Preventive Health Care Recommendations for Cats
Distemper Combination Vaccination (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia)
Respiratory disease is easily passed from one cat to another by droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing. Kittens can die from the disease, especially if they get pneumonia.
Cats with respiratory disease have watery or sticky discharge from the nose and eyes, nose and mouth sores, inflamed eyes, and fever. Most respiratory diseases are caused by one of two viruses—feline viral rhinotracheitis or feline calicivirus. Rhinotracheitis tends to be more severe and can cause abortions in pregnant cats. Panleukopenia, or feline distemper, is an intestinal disease, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
Begin vaccinations at about 8 weeks of age
Revaccinate every 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age
Revaccination should be one year after the initial doses are administered, then every three years to maintain adequate protection
All warm-blooded animals (dogs, cats, livestock, and wildlife) can become infected with rabies virus. Because rabies is also a threat to humans, many states require vaccination of all dogs and cats. Even indoor cats can be exposed to rabies, often by wildlife (especially bats) entering the house.
Rabies is a virus that attacks nerve tissue. The disease develops slowly over 10 days to several months. Infected animals may withdraw and avoid contact with people and animals. Others become unnaturally aggressive and may attack. Death always occurs once a rabies-infected animal shows signs of disease.
In North America, most rabies exists in wildlife, especially raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. Rabies is spread by bite wounds and exposure to the saliva of infected animals. Therefore, an unvaccinated cat involved in a fight with a wild animal, or with wounds from an unknown animal encounter, should be suspect for rabies exposure. When rabies is diagnosed, any exposed, unvaccinated animals must be quarantined for six months or euthanized (humanely destroyed). In contrast, an exposed, vaccinated animal is given a booster vaccine and is then considered safe from infection.
If humans are infected, they can be vaccinated successfully in the early stages of the disease. Treatment, however, is unpleasant and costly.
First vaccination is given at 3 months of age or older
Revaccination is done annually
Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Test (FeLV / FIV Test)
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus are two common viruses in cats. Infection can be from mother to kitten (usually just with FeLV) or from exposure to another infected cat (both FeLV and FIV). All new additions to a household should be tested for these two important diseases. Both viruses affect cats by interfering with the immune system, leaving it unable to fight off other infections. While some cats can successfully fight off an infection with one of these viruses, most cats that become infected will eventually die from a virus-related disease.
Test all new cats; kittens retest 1-2 months later if tested prior to 9 weeks of age
Feline Leukemia vaccination recommendation:
The vaccine for FeLV is well-tested and effective, and we routinely vaccinate all kittens. In adult cats we assess the risk of infection and help the owner decide on a case-by-case basis whether revaccination is needed based on lifestyle.
2 initial vaccinations given 2 to 4 weeks apart. We then recommend revaccination at one year and then as often as annually dependent on life-style risk factors.