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Feline Vaccinations 101

Updated: Jan 25

Each year you take your pet to the vet clinic and they get specific vaccinations boostered but do you actually know why your pet gets those vaccinations and what each disease can cause if your pet contracts it? Today we will go over the most common vaccinations administered to your dog and what they protect against.


-Rabies- This is a viral disease that can be spread to both animals and humans through being bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. Wildlife is the most common carrier of the disease and in Texas we see top carriers being skunks, bats, coyotes and foxes. This virus effects the central nervous system and can easily lead to death if not appropriately treated. Symptoms can be seen in cats between 28-42 days after being infected. Once symptoms are seen treatment is likely impossible. Common symptoms seen are a change in personality, changes in the voice, weakness and paralysis of the larynx causing the animal to not be able to swallow. This disease is very serious and if you think your pet may have been in a confrontation with a wild animal or another cat it is best to contact your veterinarian to figure out what steps need to be taken. Vaccinating your cat against rabies is not only important to their safety but is a human health concern. Protecting your pet, protects you! This is also the only state required vaccination for cats. Whether your cat is indoor only or indoor/outdoors it should receive this vaccination. All cats should receive their first vaccination as a kitten once they are 12 weeks old and then boostered again a year later. The second vaccination will be given a year later and given annually thereafter. For more detailed information on Rabies visit: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951479


-Feline Distemper (FVRCP)- The distemper vaccination has several components to it and is typically abbreviated as FVRCP which stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. This is a disease is shed via feces, vomit, urine, saliva and mucous. A cat can contract the disease through the mouth or nose after coming in contact with the infected surface or secretion. It's highly contagious and difficult to remove from the environment and can also live in an environment for up to a year. Feline distemper affects the white blood cells throughout the body which weakens the immune system and then attacks the intestinal tract which leads quickly to a very ill animal and is extremely life threatening. Symptoms include diarrhea, dehydration, fever, loss of appetite and vomiting. Most commonly affected are kittens and young cats that are not vaccinated due to their immune system not being strong enough and is more commonly seen in cat colonies such as feral cats, barn cats or shelter cats that are placed in large groups. If your kitten or young cat shows any of the above symptoms it is important to seek medical attention by your veterinarian. Whether your cat is indoor only or indoor/outdoor it should receive this vaccination. The vaccination is administered as early as 6-8 weeks old and is boostered every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old or as advised by your veterinarian. The vaccine in then boostered a year later and will continue to be administered annually or every three years depending on your veterinarians protocol. For more information on this Feline Distemper visit: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4952250


-Feline Leukemia Virus (FELV)- This virus is most commonly spread through contact with infected saliva but can also shed through urine, feces and blood. It can easily be spread by an infected cat by sharing water or food bowls, grooming one another, bite wounds and shared litter boxes. Symptoms of FELV can be weight loss, fever, diarrhea, lethargy or pale gums. Infected cats may not show symptoms for quite some time. Kittens are most commonly affected and can be started as early as 8 weeks old and will need to be boostered again 3-4 weeks later. The vaccine will then need to be boostered again a year later if the cat is "at risk" which generally means they are an indoor/outdoor cat with possible exposure to other cats or if they are in a household with a known FELV positive cat. This vaccine can be given annually or every three years depending on your veterinarians protocol. For more information on Feline Leukemia Virus visit: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951934


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