Kitty vaccines protect your new pet
Kittens receive immunity against infectious disease in the mother’s milk; however, this protection begins to disappear in the first few months of life.
To protect kittens during this critical time, a well-researched approach is taken: A series of vaccines is given every 3 to 4 weeks until the chance of contracting an infectious disease is very low.
The typical vaccine is a “combination” that protects against feline distemper virus, feline calicivirus, and feline herpesvirus. Rabies vaccines are given between 16 and 26 weeks of age in most states (governed by law). Some cats are also immunized against feline leukemia virus.
The usual approach is to test the kitten for feline leukemia at the time of initial vaccination to ensure the cat is not harboring the virus. The use of other vaccinations is on a case-by-case basis. Booster immunizations are given during the first one or two years of “adult” life.
You should discuss all vaccination programs with your veterinarian.
If the risk of feline leukemia virus exposure is significant (out-of-doors cats), the leukemia virus vaccine sequence should be administered. Other vaccines are given on a case-by-case basis. Some veterinarians use traditional “shots” for vaccination while others use a combination of injections and intra-nasal vaccines. The rabies vaccines should be given as required by local laws.
Vaccines can save your cat’s life
Vaccinations have saved the lives of millions of cats.
Before the days of effective vaccines, cats routinely died from panleukopenia (“feline distemper”) and complications of upper respiratory (herpesvirus, calicivirus) infections. Newer vaccines are available to protect against feline leukemia virus infection and Feline AIDS. Current vaccination programs also protect our cats (and us) from the threat of rabies.
Kittens should get vaccinated at 2, 3 and 4 months of age, then a year later as adults to protect against feline panleukopenia (“distemper”), the upper respiratory viruses (herpesvirus, calicivirus). Thereafter we vaccinate cats every 3 years against PRC, but yearly against leukemia and rabies . Cats that go outside, go boarding, to the groomers or live in multi-cat households should be vaccinated against Leukemia every year as well. Vaccination against Feline AIDS is not yet widespread
The major concern about repeated vaccinations in cats is the issue of feline vaccine-associated sarcoma, a cancer that develops in approximately 1 of every 10,000 cats near the site of vaccination. Newer vaccines have been developed that are purer and contain no adjuvants which are thought to be the cause of these tumors and thererby greatly decrease the risk of tumor formation.