The Importance of Vaccinations
With most of the viruses that affect pets today there is still no treatment so we believe that 'Prevention is better than cure'. Sadly we often see pets that have become ill with Feline Leukaemia Virus or Myxomatosis or Infectious Tracheobronchitis that could have had their illnesses prevented or kept to a minimum if only they had been vaccinated.
A vaccine is designed to stimulate your pet's immune system so that they have a 'memory' of a certain disease. This means that if they are unfortunate enough to come across this disease they will be have a much faster and stronger reaction by their immune system to beat the disease and throw it out of their body.
Currently, we recommend yearly boosters for many of these diseases to ensure that your pet's immune system is always vigilant and prepared in its constant fight against disease.
As well as having its 'booster' vaccination, whenever you take your pet to your veterinary surgery it will have a thorough clinical examination that can alert us to problems ranging from bad teeth to heart disease.
These examinations are as vital for the well being of your pet as the vaccination and it is important you discuss any concerns or queries you may have about your pet's health.
Vaccinations for Cats
Did you know that the UK feline population is currently 6.3million? Out of this, only 40% are vaccinated against cat flu and only 28% are vaccinated against Feline Leukaemia virus. Only half of the feline population are vaccinated in their first year and only 37% receive annual booster vaccinations. The most common infectious cause of death in young adult cats of less than one year old is Feline Leukaemia Virus.
Normally, it is advisable for kittens at nine weeks old to be given an initial course of two vaccination injections and these should then be followed by a booster vaccination on an annual basis.
The key vaccinations you need to protect your cat against are:
(a) Feline Leukaemia virus
(b) Cat Flu and
(c) Feline Enteritis.
Although some of these diseases are treatable, some are fatal and it is therefore wise to vaccinate against them to prevent severe discomfort for your pet and stress and anxiety for you. If you have an older animal, it is never too late to start a vaccination programme and your vet will be able to advise you on this. Older animals lack a strong immune system so it is important to keep their boosters up-to-date.
It is also important to remember that most kennels and catteries will not take pets for boarding unless the pets have an up-to-date vaccination record. Accordingly, it is wise to ensure that your pets have their annual booster. If more than 12 months pass after your pet’s last booster vaccination, your pet will have to start a vaccination course again as its resistance will have deteriorated considerably.
Remember, vaccinate before it’s too late – it could save their lives.
When we vaccinate a cat or a kitten we use a multivalent vaccine. This means that with one injection we are actually vaccinating against a variety of diseases. In cats we vaccinate against...
This disease causes a variety of signs including sneezing, runny eyes, tongue and mouth ulcers and eye ulcers. This disease, which is mainly caused by two viruses: Feline Herpes virus and Feline Calici virus can be fatal in kittens if untreated. However, once a cat has had one of these viruses, they are likely to suffer problems on and off for the rest of their life. The viruses are spread either by direct contact between cats or even by sharing food or water bowls. Cats under stress, e.g. cats going into a cattery, are at increased risk.
Feline Enteritis (Feline Parvo virus)
This virus causes severe vomiting, diarrhoea and usually is fatal. It is especially a problem in kittens but can affect adults also.
Feline Leukaemia Virus
This is the largest infectious cause of death in cats in the UK. It kills by causing the development of leukaemia (cancer of the blood cells), anaemia, and even by causing the growth of cancer in the eyes, kidneys, chest, liver and intestinal system. It is passed either by direct cat-to-cat contact, by fighting, or by sharing food bowls because the virus is found in cat's saliva.
Kittens require two injections given from 9 weeks of age to ensure that they have the correct levels of immunity to fight these infections. Thereafter adult cats will be given one injection each year to keep their immunity levels high. Of course, whenever your cat has a vaccination your veterinary surgeon will give your cat an invaluable thorough clinical examination to help detect any early problems and help prevent them from worsening.