Kittens are all born with maternally derived antibodies (MDAs) which provides some protection against the below mentioned diseases. These MDAs reduce with time, and vaccination is then required to provide protection against these illnesses.
- -An initial vaccination is given at 8 weeks followed by a top up vaccination 2- 6 weeks later. A booster vaccination is then given 1 year from then. Booster vaccinations are required thereafter, however the type of vaccination protocol needed, may differ, depending on your cat’s individual lifestyle.
There are a number of nasty diseases which cats can be vaccinated against, namely, feline infectious rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, feline panleucopaenia, chlamydophila felis, and feline leukaemia virus. These are outlined briefly below.
Feline infectious rhinotracheitis
- 1 of the 2 main causes of ‘cat flu’, this herpes virus causes severe and possibly fatal upper respiratory symptoms.
- Corneal ulcers can also be a symptom.
- It is spread by direct contact from infected nasal and salivary secretions.
- It has an incubation period of 2-5 days
- The 2nd most common cause of ‘cat flu’
- Causes severe respiratory disease and can also cause severe inflammation of the gums
- It is very contagious and can have a high mortality (death) rate.
- This parvovirus is a particularly nasty one which can be very aggressive causing a multitude of clinical signs.
- It attacks the gastrointestinal system and causes a low white blood cell count, but can also cause anaemia and low platelet counts.
- Clinical signs range from dullness and anorexia, to vomiting, diarrhoea, severe dehydration and death.
- Even with treatment this disease has an extremely high mortality rate especially in young cats.
Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV)
- FeLV is a debilitating disease attacking the cat’s immune system causing immune suppression. This leaves them more susceptible to general infections.
- It may also cause anaemia, leukaemia and lymphoma(tumours).
- It is highly contagious and can be spread through direct contact and cat bites.
- There is no cure
- Prognosis for infected cats can be very poor.
- This is a bacteria, which causes severe conjunctivitis with concurrent rhinitis and sneezing.
- It is spread by direct contact
- Usually affects younger cats.