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all know that animals should be vaccinated, especially when they are young, and
that they should have booster vaccinations.
However most people are a bit
confused as to why we do it and what exactly we are vaccinating against.
In this leaflet we will try to explain what we can do and what we as a
diseases we can vaccinate cats against are: Feline Enteritis, Cat 'flu,
Rabies, Feline Bordatella and Feline Infectious Conjunctivitis.
Enteritis is a very severe disease caused by a virus which basically destroys the
lining of the bowel, causing vomiting, diarrhoea and often death. It also
damages the body's defence system and so leaves the cat open to other
infections. It is especially lethal in kittens and older cats whose immune
systems are not well developed.
Leukaemia is a disease caused by a virus. The virus is picked up by coming into
contact with an infectious cat or its secretions and almost all free roaming
cats will come in contact with it. It attacks the immune system so destroying
the body's defences against infections and cancers and in itself causes cancer
in the lymph glands (lymphosarcoma). 15% of cats that pick it up will die from
it, most of them within 2 years. During the period before they die they are
likely to be very sickly
and suffer from a string of minor ailments which never seem to get better in
spite of lots of veterinary treatment.
is a viral disease
which affects all mammals including people, however there is no disease at
present in this country and so the only reason to vaccinate is if you wish to be
able to take your pet abroad and/or back into Britain again.
caused by bacteria, which give rise to recurrent sore throats and mild flu-like
symptoms. We certainly see a lot of this in this area, but do not usually
recommend vaccinations unless it is a multi-cat household that is having a lot
of problems with this illness.
Infectious Conjunctivitis is a disease
caused by chlamydia. It mainly affects the eyes but can cause 'flu like symptoms
and possibly abortions. Cats that have got the disease from their mothers at
birth will always be carriers and will develop conjunctivitis whenever they are
stressed. They are also infectious to other cats.
kittens less than twelve weeks old we recommend an initial course of two
vaccinations against Cat
‘flu, enteritis and leukaemia, with the
first being after the kitten has been in his new home for 2-3 days (and is
approximately 9 weeks of age), and a second 3 to
6 weeks later. The vaccine
manufacturer recommends that the kitten does not come into contact with
infection for ten to fourteen days after the second vaccination, although we see
very few problems from letting them out 2-3 days after the second vaccination.
and cats over twelve weeks need two vaccinations three weeks apart.
protection given by the initial course lasts for a year and some
parts must be boosted by annual booster
is especially important the year after the initial course and then again as your
cat gets older. In older cats, as in older people, the body's natural resistance
gets weaker and they are more susceptible to severe illness. We now only boost the feline enteritis vaccination every 3 years.
'flu vaccination, like the human 'flu vaccines, can't cover all the possible
strains of 'flu and so you may find that your cat does develop mild signs of infection if they come in contact
with the disease,
however they are unlikely to be seriously ill. Similarly, if a kitten has
already picked up 'flu bugs from it's mother before vaccination, the vaccine
will help to prevent serious illness but can
neither get rid of the bugs that are there
nor stop the kitten having recurrent mild attacks of 'flu.
Feline Infectious Conjunctivitis
and Feline Bordatella.
good vaccines available for these diseases,
however the clinical diseases are
usually not very severe and usually
respond well to treatment .
Therefore we do not recommend these
as a routine, but use them
for cats that have recurrent disease and for cats that come into contact with
these cats, usually cats living in the same house. Here it certainly helps
reduce the problems.
reactions are fortunately very rare and often occur within ten minutes of the first time a vaccine is used in your cat.
They are controllable by antidotes given immediately and it is a good idea not
to hurry away after your cat's first vaccinations!
Minor reactions, usually to one of the substances used when making the
vaccine, do occur more commonly and usually recur year after year. These usually
consist of being very quiet, shaking, off food and generally feeling miserable.
These can be controlled by giving an injection of an antihistamine
at the same time as the vaccination, so are not a sensible reason for not
having boosters. However do tell the vet you see that a reaction has occurred before.