When Should My Kitten Have Their First Vaccination
Kittens need a course of two vaccinations to protect them from potentially fatal infections feline infectious enteritis and feline influenza .
There is also a vaccination that offers protection from the feline leukaemia virus which can affect the immune system.
The first injection can be given from nine weeks of age, with the second three to four weeks after the first injection.
Kittens should be kept away from other cats and stay indoors for seven days after the second injection to ensure maximum protection.
To maintain the level of protection provided by vaccination, adult cats require regular boosters. Your vet will advise on what is required and when.
What Vaccines Do Cats Need Are We Under
When researching this article, I did not speak to experts with all possible perspectives, of which there are many on the topic of vaccines, or I could have authored a book. I spoke with leaders with undeniable expertise, many who helped craft the American Association of Feline Practitioners Guidelines for Vaccines.
Love or hate vaccines, its a fact: Vaccination plays an important role in the control of infectious diseases, both for an individual as well as for the cat population at large . Every several years, feline experts come together to update the AAFP vaccine guidelines. The most recent panel, in 2013, was chaired by Dr. Margie Scherk, editor of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
After reviewing literature regarding feline vaccines, Dr. Scherk comes down with a vastly different conclusion compared with what some cat caretakers contend. She says, Were not over-vaccinating were actually under-vaccinating cats.
Her explanation is that, for starters, too many cats never see a veterinarian until that individual cat is clearly very ill. Obviously, if the cat isnt seeing a veterinarian, the cat isnt getting vaccinated. Also, concerns of some cat caretakers is a roadblock: about the need for specific vaccines, that their own cat is being vaccinated too often, concerns about injection site sarcoma and, in some instances, the vaccine cost.
How Frequently Should My Cat Be Vaccinated
All kittens should receive their core vaccinations and any others that are agreed between you and your vet. The initial vaccine course is often started at 8-9 weeks of age, with a second injection 3-4 weeks later. It is now common also to recommend a third vaccination at 16-20 weeks of age to ensure the kitten is properly protected.
A first booster vaccination should be given 12 months later to ensure a good level of continuing protection. However, after that, the frequency of booster vaccinations may be only every 1-3 years depending on the vaccine, disease and risk of with the individual cat.
Cats that stay at a boarding cattery will generally require an annual vaccination as this is a higher risk situation.
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Why Does My Cat Need Vaccinations
Some diseases pose a major risk to cats and kittens and can even kill, but thankfully vaccinations can reduce the risk.
In the UK, cats and kittens should be protected against feline enteritis and cat flu, and also inoculated against feline leukaemia if they go outside, or, if they themselves stay in the home but live with other cats who do go outside.
Catteries are likely to insist your cat is vaccinated before they will allow your cat to board there.
Frequency Of Core Vaccinations
Kittens under 6 months of age are most susceptible to infectious diseases, so they are considered a primary focus of vaccination recommendations.
Maternal antibodies passed on from the mother are meant to confer some degree of protection against diseases, but they also interfere with, or even inactivate, the bodys response to vaccination.
For this reason, initial core kitten vaccinations occur at three- to four-week intervals until the cat is 16-20 weeks old and maternal antibodies are out of the system.
For any cat over 16 weeks old whose vaccine history is unknown, the initial series consists of two doses given three to four weeks apart.
Core vaccines should be boosted one year after the initial series.
The scientific community is still learning exactly how long these vaccines last. Currently, the recommendation for indoor/outdoor cats is to administer the FVRCP vaccine annually.
For indoor-only cats, the recommendation is to administer the vaccine every three years. Cats heading into stressful situations, such as boarding, may benefit from a core vaccine booster 7-10 days before.
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What To Expect After Cat Vaccinations
After your cat receives vaccines, she might be a little sore at the injection site for a few days. The feeling is likely similar to what people feel after getting a flu vaccine.Its best to avoid touching your cat in the area where she was injected with the vaccine. Some cats are a little sleepy or lazy after getting shots, but this generally goes away on its own by the next day.
How Long Do Cat Vaccines Last
The length of vaccination protection depends on the disease, the type of vaccine used and your cats immune system. As a general rule, FeLV vaccination protection lasts for about a year, and herpes, calici and panleukopenia last for around three years. However, this can last a little longer if youve kept your cats vaccines up to date throughout their lives. If youre unsure whether your cat is still protected by their vaccines, speak to your vet to discuss their specific situation.
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What Else Can My Cat Be Vaccinated Against
There are a few more vaccines designed to protect your cat, however your vet can help you decide whether these are necessary.
Other vaccines for your cat include:
- feline leukaemia virus . This virus causes a fatal disease, your cat is most at risk if they go outdoors. Read more about FeLV
- chlamydophila felis. This bacteria can cause conjunctivitis in cats and is another of the infectious agents responsible for cat flu. Read more about chlamydophila felis
- bordetella bronchiseptica. This bacteria causes flu-like symptoms in cats and can cause kennel cough in dogs
- rabies. Cats travelling abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme must have been vaccinated against rabies virus
Core Vaccines For Cats Include:
Your veterinarian can tell you which non-core vaccines are recommended for your cat or kitten based on your cats lifestyle, age, exposure risk, and health status. Your veterinarian may not recommend continued FeLV vaccination after a year of age for an indoor-only cat that lives alone or has no FeLV-infected housemates.
It is important to note that, although a vaccine for feline immunodeficiency virus was once available, its effectiveness was questionable and the vaccine is no longer produced or distributed in North America. Vaccination against FIV is no longer recommended by the AAFP.
Additionally, although a vaccine for feline infectious peritonitis exists, the AAFP does not recommend vaccination for FIP. Vaccination against Bordetella bronchiseptica and Chlamydia felis is uncommon in cats. These vaccines are generally reserved for cats living in high-risk environments like shelters with a history of outbreaks of upper respiratory infections due to these bacteria.
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Are Cat Vaccinations Required By Law
Rabies is the only cat vaccination required by law in the state of Pennsylvania. This is due primarily to the threat rabies poses to human beings, and the speed at which rabies can spread. Although other cat and kitten vaccinations are not legally required by law, they are important to protect your cat from serious disease.
How Are Sarcomas Diagnosed
Injection-site sarcomas must be differentiated from other types of vaccine associated reactions, which can include mild symptoms such as weakness and fever to the development of hard lumps at the vaccine site after vaccination. Always tell your veterinarian if you cat has any symptoms lasting more than a few days, or your cat has severe signs like trouble breathing.
Varied diagnostic and treatment plans might be needed so your veterinarian can develop treatment options to your pet.
Although advanced imaging may not be feasible for all, the AAFP suggests that the best prognosis for these tumors is when advanced imaging is done to determine ideal ways forward. This is because advanced imaging is the best way to know the extent of tumor involvement.
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When Should Kittens Be Vaccinated
Your kitten will need two sets of vaccinations to get them started – their first set at nine weeks old and a second booster set at three months old. After this, kittens and cats usually need ‘booster’ vaccinations once a year.
Until your kitten is fully vaccinated , you should keep him or her inside.
Is It Safe To Get Multiple Cat Vaccinations At The Same Time
Yes, it is safe. And because I know most cats don’t enjoy car rides very much, the preference is to go ahead and get them all at one time. A rare cat doesn’t feel well after a vaccine, just like a person who receives a flu vaccine. And in those instances, we can discuss splitting them apart, but I think that the benefits of getting them all done at one time for a cat way outweigh the multiple trips that would be required for them to come in.
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Does Cat Insurance Cover Vaccinations
Most pet insurance policies dont cover vaccinations or other preventative medicine without purchasing a rider . This means your premium will go up, and they may only cover the core vaccines and not any additional ones, Dr. Bonk said. Be sure to read the fine print on any pet insurance policy before purchasing.
While pet insurance policies usually dont cover vaccines, having pet insurance can help tremendously if your cat were to have an emergency and require surgery.
Pet insurance can also help older cats who might be diagnosed with a disease and require special medical care.
Cat vaccinations are an important part of owning a happy and healthy cat. Always consult your veterinarian to make sure youre keeping up with your cat’s shots and that shes getting the ones she needs.
Should Rabies Be A Core Cat Vaccine
However, not everyone agrees. Dr. Donna Alexander, administrator of Cook County Animal and Rabies Control says that rabies vaccines for cats should be considered core just as they are for dogs. Rabies has got to be core for cats, says Dr. Richard Ford, emeritus professor of medicine, North Carolina State University. And, in fact, over half the states require rabies vaccines for cats by law.
Most people think their cats are strictly indoors and never can be exposed, Dr. Alexander adds. Thats a fallacy. We have bats found in homes. And many of those people have cats, and those cats dont go out. They find the bat and even deliver the dead or nearly dead bat to family members as they would a mouse.
Also, so many mostly or exclusively outdoor cats may not be vaccinated at all, and they have a potentially high exposure to skunks, raccoons and other wildlife, which may carry rabies.
Based on the CDC recommendation, if an unvaccinated cat comes into contact with any animal thought to be rabid, that unvaccinated cat will be quarantined or euthanized.
Vaccine-related reactions due to the rabies vaccine are about one in a million and are likely not life threatening, Dr. Alexander says. Rabies kills 100 percent of the time, not to mention that anyone exposed to a cat thought to have rabies requires painful and expensive rabies desensitization themselves.
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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.
Protect Your Kitten With Vaccinations
Vaccination plays an important part in a preventative healthcare routine for your kitten. Feline vaccines help to prevent some serious and life-threatening diseases which your cat is at risk of catching. Your vet will help to decide which vaccines would be best for your kitten and how often they should be given, this depends on the age of your cat, where you live and your cats lifestyle. Regular health checks with your veterinarian are important to detect problems early and keep your cat healthy throughout his life.
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Kitten Vaccines Or Primary Course
- If your cat/kitten has never had a vaccine before, they will need *two injections 3-4 weeks apart this is usually at 9 and 12 weeks old.
- They will be fully protected 3-4 weeks after their final injection.
- Protection lasts 1 year, after which theyll need a booster.
*Some kittens need a third injection at 15 weeks.
Are Vaccines Safer Now
The USDA and vaccine companies place great emphasis on vaccine safety and continually work to improve the safety profiles of vaccines. In addition, increased research on duration of vaccine immunity has made it possible to avoid over-vaccination and unnecessary risk to the patient. However, it is important to remember that all vaccines carry some risk and no vaccine is 100% safe.
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Types Of Vaccines For Cats
Vaccinations for cats fall into two basic types core vaccines and non-core vaccines .
Core vaccinations are recommended for all cats. These vaccinations are considered vital for protecting your cat from the following common and serious feline conditions:
- Feline herpesvirus type I
Non-core vaccinations or lifestyle vaccinations are suitable for some cats, based on their lifestyle. Your vet will advise you as to which non-core vaccines are recommended for your cat. Non-core vaccines include protection against:
- Feline leukemia virus
- Feline immunodeficiency virus
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.
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Why Do Indoor Cats Need Vaccinations
If your cat lives exclusively indoors, they will still need to be vaccinated against cat flu and panleukopenia, but may not need the FeLV vaccine. This is because FeLV only usually spreads between cats in close and regular contact, but cat flu and panleukopaenia are very infectious and can spread on clothes, shoes, and other surfaces. If you have an indoor cat, discuss their vaccinations with your vet to find the best schedule for them.
What Are The Risks Of Vaccination
There are very few risks to vaccination. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on specific details concerning your pet. You may notice your cat has a temporary loss of appetite or is less lively a day or two after a vaccination, but this should resolve within 24-48 hours. Very few cats may be allergic to one or more components of the vaccine and have more serious side effects such as difficulty in breathing, vomiting or diarrhea. If these signs occur, contact your veterinarian immediately.
“You may notice your cat has a temporary loss of appetite or is less lively a day or two after a vaccination, but this should resolve within 24-48 hours.”
A rare form of soft tissue sarcoma known as vaccine-associated or injection-sitefibrosarcoma has been associated with a reaction to vaccine components or medication in a very small number of genetically susceptible cats. This association is controversial, and studies are in progress to investigate whether the association is real. The benefits of vaccination greatly outweigh these small risks in most situations .
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What Are The Recommended Kitten And Cat Vaccination Schedules
Kitten vaccinations and cat vaccinations are dependent upon several factors, including preexisting medical conditions and indoor or outdoor living situations. You should always discuss these factors with a veterinarian to determine what your cat vaccine schedule should be. However, we have listed an approximate cat vaccine schedule here for an Ôaverage’ indoor housecat to give you an idea of a cat vaccination timeline:
- 6-10 Weeks Old: FVRCP
- 11-14 Weeks Old: FVRCP , FeLV
- 15+ Weeks Old: FVRCP , FeLV , rabies vaccine