Vaccination Myths Vs Reality
Myth: Once Ive had my kitten vaccinated theyre immune for life.
Reality: Unfortunately, this isnt true. Its important to have your cat vaccinated every year to maintain his or her immunity against disease. While most brands of vaccines dont need to include all the viruses every year, your kitten will need an annual booster against at least one of the viruses every year.
Myth: Feline leukaemia is rare, so my cat wont need that injection.
Reality: Sadly, feline leukaemia is still a common cause of early death in young cats in the UK. Its especially prevalent in urban areas and among unneutered animals. What I often see in my surgery is that kittens living in multi-cat households are also at risk.
Myth: Vaccinations make my pet feel poorly.
Reality: In my view, this is extremely unlikely. All feline vaccines are a modified form of the disease that they protect against and adverse reactions are very rare. Some kittens may be a little quiet and off food for 24-48 hours, but this is a fairly normal reaction to a vaccination very similar to how we might feel after routine jabs. Anything more severe should always be reported to your vet.
Myth: My kitten is never in contact with other pets, so it wont need to be vaccinated.
Myth: Pets are given boosters too often.
Myth: I missed giving my pet a booster last year, but I can just give him/her one this year instead.
How Kitten Vaccinations Work
Kittens receive a series of vaccines over an 8- to 12-week period beginning at between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Some vaccines might be given together in one injection that is called a combination vaccine. At your kitten’s first veterinary exam, your vet will discuss a vaccination schedule as well as other treatments, such as deworming and beginning parasite prevention.
The vaccine injection itself is typically not painful. Your kitten may feel a little pinch or sting, but many do not react at all.
At the first vaccine visit, your veterinarian will do an examination before vaccinating your kitten. Vaccines should never be given to a kitten with a fever or illness as the vaccine will not be effective. Giving a vaccine to a sick kitten can actually make her feel worse.
After a vaccine is administered, immunity is not immediate. It takes about seven to 10 days after the second vaccination to become effective. However, kittens with remaining maternal antibodies for that disease will not be affected by the vaccine. There is no way to be certain if a kitten still has maternal antibodies, so boosters are necessary. True immunity is uncertain until about 16 to 18 weeks of age, or until all kitten boosters are completed. Avoid exposing your kitten to unknown animals until all vaccinations have been given.
Frequency Of Vaccinations For Adult Cats And Boarding Facility Requirements
The frequency of feline booster vaccinations varies from 1-3 years depending on the vaccine, the disease, and the risk of disease exposure to the individual cat. In general, it is recommended by expert panels on feline vaccination that cats who stay at a boarding cattery require an annual vaccination schedule as this can be a higher risk situation than a normal home environment . This is because boarding may be stressful for a cat and stress has immunosuppressive effects which may result in increased susceptibility to infection and disease and additionally there can be a higher risk of exposure to infectious disease.
For these reasons, it is still recommended that a cat should have a vaccination within 12 months of entering a boarding facility, and why almost all cat boarding facilities require cats to have received a vaccination booster within 12 months prior to admission to the facility.
It is best to speak to your vet about your cats individual needs. Your veterinarian will always do a health check before administering a vaccination to ensure your kitten or cat is healthy to be vaccinated. In addition, this provides an excellent opportunity for your veterinarian to fully examine your cat and discuss any health issues. This allows any health concerns that your cat may have to be addressed as early as possible, giving your cat the best chance possible to be healthy and comfortable.
Recommended Reading: Cvs Tetanus
Do All Kittens Have Worms
Not all kittens have worms , but most of them do. The same milk that protects nursing kittens from disease and provides nutrition also carries intestinal worms, so drinking mothers milk can transfer worms to young kittens shortly after birth. Infection can occur even earlier – before kittens are born – because some intestinal parasites are transmitted to kittens through the blood stream while they are still in the womb. Since kittens can become infected so early and since intestinal parasites can cause severe illness, treatment needs to begin when the kitten is only a couple of weeks old.
A microscopic examination of a stool sample will identify which worms the kitten is infected with so a specific treatment plan can be prescribed. Since many kittens are infected with the more common intestinal worms, your veterinarian may routinely administer a broad-spectrum dewormer that is safe and effective against several species of intestinal worms. This medication, which kills adult worms, is given every 2-3 weeks to target the most susceptible stage of the worms lifecycle. For other types of intestinal parasites, different medications and treatment intervals are required.
“Not all kittens have worms, but most of them do.”
There are other less common parasites that can infect kittens, such as coccidia and giardia that require special treatment. Both of these parasites can be identified with a stool sample examined under the microscope.
What Is The Kitten Vaccination Schedule
All kittens need vaccinations to help keep them healthy. Vaccinations, by definition, protect your kitten from contracting specific diseases. Cat vaccinations are divided into two types:
- Core cat vaccinations are those that protect against especially common and/or particularly dangerous diseases and are recommended for all kittens and adult cats.
- Non-core vaccinations are not necessarily recommended for all cats. Instead, these vaccines are recommended only for those cats that are at high risk of infection. In the case of non-core vaccinations, your cats lifestyle must be evaluated to determine the risk of disease and whether the risk associated with vaccination is greater than the risk of your cat getting the disease.
Also Check: Cvs Tdap Booster
Vaccines Truths And Myths
As with many medical interventions, there is often a misunderstanding of the benefits and risks of vaccination. This misunderstanding can sometimes lead well intentioned cat owners to make misinformed decisions about this vital aspect of feline health maintenance. Here are some examples of truths and myths regarding feline vaccination.
- Vaccination protects all cats by making disease transmission less likely
- No vaccine is 100 percent effective, and the effectiveness of different vaccines varies
- Although uncommon, all feline vaccines carry the risk of feline injection site sarcoma
- Vaccinating a cat against a disease can treat that disease
- Vaccinating a cat against a disease causes that disease
- All cats should receive every vaccine available for cats
How Do Vaccines Work
Vaccines work by stimulating the body’s immune system to recognize and fight a particular microorganism such as a virus, bacteria, or other infectious organism. Once vaccinated, the animal’s immune system is then primed, or prepared to react to a future infection with that microorganism. In other words, the vaccine mimics a true infection so that the immune system can better protect the body in the future.
“the vaccine will help the body prevent infection or lessen the severity of infection and promote rapid recovery.”
Depending on the disease, the vaccine will help the body prevent infection or lessen the severity of infection and promote rapid recovery.
While a vaccine can prevent illness, it cannot block microorganisms from getting into the body. This means that sometimes a cat may not look sick thanks to the vaccine, but the cat can still spread the invading microorganisms to other cats. This is not a major consideration in the pet cat but may be important in the breeding colony.
Recommended Reading: Does Cvs Give Tdap Shots
What Are Cat Vaccinations
Several serious feline-specific diseases afflict many cats every year. To protect your kitten from contracting a preventable condition, its critical to have them vaccinated. Its equally imperative to follow up your kittens first vaccinations with regular booster shots during their lifetime, even if you expect Fluffy to be an indoor companion.
The aptly named booster shots boost your cats protection against a variety of feline diseases after the effects of the initial vaccine wear off. There are booster shots for different vaccines given on specific schedules. Your vet can provide advice on when you should bring your cat back for more booster shots.
Vaccinations For Kittens And Cats
Kittens need a series of a few different vaccinations to give them full protection. The schedule typically starts when theyre about 6 to 8 weeks old, and runs until theyre about 16 weeks. After that, cats need boosters every year to a few years to help keep their immunity going strong. We always recommend keeping vaccination records handy to help you make sure theyre up to date.
Read Also: How Much Does Shingles Vaccine Cost At Cvs
Why Does My Kitten Need More Than One Vaccination
Immediately after birth, a kitten receives a temporary form of immunity through the colostrum, which is the milk produced by mother cats shortly after birth, laden with protective antibodies. This first milk is produced only for a few days after birth and contains proteins called maternal antibodies. For about 24-48 hours after birth, the kitten’s intestine allows absorption of these antibodies directly into the blood stream. This passive immunity protects the kitten during its first few weeks of life when its immune system is immature, but in order to remain protected against these diseases, the kitten must produce its own, longer-lasting active immunity.
“In order to remain protected against diseases, the kitten must produce its own, longer-lasting active immunity.”
Vaccinations stimulate active immunity, but they have to be given at just the right time. As long as the mother’s antibodies are present in the kittens bloodstream, they prevent the immune system from responding effectively to the vaccines. When a kitten is ready to respond to vaccinations depends on the level of immunity in the mother cat, the amount of antibody absorbed by the nursing kitten, and the general health and nutrition of the kitten.
To keep up the cats immunity through adulthood, vaccines are repeated once every 1-3 years depending on individual circumstances and vaccine type.
Lifestyle Vaccines For Cats
Some cats will need lifestyle/ non-core vaccinations depending on the lifestyle they live. Your veterinarian will let you know which ones your kitty should get. This type of vaccine protects you cat from the following conditions:
- Feline immunodeficiency virus and Feline Leukemia – These vaccines usually are only recommended for cats that are outdoors often and protects them against viral infections which are contracted from close contact exposure.
- Bordetella – A highly contagious bacteria that causes upper respiratory infections. Your vet might suggest this this vaccine if you are taking your cat to a boarding kennel or groomer.
- Chlamydophila felis – This vaccination is often part of the distemper combination vaccine. It protects your cat from Chlamydia which is a bacterial infection that causes severe conjunctivitis.
Read Also: Cost Of Tdap At Cvs
Which Are The Most Important Vaccinations To Have
The answer to this difficult question depends on individual circumstances, including the area you live in and the lifestyle of your cat.
“Certain vaccines are more routinely given and are regarded as core vaccines.”
As mentioned, certain vaccines are more routinely given and are regarded as core vaccines. Others may or may not be advised, depending on the particular situation of your cat. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you of the most appropriate vaccination schedule for your cat. The following is a list of disease that affect cats:
Feline panleukopenia infection . This is an uncommon disease today because of widespread vaccination, but the risk remains widespread. When disease occurs, it is a severe and often fatal gastroenteritis , with profound depression, dehydration, and collapse . It is very contagious to other cats. Vaccination provides a high level of long lasting protection.
Feline infectious peritonitis . FIP is caused by a coronavirus. Infection with coronavirus is common, but development of FIP is less common. We do not understand why some infections lead to fatal disease whereas the majority of infections cause only minor illness . Vaccines may be advised in some high-risk situations.
What Is The Difference Between The Various Types Of Vaccine
There are three major types of vaccine:
1. Modified live vaccines. These vaccines contain live organisms that are weakened or genetically modified so that they will not produce disease but will multiply in the cat’s body. Live vaccines induce a stronger, longer lasting immunity than inactivated vaccines. It is not advisable to use modified live vaccines in pregnant queens or cats whose immune system is not working properly , or other diseases).
2. Killed vaccines. These vaccines are prepared using actual organisms or genetically modified organisms that have been killed by various treatments. On their own, they do not give as high a level of protection as the live, replicating type of vaccine, so killed vaccines may have an adjuvant to make the immune response stronger.
3. Subunit vaccines. These are more commonly called recombinant-DNA vaccines. These are vaccines in which the infectious organism has been broken apart and only certain parts are included in the vaccine.
“Some vaccines are intranasal but the majority are given by injection.”
Many vaccines come as combinations, so that protection against more than one disease is achieved in a single injection or administration. Some vaccines are intranasal , but the majority are given by injection. Your veterinarian will advise you on the most appropriate vaccines for your cat.
Recommended Reading: Does Cvs Do Tetanus Shots
Providing Your Cat With Post
Veterinary Care And Vaccinations For Kittens
Its a no-brainer, but your cat must be immunised to protect her from harmful, sometimes fatal, disease.
Before you pick up your new kitten and take it home, make sure that they have had their first vaccination. Kittens should receive they first vaccination between 6 to 8 weeks of age. This first vaccination starts to build your kittens defences against any potentially serious diseases.
Recommended Reading: Cvs Tdap Vaccine
Selecting A Veterinarian For Routine Exams And Insurance Coverage
Your kittens veterinarian is your partner in health, helping you take the very best care. You should feel comfortable with the veterinarians credentials, her attitude toward your pets care, and her ability to have an open dialogue with you. Does she specialize in cats? Ask your friends or neighbours for recommendations, call the local veterinary medical association or check the Yellow Pages for names in your area. Your veterinarian should also have an office and clinic fairly close to your home in an emergency, youll be glad you saved the time. If your veterinarian does not have 24-hour emergency service, keep the name and phone number of one near your telephone.
Missing A Vaccination Or Booster
If your puppy or kitten is more than 2 weeks late for booster vaccination, their immune system will no longer be as active, and this means that there will be less of an immune response from the subsequent vaccination. The action taken by your vet will primarily depend on how late you are with the appointment. If this is more than 3 or 4 weeks, your furbaby may be given two vaccinations just 2 or 3 weeks apart to boost their immunity against the disease. Please note that this doesnt apply to rabies vaccinations.
Until your puppy or kitten has been vaccinated and your vet is happy that they are fully protected against contagious diseases, you should be sure to keep them away from unvaccinated animals and keep them off of the ground anywhere other than your own home and yard.
For more advice on what to do if your puppy or kitten misses a vaccination or booster, please dont hesitate to get in contact with our knowledgeable veterinary team.
Read Also: Cvs Tdap Vaccine Schedule
I Canine Vaccination Guidelines
Canine Core VaccinesCore vaccines are recommended for all puppies and dogs with an unknown vaccination history. The diseases involved have significant morbidity and mortality and are widely distributed, and in general, vaccination results in relatively good protection from disease. These include vaccines for canine parvovirus , canine distemper virus , canine adenovirus , and rabies. In addition, the leptospirosis vaccine is now recommended as a core vaccine for dogs in California because the disease has the potential to occur in any dog , can be life-threatening, and the vaccines are considered safe and efficacious, with recent improvements in safety over the last decade.
Canine Rabies Virus VaccinesIn accordance with California state law, we recommend that puppies receive a single dose of killed rabies vaccine at 12 weeks or 3 months of age. Adult dogs with unknown vaccination history should also receive a single dose of killed rabies vaccine. A booster is required one year later, and thereafter, rabies vaccination should be performed every 3 years using a vaccine approved for 3-year administration.