Kittens are vaccinated at 9 weeks of age and then receive a second vaccination at 12 weeks of age. Then thereafter, receive a yearly booster vaccination. Having a yearly vaccination allows to maintain immunity against diseases, and they receive a full health check which allows us to detect any health problems early on.
The vaccinations cover against many infectious diseases:
- Cat Flu
- Feline Infectious Enteritis
- Feline Leukaemia Virus
Feline Herpesvirus (FHV) and Feline Calici virus (FCV) 'Cat Flu'
These are two different viruses which are often grouped as ‘cat flu’ because together they cause the majority of upper respiratory tract infections in cats. They are both contagious and usually transmitted by direct or close contact between cats. (e.g discharge from eyes) They may also survive for short periods of time in the environment, so could be transmitted via shared food bowls, litter trays, bedding or grooming aids.
Cat flu signs include:
- Nasal discharge
- Eye discharge
- Mouth ulcers
Clinical signs vary from mild to extremely severe, and occasionally other complications may develop such as pneumonia. With FHV, even after the initial signs subside, most cats will remain permanently infected and will develop flare ups later on especially when their immune system is low or if they become stressed.
Both of these viruses are extremely common in our cat population and the disease can be severe which is why vaccination is considered important for all cats. Although vaccination does not always prevent infection with these viruses, it will help greatly in reducing the severity of disease.
Feline Infectious Enteritis (Feline Parvovirus, Panleukopenia virus)
Feline Infectious Enteritis is a highly contagious disease, which can be spread through bodily fluids, faeces and fleas. It can also be spread by contaminated items such as food bowls, bedding, floors and contact by hands. Unfortunately, this virus is able to survive for up to several years in the environment and is resistant to many disinfectants.
Cats suffering from the disease will experience sudden vomiting and diarrhoea which is often bloody. Pregnant cats with the virus can pass it onto their unborn kittens, which can affect their brain development and cause mobility problems once born. Infection carries a very high mortality rate, particularly in unvaccinated kittens. We advise all cats and kittens should be vaccinated against this virus as it is much better prevented than treated.
Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)
This virus attacks the immune system and leaves cats more susceptible to infection and illness as well as prone to developing certain cancers. The disease can be transmitted from other infected cats by mutual grooming, sharing food and water, bites from infected cats or passed on from a queen to her kittens.
During early stages of the disease, cats may not show any signs of illness, but as the disease progresses you may notice the following clinical symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Lethargy and other poor health including
- Pale gums
- Poor coat
- Recurrent respiratory tract infections
Infected cats will progressively deteriorate over time. Sadly there is no specific treatment for this virus. Secondary infections are common due to the destructive nature of the disease on the immune system so treatment will be focused on relieving the cat from pain and discomfort. Any cat that tests positive for FeLV should be isolated from other cats and kept indoors to prevent transmission.
You should receive a vaccination card at your kitten or new cat’s first vaccine, it is important to bring this with you every time a vaccination is administered in order to keep it up to date. If your cat is boarding at a cattery, it will require an up to date vaccination card.