Heres When Your Kitten Needs His Shots
When it comes to your kittens vaccines, it can be hard to keep track of which shots he needs and when.
Your veterinarian can help you determine your kittens recommended vaccine schedule, but its helpful for a pet parent to know what to expect so they can have informed discussions with their vet about their kittens health.
The Dodo spoke with Dr. Debra Eldredge, a veterinarian with Senior Tail Waggers, to break down a typical kitten vaccine schedule.
What Shots Do Cats Need
Cats should receive four core vaccinations to protect themselves from highly contagious viruses. These are the shots that your cats need:
- Calicivirus shot: This virus is highly contagious and causes problems in the upper respiratory system of your cat. It can eventually lead to gum sores, conjunctivitis, and lameness.
- Feline Herpesvirus shot: It is another contagious virus that spreads through sneezing, inhalation of droplets, sharing of food and water bowl, and sharing of the litter box. It can cause infections to the upper respiratory system of your cat.
- Panleukopenia shot: This virus can cause high fever, vomiting, and sometimes, sudden death. A distemper shot is known to be effective in fighting this virus.
- Rabies shot: This shot is required because rabies cannot only harm your pet, it can also cause death to humans. Rabies virus is passed on most often through bites and scratches.
There are bacterial infections and viruses that can cause serious illness and even death to your cat. Certain kinds of vaccines were created to fight those diseases. These shots are needed by cats in a specific dose and age.
Vaccines can protect your cat from:
- Bordetella bronchiseptica FeLV
What Vaccines Do Kittens Need
When you adopt a new kitten, you run through the checklist of what you need, like cat litter, kitten food, toys, and scratching posts. The last thing on your mind is an immediate trip to the vet, but your kittens first vaccinations will protect them against deadly diseases that are common among cats, both young and old. So, what shots do kittens need and when?
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How Often Do Cats Need Shots
Generally, adult cats need shots every one to three years depending on their lifestyle, health assessment, and the vets recommendation. However, adult cats that had their vaccinations and boosters already, do not need to get new shots so often. Kittens are more at risk for different kinds of diseases and therefore need to get shots more often.
Knowing which vaccines your cat needs and the proper age to administer them gives you a great chance of protecting your cat for a long time. Vaccines can help strengthen their immune system by producing necessary antibodies and keep bacterial infections and viruses away.
What Are Cat Vaccinations
Several serious feline-specific diseases afflict many cats every year. To protect your kitten from contracting a preventable condition, its critical to have them vaccinated. Its equally imperative to follow up your kittens first vaccinations with regular booster shots during their lifetime, even if you expect Fluffy to be an indoor companion.
The aptly named booster shots boost your cats protection against a variety of feline diseases after the effects of the initial vaccine wear off. There are booster shots for different vaccines given on specific schedules. Your vet can provide advice on when you should bring your cat back for more booster shots.
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Risks Of Vaccines For Kittens
Although there are some risks when vaccinating your kitten, theyre very minor. Similar to humans, kittens who receive vaccines may experience some initial side effects, such as a low fever, decreased appetite, localized swelling, or tiredness.
These symptoms, however, usually start shortly after the vaccine and last only a few days. If your kitten continues to experience side effects, contact your veterinarian.
Some kittens may experience an allergic reaction to a vaccine. An allergic reaction can cause itchiness, hives, and swelling of the face, so if you see any of these symptoms, youll want to take your cat to the vet immediately, and reconsider vaccinating your kitty in the future.
Finally, in other rare situations, cats can develop feline injection-site sarcomas, or FISS. This type of malignant cancer is thought to be caused by persistent swelling from the spot where a cat was vaccinated, and has been associated with the FeLV vaccine and rarely, the rabies vaccine FISS tumors are aggressive and invade surrounding tissues, and can require surgery and radiation for treatment.
Overall, veterinarians and feline medical organizations like the AAHA and AAFP agree that the incidence of negative side effects as a whole is low, and the benefits of core kitten vaccines outweigh the risks.
Kitten And Cat Vaccinations
- Cats and kittens in the UK need to be vaccinated against feline enteritis and cat flu
- Cats and kittens who go outside will also need to be vaccinated against feline leukaemia
- Some boosters may be needed annually, but others may be needed every three years
- Rabies, bordetella and chlamydia vaccines are also available for cats in the UK but these are considered non-core
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What Vaccines Do Cats Need
The Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel regularly evaluates and researches cat vaccination developments to make science-based recommendations.
The panel is comprised of dedicated feline veterinarians and scientists and is regarded as a reputable source of cat vaccination standards.
Their guidelines, published by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, are among the most trusted and utilized recommendations in the field.
They divide cat vaccines into two categories:
* FeLV: highly recommended for kittens and optional for adult cats.
** Rabies: 3-year vs 1-year vaccine depending on state laws.
Vaccines Truths And Myths
As with many medical interventions, there is often a misunderstanding of the benefits and risks of vaccination. This misunderstanding can sometimes lead well intentioned cat owners to make misinformed decisions about this vital aspect of feline health maintenance. Here are some examples of truths and myths regarding feline vaccination.
- Vaccination protects all cats by making disease transmission less likely
- No vaccine is 100 percent effective, and the effectiveness of different vaccines varies
- Although uncommon, all feline vaccines carry the risk of feline injection site sarcoma
- Vaccinating a cat against a disease can treat that disease
- Vaccinating a cat against a disease causes that disease
- All cats should receive every vaccine available for cats
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Can I Deworm My Kitten Myself
All kittens should be treated for common parasites such as roundworms and hookworms at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of age. This can be done at a veterinarian, or at home. To deworm a kitten at home, you’ll need a digital scale, a 1cc syringe, and a bottle of oral dewormer which can be purchased online or at a pet supply store.
About Dr Pete Wedderburn Dvm
Dr Pete Wedderburn qualified as a vet from Edinburgh in 1985 and has run his own 4-veterinarian companion animal practice in County Wicklow, Ireland, since 1991. Pete is well known as a media veterinarian with regular national tv, radio and newspaper slots, including a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph since 2007. Pete is known as “Pete the Vet” on his busy Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, regularly posting information on topical subjects and real-life cases from his clinic. He also write a regular blog at www.petethevet.com. His latest book: Pet Subjects, was published by Aurum Press in 2017.
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What Vaccines Does My Kitten Need
So you took a big step. You brought a new kitten home. Some kittens are obtained from rescue adoption groups some are adopted as strays who are foundlings some are obtained from private individuals whose cat had a litter and some are obtained from breeders of pure bred cats. From the kittens perspective it really doesnt matter since all kittens have similar health needs and vaccination requirements. It is important to discuss vaccination recommendations with your veterinarian since the timing of intervals between vaccinations may vary depending on the age of the kitten. Most kitten vaccination recommendations are the same regardless of the kittens origin but there may be some variables depending on whether or not the kitten will live a strictly indoor life . The first steps for a new kittenThere are a few things you should do right away to be sure your new kitten is free of parasites and viruses:
- First, request that your veterinarian perform a complete and thorough physical examination.
- Second, be sure the kitten is tested for intestinal worms and treated if necessary. Some of these worms are potentially dangerous to people.
- Third, test the kitten for retrovirus infections like Feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia virus .
Do vaccinations have risks?As with any medical procedure there are some risks associated with vaccines. Those risks range from minor to extremely serious and have the potential to include side-effects like:
Contact Animal General Today
When it’s time for your cat’s vaccinations, call us at Animal General in Manhattan! You can reach us by phone at , or give us your contact information and we’ll get in touch with you to schedule an appointment. For your convenience, we are open seven days a week: weekdays from 7:30 AM to 8 PM, Saturdays from 7:30 AM to 7 PM, and Sundays from 8 AM to 4 PM.
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Side Effects Of Vaccines For Cats
Though vaccines give lots of benefits to your cats, they can also pose some risks and side effects. You should be aware of your cats condition and whether it has an allergy or not. The side effects of a vaccine can also vary from one cat to another.
Your cat may experience loss of appetite, fever, and lethargy for a few days or a week. If these symptoms last for more than a day, you should consult with me. Early medication can easily resolve these side effects.
Why Vaccinate Your Kitten
When kittens are born, their immune systems are not fully developed and they are unable to fight disease on their own. Fortunately, they are able to get some protection from their mothers. Nursing mothers provide antibody-rich milk called colostrum. These maternal antibodies provide kittens with temporary immunity against illness. The length of this immunity varies from kitten to kitten. Protection from maternal antibodies generally fades after a few weeks.
There is no easy way to know exactly when a kitten is vulnerable to a specific disease. In an effort to strategically protect kittens from diseases, veterinarians administer vaccinations at strategic intervals. A vaccine is designed to trigger an immune response and prevent future infection from that disease.
All kittens need certain core vaccines, which provide immunity against the most dangerous and widespread diseases. Core vaccines are considered essential for kittens in most geographical locations.
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Cat Vaccinations Are Required By Many States
In addition to helping to protect your cat from diseases, theres a second important reason to give your indoor cat vaccinations: Its the law. Many states require that pet owners give their pets certain vaccinations, like the rabies vaccine. These vaccines can help to prevent these preventable yet deadly diseases from spreading, especially if your cat ever escapes from the house.
What Is The Best Vaccination Schedule
Kittens surely have a course of three vaccinations, normally given 4 weeks apart:
- 6 8 Weeks First Vaccination Temporary
- 10 12 Weeks Booster Vaccination
- 14 16 Weeks Final Vaccination
Adult cats require an annual vaccination booster for life. Your vet clinic will send you a reminder a few weeks before your cat is due for their yearly booster.
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Why Should I Have My Female Cat Spayed
Spaying young cats offers several advantages:
- Your cat will avoid heat periods, which usually begin at six to seven months of age and occur every two to three weeks in an unbred cat. During the heat period, female cats encourage the attention of male cats. The female cat will posture and vocalize, which can be annoying to owners so too can the presence of neighborhood male cats that mark the territory outside your house and fight off other suitors. Sometimes the natural urge to mate is so strong that your indoor cat will attempt to escape outdoors to breed.
- Spaying prevents unplanned litters of kittens that often never find suitable homes.
- Spaying prior to the first heat cycle greatly reduces the risk of breast cancer.
- Spaying prevents cancers or infections of the reproductive organs.
Spaying a cat may be a common procedure, but all surgery must be taken seriously. The correct term for spaying is ovariohysterectomy, and refers to the complete removal of the uterus and ovaries under general anesthesia. An overnight stay in the hospital may be advised to allow close monitoring during recovery and provide adequate pain control .
Your Kitten Needs A Vaccination Schedule To Stay Happy And Healthy
Your little catling is a sweet bundle of pouncy, purry love one that needs your help to stay healthy, happy, and safe. One of the most important things you can do for your kittyBAE is to make sure they get their vaccinations against disease. Heres what to know about which vaccinations they need, when they need them, and how much you can expect to pay.
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Can I Trim My Kitten’s Toenails
Kittens have very sharp toenails that can wreak havoc on cat owners and their furniture. You can trim your kittens nails with your regular fingernail clippers or with nail trimmers specifically designed for cats, but you must do so carefully. If you take too much off the nail, you will cut into the quick which will result in bleeding and pain.
Here are a few helpful pointers:
- Cats often have clear or white nails, so you can see the pink quick through the nail. This is a small pink triangle visible near the base of the nail. If you avoid this pink area, you should be safely away from the quick.
- When cutting toenails, use sharp trimmers. Dull trimmers tend to pinch or crush the nail and cause pain even if you are not in the quick. A good set of human nail trimmers are often sufficient. Many larger clippers meant for dogs do not trim cats nails well and can cause splintering of the nails.
- Have styptic powder on hand in case bleeding occurs. These products can be purchased from pet stores or your veterinarian. In an emergency, a bar of soap can be used to help stop the bleeding.
- Playing with your kittens feet and rewarding her with treats after nail trims is a good way to help encourage good behavior for future nail trims.
If you are unsure about trimming your kittens nails, ask your veterinary healthcare professionals for help. They can teach you how to make the procedure easy and painless for you and your kitten.
Why Does My Kitten Need More Than One Vaccination
Immediately after birth, a kitten receives a temporary form of immunity through the colostrum, which is the milk produced by mother cats shortly after birth, laden with protective antibodies. This first milk is produced only for a few days after birth and contains proteins called maternal antibodies. For about 24-48 hours after birth, the kitten’s intestine allows absorption of these antibodies directly into the blood stream. This passive immunity protects the kitten during its first few weeks of life when its immune system is immature, but in order to remain protected against these diseases, the kitten must produce its own, longer-lasting active immunity.
“In order to remain protected against diseases, the kitten must produce its own, longer-lasting active immunity.”
Vaccinations stimulate active immunity, but they have to be given at just the right time. As long as the mother’s antibodies are present in the kittens bloodstream, they prevent the immune system from responding effectively to the vaccines. When a kitten is ready to respond to vaccinations depends on the level of immunity in the mother cat, the amount of antibody absorbed by the nursing kitten, and the general health and nutrition of the kitten.
To keep up the cats immunity through adulthood, vaccines are repeated once every 1-3 years depending on individual circumstances and vaccine type.
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What About Adverse Events
No injection or medication is without some degree of risk, but we continue to vaccinate because, in most cases, it is much smaller than the risk of the disease itself.
The overall incidence of adverse reactions in cats is reported to be about half of 1 percent and usually mild and self-limiting. Common side effects include lethargy, transient fever and local inflammation.
Anaphylaxis and death are, fortunately, extremely rare: about one in every 10,000 vaccines.
A vaccine-associated sarcoma is a slow-growing but locally aggressive cancerous mass that develops at vaccine injection sites. Sarcomas occur with about the same rare frequency as anaphylactic reactions.
For cats without a history of vaccine reactions, the risk of sarcomas is usually outweighed by the benefit of the core vaccines.
Pet owners can minimize the impact of sarcomas by monitoring injection sites for swelling after vaccinations. Swellings should be biopsied if they are larger than 2 centimeters, persist longer than three months, or grow one month past the date of vaccination. When sarcomas are addressed early, surgery is often curative.