Keeping your Pet Happy & Healthy with Vaccination

There are a number of infectious diseases that your pet can contract, and some are potentially life threatening. Fortunately, there are vaccinations available to help prevent many of these diseases.

When puppies and kittens are born their immune system has not yet developed, they rely on protection provided in their mothers colostrum. As this immunity gradually declines, puppies and kittens need to be vaccinated to help build up their own immune system and develop protection against various diseases.

A vaccination programme for your puppy or kitten will start at 6-8 weeks of age, with a course of vaccinations at 4 week intervals until 16 weeks of age.

Following this your pet should have an annual health check, and a vaccination depending on the programme we have tailored to suit your animal.

Outlined below are the main vaccinations recommended for your cat. Next week we will cover protection for your dog.

Vaccines can be divided into core vaccines and non-core vaccines.  The core vaccines are considered essential for all cats (including indoor-only cats) because of the widespread and/or severe nature of the diesases being protected against.  Non-core vaccines are only given to cats if there is a genuine risk of exposure to the infection and if the vaccination would provide good protection.

There are three main diseases that we vaccinate cats against in our core vaccines are:

1)            Panleukopaenia virus

2)            Herpes virus

3)            Calcivirus

Panleukopenia virus (also known as feline parvovirus) is a severe and frequently fatal cause cause of bloody diarrhoea, vomiting and it can cause low white blood cell levels.  Outbreaks of infection with this virus are common as the virus is highly contagious and can survive for long periods in the environment. 

Herpes virus and Calcivirus are the main causes of  ‘cat flu’ (upper respiratory tract infections) in cats.  Affected cats typically show sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, eye discharge and mouth ulcers.  Signs can vary from mild to severe and other complications, such aspneumonia may develop.  With herpes virus, even after the clinical signs have subsided, most cats will remain permanently infected with the virus and some go on to develop recurrent eye infections or other signs (much like the human coldsore virus…). 

The two main diseases that we vaccinate cats against in our non-core vaccines are:

1)   Chlamydia

2)   FelineImmunodificiency Virus (FIV)

Chlamydia mainly causes conjunctivitis in cats.  Young kittens in mulitcat households are most likely to be affected and there may also be mild upper respiratory signs.  Vaccination of young cats against chlamydia can help prevent disease.

FIV is quite common among young cats, especially outdoor cats that are involved in fighting (infection is spread mainly through cat bites).  It is the feline alternative to the HIV virus.  A blood test can help determine whether or not your cat has the disease – if not, vaccination can help protect your cat.