Vaccinations play an important role in the prevention of serious diseases in your cat. Not every cat needs every vaccine available. At Cliffdale Animal Hospital we recommend vaccines according to the life style of your cat.
Is your kitty strictly inside? We recommend kittens or young cats be vaccinated for feline panleukopenia (distemper), rhinotraceitis, calici and rabies.
Panleukopenia virus causes vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite and can result in death. Rhinotracheitis and calicivirus are upper respiratory viruses with discharge from the eyes, congestion of the nasal passages and lack of appetite. These viruses can easily be transmitted from one cat to another and you can bring it home on your clothing and shoes. Cats that survive the upper respiratory viruses can remain carriers for life, spreading the disease to other cats. The rhinotracheitis and calici viruses can also survive up to a year in the environment.
Young cats are also very susceptible to feline leukemia, so the Doctor may recommend this vaccine as well. Cats that will live outside should also be vaccinated for feline leukemia. Unneutered male cats that live outside often get into fights with other cats and can help spread feline leukemia and other viruses like FIV.
Feline leukemia virus can cause a multitude of health problems ranging from attacking the immune system and causing secondary infections to cancer. This virus can hide in affected cats for months and years before symptoms surface.
Rabies is an incurable viral disease that attacks the nervous system in almost all mammals, including cats, dogs, and yes, humans. Seizures, restlessness, agitation, paralysis, muscle weakness, inability to swallow, drooling are just a few symptoms exhibited before death. It is spread through contact with the saliva of an infected animal through breaks in the skin, such as a bite or open unprotected wounds. We have problems here in NC with foxes, raccoons, coyotes, skunks and bats carrying the virus. A rabid animal has abnormal behavior-any wild animal that approaches a human is suspect. They may be seen during the daylight hours when they are normally out at night. There is no cure once an animal or human exhibits symptoms.
Of course, cats that are outside are at a greater risk of being exposed to these diseases. In the case of rabies, the vaccine is required by law. If your cat should bite someone and it has never had a rabies vaccine, it will have to go into quarantine or be humanly euthanized. If your cat is outside and attacked by an animal suspected of or confirmed to have rabies it will need to get a booster.
When your kitten is older, its immune system will be developed enough to get the 3 year vaccines.
Vaccines are available to protect you and your cat from the heartache of losing a pet from a disease that could have been prevented.