for the first few weeks of life. These antibodies also stop vaccines from working in very young kittens. This is why we advise giving the first vaccine at 9 weeks old when these maternal antibody levels have dropped. A second dose at 12 weeks old is needed to ensure full immunity.
Your kitten should not be let out of the house until a week after the 2nd vaccine to allow immunity time to develop.
Booster vaccinations are needed on an annual basis as the protection from the primary course is not life-long. You will get a reminder through the post when your cat’s booster is due.
This includes a full health check, clinical examination and weight check plus advice on any area of your cat’s health and care that you require. We are happy to clip nails and administer worming doses for you with the vaccination if required.