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How do you show love to a purring pet? By buying the best food and interesting toys, spending time playing together and protecting against serious diseases. The latter is ensured by vaccinating cats – thanks to them, the feline immune system will be able to effectively fight against pathogens that attack it. In Poland, vaccinations are not obligatory, but it is worth having them to make sure that our purring pet is safe.
Vaccinations for cats – what to do?
There are three vaccines for cats that you should give your pet. They protect against the most dangerous diseases, the effects of which can even be fatal.
Vaccinating the cat – panleukopenia
It is a very contagious and difficult to treat disease caused by FPV virus belonging to the parvovirus group. It manifests itself as vomiting, diarrhea (often with blood), fever, and loss of appetite and general apathy. This disease can lead to dehydration and anemia, which is especially dangerous for feline babies. In their case, panleukopenia is often fatal.
Vaccinating the cat against calicivirus
A very contagious virus that causes a disease known as cat runny nose. Its symptoms include sneezing, inflammation of the lining of the nose and mouth, serous or purulent discharge from the nose and eyes, fever, inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Cat colds from feline calicivirus are usually relatively mild. However, severe systemic FCV infections are becoming more common, and may lead to inflammation of the liver, intestines, pancreas and the cells that line the blood vessels. This severe form of calicivirus can be fatal to up to half of sick cats, so vaccination of your cat is especially important.
Feline herpesvirus – when to vaccinate a cat?
This is another virus that causes the so-called cat runny nose, specifically – acute inflammation of the nasal cavity and trachea. Symptoms of the disease in kittens are cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis, fever and weakness. chronic conjunctivitis also occurs in adult animals. FHV-1 feline herpesvirus, if left untreated, can lead to life-threatening pneumonia and blindness.
Cats vaccinations – what else to do?
Is that all? Unfortunately, animals are exposed to many other diseases. Vaccination of the cat can prevent their development. Experts especially recommend vaccinations against:
- chlamydia, the bacteria that causes conjunctivitis;
- feline leukemia – an incurable infectious disease that impairs the functioning of the immune system. Approx. 50% of cats diagnosed with FeLV die within two years.
When to vaccinate a cat?
In terms of immunity, kittens are no different from human babies: immediately after birth, they are protected by antibodies obtained from the mother. This natural defense shield begins to weaken around 6-8 weeks of age – this is a good time to vaccinate your cat for the first time. The body can react to them properly, i.e. start producing its own antibodies.
Basic cat vaccination – dates
The primary immunization of a cat is against panleukopenia, herpesvirosis and calicivirosis. Combination preparations are made between 6 and 8 weeks of age, then repeated between 11 and 13 weeks and between 16 and 17 weeks. The first booster dose should be given at 6-12 months of age, and then every 2-3 years. The same vaccination package, but after testing for the virus, should be performed on an adult cat taken from the street or from a shelter.
Optional vaccines for cats
When to vaccinate a cat against other diseases? Vaccination against leukemia can be performed as early as 8 weeks of age. You should remember to test for FeLV beforehand – only a healthy cat can be vaccinated. The second dose is given 3-4 weeks later, and the next dose is given every year.
Chlamydia vaccination is started when the cat is 9 weeks old; the next dose is given 2-4 weeks after the first. If the cat is not exposed to the bacteria, e.g. does not leave the house and does not come into contact with other foreign cats, vaccinations do not need to be repeated – otherwise it is recommended to apply subsequent doses every year. Your cat should not be vaccinated against rabies until the cat is 2 months old. The second dose is given one year later, the next ones as you see fit, e.g. in the event of a trip abroad. However, not every cat needs to be vaccinated against everything.
A domestic cat – vaccinate or not?
It depends on the disease you want to protect your pet from, and more specifically – how it is infected. Veterinarians advise that vaccinating cats in an indoor cat should include preparations against panleukopenia, herpesvirosis and calicivirosis. Rabies can be caught after being bitten by a sick animal or by exposing an open wound to the saliva of an infected animal, therefore vaccination of indoor cats is not necessary. Due to the possibility of serious side effects with little risk of infection, doctors advise not to vaccinate against feline leukemia.
Vaccinating a cat – the basis of prevention
Many diseases that are harmful to cats of all ages are preventable. It is possible by vaccinating the cat with appropriate preparations at appropriate intervals. One prick can save the animal from painful symptoms and many weeks of difficult therapy. For this reason, vaccinations should not be skipped.