Has your cat been vaccinated in the last 12 months? Cat vaccinations are the only way to protect your cat against viral disease.
Vaccinating your cat stimulates its immune system to produce antibodies against the virus, preventing it from causing disease.
There are 3 major cat diseases caused by viruses in Australia that are highly infectious and cause serious illness, even death. Those viruses are….
- Feline Infectious Enteritis (Feline Panleucopenia)
- Feline Respiratory Disease (‘Cat flu’)
- Feline Leukaemia Virus
Other Feline Diseases to be aware of are:
Feline Chlamydia and
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline Infectious Enteritis
Feline Infectious Enteritis is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease – very few cats survive or recover from an attack. Cats of all ages can be affected but kittens and young cats are especially at risk. The virus causes enteritis (inflammation of the intestinal tract) and onset of signs can be very sudden, including:
- High fever
- Loss of appetite and rapid weight loss
- Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
- Sudden death, especially in kittens
- Pregnant cats may lose their kittens or give birth to dead or abnormal kittens
Even with intensive care few cats survive and some that do survive may become ‘carriers’ of the virus, shedding it into the environment to infect other cats.
Feline Infectious Enteritis is very tough and can survive in the environment for long periods, resistant to many common disinfectants and extremes of temperature. Cats can pick up the virus from infected cats and anything contaminated with their droppings, including bedding, feed bowls, clothing and hands of owners.
Feline Leukemia Virus
This virus is spread between cats by fighting or by grooming each other. It causes an immunodeficiency syndrome like Feline AIDS, and predisposes the cat to other illnesses and cancer.
Another common respiratory infection for which a vaccine has only recently been developed is Feline Chlamydia. This disease is principally recognized as conjunctivitis and is seen predominantly in young kittens aged 5 – 9 months. Vaccination against Feline Chlamydia will reduce the duration and severity of clinical signs in cats that are exposed to high challenge situations, such as exhibitions, cat shows, stud cats etc.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Recently released is a new vaccine against Feline AIDS, commonly known as FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), which is spread by cats fighting. Just like human HIV (AIDS), cats infected with FIV can develop a reduced ability to fight off infections as the disease progressively disables the immune system. There is no treatment or cure for the virus itself.
The Feline AIDS vaccine is administered as an initial series of three doses, two to four weeks apart. It is given to kittens at 8 weeks of age or older. Cats more than 6 months of age should be tested to ensure they are free of the AIDS virus before being vaccinated and ideally they should be permanently identified with a microchip. An annual booster is needed to ensure continued protection.
Your veterinarian will recommned this vaccination if your cat is considered to be at risk.
The Feline Aids virus is specific to cats and is not transmissible to humans, dogs or other animal species.
When should my cat be vaccinated?
Vaccination to prevent these diseases is crucial to your cat’s health, but will not prevent disease in cats already infected.
Kittens are vaccinated at approximately monthly intervals from 6 – 8 weeks of age until 16 -18 weeks of age, and then vaccination is annual.
Kittens are given these boosters because the antibodies they got from their mother actually interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Since kittens lose these antibodies at different rates, we give several vaccinations to ensure all kittens will develop sufficient levels of antibodies to protect them during their first year of life.
But, I missed my cat’s vaccination!?
So you missed your cat’s vaccination booster? Or perhaps your cat has never received vaccination? The team at Vet24 can get your cat’s vaccinations up to date with very little fuss. We understand life is busy and sometimes these things get missed. That is why we offer our convenient online booking system and the Vet24 app to work in conjunction and track your pet’s health updates and reminders.