Gardens Animal Hospital
Feline Vaccines Explained
We follow guidelines put forth by AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Rabies: Rabies is transmitted through the exchange of blood or saliva from an infected animal. Cats are the number one domestic animal carrier of rabies in the United States. A bite from a wild animal is typically how a cat gets the virus –– and how that cat could then transmit it to a person. Once contracted, the disease is almost always fatal. Luckily, the rabies vaccine can protect your cat from this deadly disease.
FVRCP: The FVRCP vaccination is an important part of your cat’s routine. It prevents three potentially deadly airborne viruses: rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia. Rhinotracheitis is triggered by the common feline herpes virus. Symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and drooling. Your cat's eyes may become crusted with mucous, and he or she may sleep much more and eat much less than normal. If left untreated this disease causes dehydration, starvation, and eventually, death. Calicivirus has similar symptoms, affecting the respiratory system and also causing ulcers in the mouth. It can result in pneumonia if left untreated—kittens and senior cats are especially vulnerable. Panleukopenia is also known as distemper and is easily spread from one cat to another. Distemper is so common that nearly all cats—regardless of breed or living conditions—will be exposed to it in their lifetime. It’s especially common in kittens who have not yet been vaccinated against it, and symptoms include fever, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. This disease progresses rapidly and requires immediate medical attention. Without intervention, a cat can die within 12 hours of contracting the disease. These three viruses can be contracted by cats at any age. Kittens should receive their first FVRCP vaccination at 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by three booster shots once a month. Adult cats should receive a booster once every year or two, according to your vet's recommendation. Adult cats with unknown vaccination records should receive a FVRCP vaccination, plus a booster.
Leukemia: Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a virus that infects only cats. FeLV depresses the immune system and tends to lead to persistent infection. FeLV is an important cause of anemia in cats and can cause cancers of several types. It is found worldwide and is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids. There is no treatment to eliminate the FeLV virus from the body, and the disease is ultimately fatal. Therefore, preventing infection with FeLV through vaccination is highly recommended.
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