Vaccination protects against diseases which can cause your cat to become severely ill and may lead to death or continued ill health. Cats should be routinely protected against three major diseases:
Feline Upper Respiratory Disease (Cat Flu)
- High morbidity (risk of occurrence) but low mortality (death)
- 4 infectious agents may be involved in Cat Flu: Feline Herpes Virus Type 1, Feline Calicivirus, Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Chlamydophila Felis
- Purebred cats are more prone to severe infection
- All ages are susceptible but it is more severe in kittens, elderly cats and immunocompromised cats
- Cats become carriers once clinical signs no longer evident
- Upper respiratory tract is affected
- Clinical signs include inappetance, anorexia (eating nothing), pyrexia (high temperature), conjunctivitis, nasal discharge and salivation
Feline Infectious Enteritis (Feline Panleucopenia)
- Seen in unvaccinated kittens living in close proximity (rescue centre’s)
- Kittens are protected for the first 3 months by maternal antibodies
- Gastrointestinal system and bone marrow are affected
- Clinical signs include pyrexia (high temperature), vomiting, dehydration, depression, anorexia and central nervous system signs
Feline Leukaemia (FELV)
- Kittens are more susceptible than adult cats and are more likely to become persistently affected
- Cats can be carriers of FELV
- Immune system is affected
- The disease is divided into two categories (1) neoplastic (causing cancers) and (2) non-neoplastic
- Clinical signs of neoplastic type is vomiting and diarrhoea, weight loss and lethargy. Non-neoplastic type clinical signs are immunosuppression, anaemia and reproductive disorders
When to vaccinate?
- Vaccination can begin at any time after 9 weeks of age.
- Any combination of vaccination programmes can be initiated at the same time.
- Consult your veterinary surgeon as to your own cat's requirements.
- Some animals may be uncomfortable around the injection site for a day or two after the vaccination.
The Feline Advisory Bureau has a great deal of useful advice and information on cat vaccination and other topics.