Vaccinating your cat against diseases helps keep them healthy. Vaccinations can spare your cat from contracting specific disease such as rabies, distemper, and feline leukemia. Vaccines are important for both inside and outside cats. Some viruses live in the environment, which means you can bring them home to your cat.
The vaccines that are recommend for cats, depends on their life style. When Dr. Marchant comes to your home she will discuss with you the vaccines that are recommended for your kitties life-style and the risks associated. In general, the following vaccines are recommended:
FVRCP: This vaccine protects against rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia which are transmitted by saliva, mucus and other secretions of acutely ill cats. This vaccine is given every 3 – 4 weeks until your kitten is 16 weeks of age. If your cat is over 4 months and has never been vaccinated, or improperly vaccinated as a kitten, the vaccine is given once and then a booster vaccine is repeated in 3- 4 weeks. Once the initial series of vaccines is administered you cat will be vaccinated every 3 years.
Rabies: Rabies is mainly transmitted through the bite wounds of infected mammals and is highly contagious. Dr. Marchant recommends a rabies vaccine for all her feline patients. We do have Rabies in San Diego County and it is seen mostly in bats. Cats are also the number one cause for transmitting rabies to humans. Even if your cat is indoors, if a rabid bat enters your home, this can be considered exposure for your cat. This is an annual vaccine.
FeLV: This protects against feline leukemia virus. Feline leukemia is a viral disease that can be transferred to kittens from their mother or through saliva of other infected cats. This vaccine is recommended for all kittens, as they are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. In addition, they have a higher risk of escaping your home and risking exposure. It’s also recommended for cats that are indoor-outdoor or outdoor-only. Kittens and adult cats should be tested for FeLV prior to vaccination. Vaccination can begin at 8 to 12 weeks of age and requires a booster vaccine repeated three to four weeks later. Then it is administered annually.
Although these vaccines are safe and effective, occasionally pets may experience one or more of the following reactions:
Short-Term Nonspecific Reactions: decrease appetite, pain at the site of injection, lethargy, mild fever.
Allergic Reactions: vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, difficulty breathing, facial swelling, itchy or bumpy skin (hives).
Injection Site Reactions – One in 10,000 cats can develop a tumor at the sight of an injection. While a specific cause had not been identified, it is believed these tumors are linked to chronic inflammation. Adjuvants found in vaccine is thought to play a role. Dr. Marchant uses adjuvant-free vaccines, it does not eliminate the risk, but it does reduce the risk. The following are guidelines for concern after a vaccine and your cat should be seen: The area where vaccine was given is still painful after 1 -2 days, the area continues to grow, or persists beyond 1 Month. In some cases, the tumor can occur up to 10 years after vaccination.
Keep in mind that for the average cat, the benefits of an appropriate vaccination program (protection against the serious/lethal diseases discussed above) far outweigh the potential risks associated with vaccination.