There are a number of highly infectious and potentially fatal diseases which can affect your cat. There is no treatment for many of these diseases and young kittens who catch them often die. Thankfully many of these diseases can be avoided with the simple protection provided by vaccination. Ensuring that your cat completes an initial course of vaccinations and then receives annual booster jabs is important if you want to keep your cat fit and healthy.
When should my kitten be vaccinated?
Kittens or previously unvaccinated cats receive two doses of vaccine usually three weeks apart and then annual booster inoculations to ensure continued immunity through the cat's life.
1st Vaccinations: 9 weeks
2nd Vaccinations: 12 weeks
Annual Booster: 12 months
What should my cat be vaccinated against?
There are a group of diseases that all pets are at risk of catching and at Links Vet Group we recommend that all pets are vaccinated against these. Other vaccinations we only recommend for at risk groups such as cats that go outside meeting other cats with an unknown vaccination history or where we are concerned about specific diseases, for example in cattery or re-homing shelter situations.
Viral Cat Flu:
This is a very widespread disease caused by more than one virus and can cause widely varying symptoms from respiratory signs such as sneezing and nasal discharge, to severe eye disease and even mouth ulcers and dental problems. Each of these complaints can easily become long lasting and chronic in unvaccinated animals requiring long term treatments. Cat 'flu can be fatal in young or debilitated cats.
This is a relatively uncommon disease in the UK now but is occasionally seen with cats showing signs of severe gastroenteritis which is often fatal.
Bacterial Cat Flu:
This is caused by the same organism which is part of the Kennel Cough complex in dogs and as such is very widespread in the UK. Together with the viruses causing cat 'flu this can be seen as part of a cat 'flu complex with multiple causative agents.
This is a cause of conjunctivitis usually seen in kittens and multiple cat households though it can also be a problem in rescue catteries etc.
This is another widespread viral disease and it is common to see infected cats, some of whom will become fatally affected. Again the symptoms can vary widely from virus induced tumours (lymphomas, leukaemia) to suppression of the immune system of affected cats leading to multiple episodes of otherwise unrelated illness such as respiratory infections, blood born parasites causing anaemia etc. Affected animals go on to become reservoirs of infection leading to widespread infection of other cats that they come into close contact with.
Do vaccines always work?
The quality of vaccines available today is very high but occasionally an individual cat may not get the full protection from the vaccine. This may be because the cat was already ill or was stressed when it was vaccinated and its immune system wasn't working properly. Your vet will examine your cat before
vaccination and if any signs of illness are detected, will delay vaccination until your cat is well again.
Are there any side effects?
Very occasionally a cat can seem 'off colour' for a day or two after its vaccination and the injection site may also become a little tender and swollen. If these effects do not wear off we recommend that you bring your cat in for an appointment with one of our vets.
If you are concerned about any symptoms in your cat do not hesitate to contact your vet for
reassurance or advice.
Infectious disease may not seem very common in cats because most cats are protected by vaccination. Your cat must receive regular vaccinations to be fully protected against these diseases.