Cat vaccination is essential to ensure that your cat remains healthy.
The common diseases we vaccinate cats against include:
- Feline Enteritis (Feline Panleucopenia)
- Feline Respiratory Disease (cat 'flu’)
- Feline Chlamydia
- Feline Leukaemia
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
All are dangerous and infectious disease, and not all of them can be cured, with disability or death being a potential outcome. So the importance of protecting your cat against these diseases cannot be emphasised enough.
Feline Respiratory Disease
In 90% of cases, it is caused by Feline Herpesvirus and/or Feline Calicivirus. It can affect cats of all ages, but especially young kittens. It is highly contagious, and cats/kittens with feline respiratory disease typically show signs of depression, lack of appetite, high fever, nasal and eye discharge and sneezing. Severely affected cats become quite dehydrated and commonly suffer mouth ulcers and sometimes corneal ulcers on their eyes. Even if cats recover, most become chronic carriers of the virus and have relapses from time to time. These cats also remain as a source of infection for other cats.
This is an equally debilitating disease. Young kittens that are affected often show neurological signs of tremors, unco-ordination and strange behaviour, in addition to the typical depression, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea and increased thirst. Again, cats that do recover may continue to carry the virus for some time and infect other cats.
This disease causes a severe and persistent conjunctivitis, and it is more serious in kittens that are concurrently affected with ‘Cat flu’. Chlamydia may be shed by an affected kitten or cat for many months.
The virus responsible, Feline Leukaemia Virus, acts by destroying the animals immune system or by causing tumours to form. The diseases which are then induced vary greatly and may include lymphosarcoma, gingivitis or anaemia. So Feline Leukaemia is not a single illness, but rather a whole complex of diseases!
Affected cats may show a lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, pale or yellow mucous membranes, vomiting or diarrhoea. But many cat may be infected, and not show any signs at all! What is still more serious is that the virus spreads very easily among cats even though they may appear to be in perfectly good health. In fact, one millilitre of saliva from an infected cat may contain more than one million viral particles. Just one contact is enough and it is estimated that a cat has a three in four chance of being exposed to the disease during its lifetime.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
This disease is not transmissible to humans, however it can be transmitted by a bite from an infected cat – the virus is present in saliva. Once again, some infected cats show no signs of disease, whilst others show signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, diarrhoea and swollen lymph nodes. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as weight loss, oral sores, poor coat and chronic infections may occur. Eventually the immune system is overwhelmed, and the cats may succumb to a subsequent infection. Unfortunately in Australia, lots of cats are infected with this virus.
At Swanbourne Vet Centre, we routinely use the following vaccination protocol:
- 6 - 8 wks : Respiratory Disease, Enteritis, Chlamydia, Leukaemia
- 12 - 14 wks: Respiratory Disease, Enteritis, Chlamydia, Leukaemia
- FIV vaccination requires 3 initial vaccination visits, 2-3 weeks apart.
For older kittens/cats that have never been vaccinated, we give two vaccinations, 4 weeks apart.
Thereafter, boosters are due annually and this will provide the best protection for the life of your cat.