Initially kittens are provided immunity by antibodies provided to them through their mother’s milk. These antibodies begin to diminish sometime between 6 and 12 weeks of age. It is at this time that you want to begin the vaccine process. We generally recommend beginning with the first round of vaccines at 8 weeks of age and boostering your pet once monthly for a total of three rounds of vaccinations. No vaccine comes with a 100% guarantee, but proper care and vaccinations can greatly reduce the risk to your pet.
Here at Family Pet Hospital we vaccinate our feline companions for the following conditions.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
This virus is transmitted via direct contact and causes upper respiratory tract infection similar to that of the common cold. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, eye & nasal discharge, sneezing, and coughing. Kittens are most at risk, but all unprotected cats can be in danger as treatment is limited. If a cat recovers from infection, it can remain a carrier of this virus for life. Prevention can be obtained through vaccination and environmental management.
Calicivirus causes an upper respiratory infection as well. Symptoms are similar to that of viral rhinotracheitis, except that, calicivirus can cause ulcerations in the mouth, especially on the tongue. Depending on the strain of virus, infection can range from mild to life threatening. Treatment is difficult, and if an animal recovers, they often suffer chronic problems such as: sneezing, runny eyes, & stomatitis (severe inflammation of the gums). Vaccination is an important way to prevent this disease.
Infection with panleukopenia virus carries an extremely high mortality rate. Symptoms consist of lethargy, fever, anorexia, vomiting, watery diarrhea, and eventually death. Unfortunately, treatment is often unsuccessful. If a pregnant cat becomes infected, problems can range from abortion to kittens being born with cerebellar hypoplasia, a developmental brain abnormality resulting in symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. As this virus is often fatal and can live for up to one year in the environment, vaccination is essential to protect your pet.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
The feline leukemia virus (FeLV) works much the same as the HIV virus. It can be transmitted easily through contact with infected fluids, and infected pets may show no symptoms for years. Cats that are positive for FeLV should be kept indoors in single-cat households. Owner’s should be aware that this virus weakens the immune system. This means that their cat will be more easily susceptible to infection and take longer to recover, even with appropriate treatment. Positive cats often lead a shortened life span and are at risk for the development of cancers, such as lymphoma. As there is no treatment for this virus, the best mode of protection is vaccination.
Rabies virus in transmitted when your pet it bitten by an infected animals. The main animals which transmit this virus are: foxes, skunks, raccoons, and especially bats. Symptoms begin with behavioral changes and can progress to aggression, paralysis, seizures, and eventually death. There is no treatment for rabies, and an infected pet poses a risk of infection to the owner. Arizona requires your pet be vaccinated to help prevent the spread of this virus.