Vaccinations are typically administered by the veterinarian, during a wellness exam. They are the BEST way to protect your pet from potentially fatal diseases that can be prevented. Certain vaccine protocols may be recommended depending on your cat's lifestyle - indoor, outdoor, age and multiple cat households are all considered. For cat's with previous reactions to vaccines, precautionary pre-treatments to prevent a reaction are offered. Another option is antibody titer checks against our common viruses for those of who would prefer to avoid vaccination as much as possible.
The following vaccines (FRCP and Rabies) are considered ‘core’ vaccines and are always recommended to be kept up to date because infection with these viruses is often fatal. Many of these viruses are considered ubiquitous in the environment - this means that every cat will likely come in contact with these viruses at some point in their life. Luckily, vaccination is very effective in preventing these diseases from developing if your pet should be exposed.
1) FRCP - Feline Rhinotracheitis (caused by herpes virus), Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (feline distemper caused by a parvo virus)
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis - This disease is cause by feline herpes viral infections. It is highly contagious, and infection occurs almost always through direct contact with an infected cat. Kittens are most susceptible. The virus is considered to be ubiquitous (everywhere), meaning all cats will likely be exposed in their lifetime. Infected cats can often become chronically infected, causing waxing and waning respiratory infections for the rest of their lives. If a pregnant cat is infected, her unborn kittens can be affected.
Calicivirus is highly contagious virus that causes severe upper respiratory disease, including ulcers and severe inflammation in the mouth. Infection occurs directly from nasal and oral secretions from an infected cat, or from an infected environment (the virus can last for 10 days in the environment). These infections can be life threatening and cats surviving the disease can become chronically infected.
Panleukopenia - This disease is also called feline distemper. It is often fatal for infected kittens even with aggressive treatment, causing vomiting, diarrhea, bacteremia and neurological symptoms. If pregnant and infected, unborn kittens can be affected. The virus is hardy in the environment, leaving almost all cats exposed at some point in their life.
2) Rabies Vaccine – Rabies is a viral disease that is always fatal. It attacks the central nervous system and poses a dangerous public health risk, as this virus is also fatal to humans. Keeping this vaccine up to date is very important - if your cat is not up to date on their Rabies vaccine and happens to bite a human, a mandatory quarantine period is required.
The following vaccine is optional, but always recommended for all kittens, as well as cats that are exposed to other cats of unknown vaccination status (cats that freely roam outdoors, or are in a household where new cats are often brought in)
3) Feline Leukemia - the feline leukemia virus can cause life long infection in cats and lead to suppressed immune system (causing higher incidence of infections and other diseases) as well as higher incidence of cancer. Kittens are highly susceptible. Life span is very short for cats infected with feline leukemia. Animals are infected through close contact (nose to nose contact) with infected cats.