How Is Rabies Transmitted
Weve too long underestimated the threat that rabies poses to cats. There are more laws governing the need for rabies in dogs, the domestic animals most often associated with the virus. Cats seem more innocuous, perhaps due to their size, and are thus given freer reign in outdoor situations. Both of these are risk factors. A single bite from infected wildlife can transmit the disease.
The animals that pose the greatest threat for infecting a cat with rabies are bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks. Rabies transmission is achieved when the saliva of an infected creature enters the bloodstream. This typically happens in altercations when a cat is bitten. Given the self-grooming habits of all animals, it is less likely but possible for rabies to be transmitted through a particularly violent scratch wound. The incubation period of a rabies infection whether it is furious or paralytic in nature is very fast.
Depending on the distance from the bite site to the brain, where it is free to wreak havoc on the nervous system, symptoms and signs of rabies in cats can take as little as a week to manifest. No matter how unlikely your cat is to encounter a woodland or urban carrier, a cat with an up-to-date rabies vaccination stands the best chance of survival.
What Exactly Are Cat Vaccinations
A vaccination is an injection of a mixture of molecules that will help stimulate an immune response to a specific disease. A common one would be the rabies vaccine. In the rabies vaccine, there are parts of the rabies virus, not the entire virus. It’s not an active or live virus, but parts of the virus that we inject along with other chemicals into your cat to help them start to build antibodies, to protect them against exposure to rabies, and keep them safe. We also have vaccines for many different diseases in cats. There is the feline leukemia vaccine and what we call the distemper vaccine, a combination of several diseases that can cause feline distemper and various respiratory diseases.
Are Vaccines Necessary For Indoor Cats
My cat lives indoors. Are vaccines necessary?
Like many veterinarians, I wish I had a quick and simple answer, but there is no one size fits all solution to the complex question of what vaccines should be given to cats. Some people hesitate to vaccinate their cats due to concerns about over-vaccination and a type of tumor called a vaccine-associated sarcoma. Some cats are really difficult to take to a veterinary hospital. However, it is important to discuss your cats individual risk factors with your veterinarian before skipping any shots.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners vaccination guideline recommends that kittens get a full series of vaccinations against panleukopenia, feline herpes type 1, calicivirus, feline leukemia, and rabies followed by a booster one year later. The type and frequency of vaccines given after that point varies considerably, depending on a cats lifestyle, and where you live. If your cat is truly 100% indoors, and does not have contact with indoor-outdoor cats, the current recommendation is to continue to receive boosters for panleukopenia, feline herpes type 1, calicivirus every 3 years, as these diseases do not require direct cat-to-cat contact to spread.
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How Often Do Cats Need Flea Prevention
The question, How often do cats need shots? arose out of the context of flea prevention. Do all cats require flea preventatives, or are they more important for outdoor cats? Many people believe that fleas are contagious and are transmitted from pet to pet. Although a flea-infested cat may spread the infestation to any cat with whom he comes into contact, remember that fleas, although thoroughly detestable, have a remarkable capacity for spreading and surviving. Fleas can roam freely and can make their way into houses under their own steam. Therefore, indoor-only cats are at risk of flea infestation even if they do not come into contact with any other animals.
This does not necessarily mean that every cat requires a monthly flea preventative. Cats with no skin problems and no visible flea infestation can often get by with only occasional applications of flea preventatives. So, in short, flea prevention can be considered optional for all cats, but especially for indoor cats.
Be aware, however, that fleas are insidious, and it is not uncommon for cat owners to be unaware of significant infestations on their pets. Modern flea preventatives generally are safe, and fleas can cause all sorts of health problems. Therefore, unless you really know how to monitor for fleas, its better to err on the side of using flea preventatives rather than risking an infestation.
Potential Vaccine Side Effects
Most cats will not experience any side effects as a result of receiving their shots. If a reaction does happen, they are usually minor and short in duration. However, in rare cases more serious reactions may occur, such as:
- Severe lethargy
- Redness or swelling around the injection site
- Loss of appetite
If you suspect your cat may be experiencing side effects due to a cat vaccine, call your veterinarian immediately. Your vet can help you determine whether special care or follow-up is needed.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
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Are Cat Vaccinations Necessary
Some cat vaccinations, I would say, are necessary for pretty much every cat. The most important one would be the rabies vaccine required by state law for all cats. Even if they’re inside 100% of the time, it’s a good idea to do it still. Bats can get in the house Anybody that’s got an old camper or an old house here in Maine will know that you get a bat in the house here and there. You don’t always necessarily know if that bat has interacted with your cat or even with you when you’ve been asleep. You can’t tell if you’ve been bitten sometimes, and that’s still a potential vector for rabies. We must keep all of our pets safe so that we keep ourselves safe.
Even for indoor cats, I recommend doing distemper shots every three years until they’re about anywhere between 8 to 10 years old. That’s just to protect them against potential exposure through a screen, or if you decide to get a kitten, to keep them safe. For cats going outside, I also recommend the leukemia vaccine because that is a disease that we can’t cure, and it can cause several health problems. Leukemia is transmitted from cat to cat, usually through an aggressive activity like scratching or biting.
How Frequently Should My Cat Be Vaccinated
All kittens should receive their core vaccinations and any others that are agreed between you and your vet. The initial vaccine course is often started at 8-9 weeks of age, with a second injection 3-4 weeks later. It is now common also to recommend a third vaccination at 16-20 weeks of age to ensure the kitten is properly protected.
A first booster vaccination should be given 12 months later to ensure a good level of continuing protection. However, after that, the frequency of booster vaccinations may be only every 1-3 years depending on the vaccine, disease and risk of with the individual cat.
Cats that stay at a boarding cattery will generally require an annual vaccination as this is a higher risk situation.
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Kitten & Cat Vaccine Schedule
Kittens go through an initial series of shots from 6 to 16 weeks old. We give your cat three to four weeks of rest until their next vaccination.
Vaccinations boosters such as the FVRCP, Feline Distemper , and Rabies are given one year after the kittens first round of vaccines. If your cat does not have a high exposure risk or is relatively healthy, three-year boosters may be given, however annual vaccinations are typical.
Ultimately because there is no size-fits-all protocol for cat vaccinations, so we recommend you consult your doctor with your specific pet in mind.
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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At Purton Vets We Recommend The Following To Our Cat Owners:
- Arrange an annual health assessment and vaccination against cat flu, enteritis and leukemia virus. Leukemia virus vaccination is optional for cats that never go outside.
- Feed diets that are high in animal protein and have ingredients you can recognise like Meowing Heads and Applaws. Avoid supermarket foods like Iams, Go Cat, Felix and Whiskas. Feed real meat as a treat.
- Stay on top of worming. Most cats need worming every 3 months especially hunters. Indoor only cats can be dewormed yearly or every other year.
- Flea treatment for 12 months of the year with Spot-On every 4 weeks. Minimum treatment period should extend from Spring through to Winter until well after a few good frosts.
- Neuter from about 6 months of age.
- Join our Pet Health Club and save up to 33% giving all of the above to your cat.
- Insure your cat against accident and illness. Choose wisely, the more expensive policies are often better in the long run.
- Microchip your cat to help find it when lost .
Cost Of Kitten And/or Cat Vaccinations
The cost of vaccinating your kitten can vary widely depending on your geographical location, the individual veterinary practice you visit, the type of vaccine, and many other factors. Costs ranging from $20-$45 are not unusual for an individual vaccination alone, and most veterinarians will want to perform a physical examination before vaccinating your cat, which can add an additional $50-$100 to the total cost. Your kitten may need to receive more than one vaccine during a visit as well. For instance, your kitten may need to receive a rabies vaccine along with the FVRCP vaccine.
Many practices offer packages that include multiple procedures for kittens. For instance, a new kitten might receive a physical examination, a first vaccination, a deworming, a test for feline leukemia, and a fecal examination all during the same visit. Some veterinary hospitals offer a special price for these packaged services. Costs may range from $70-$250, or more if spay/neuter surgery or other services are included in the package.
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When Should My Kitten Be Vaccinated
Vaccinations are important for your young kitten. Some infectious diseases are fatal, and vaccinations can protect your kitten from many of these diseases. In order to be effective, immunizations must be given as a series of injections at prescribed intervals, so it is essential that you are on time for your kittens scheduled vaccinations. Immunizations are started at 6-8 weeks of age and are repeated every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 4 months old.
The routine or core vaccinations will protect your kitten from the most common diseases: feline distemper , feline viral rhinotracheitis , calicivirus, and rabies. The first three are included in a combination vaccine given every three to four weeks until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age. Rabies vaccine is usually given once at 12-16 weeks of age.
“Your veterinarian will assess your kittens lifestyle and discuss these vaccinations with you to help you decide what is best for your cat.”
Non-core vaccines are not administered to every kitten, but are recommended in certain areas for cats with certain lifestyles. Cats that live outdoors are at more risk for infectious disease and often need these additional vaccines. One non- core vaccine for chlamydophila may be given if this disease is common in your area. Feline leukemia vaccine is recommended for all kittens that are exposed to outdoor cats, so if your kitten goes outside or lives with another cat that goes in and out, feline leukemia vaccine may be added to the regimen.
How Much Does A Cat Rabies Vaccine Cost
Cat rabies vaccine costs will vary tremendously depending on the vaccine used by your veterinarian. Non-adjuvanted vaccines are significantly more expensive than adjuvanted vaccines, and the three-year form is more expensive than the one-year form.
Some veterinarians will choose to eat the extra cost rather than pass it along to their clients because they feel that the non-adjuvanted vaccine is simply better medicine. Other practices, particularly those that vaccinate a lot of cats, are unable to absorb this extra cost and must pass it along.
The cost of the procedure also depends on whether the vaccine is administered in an office visit by the veterinarian or at a vaccine clinic. Be aware that, as a rule, vaccines that are inexpensive are most likely adjuvanted vaccines.
If the choice is between an inexpensive adjuvanted vaccine or nothing, I strongly recommend choosing the adjuvanted vaccine.
However, if your veterinarian offers the non-adjuvanted vaccine, and you are able to afford it, that is the preferred choice for most cats, regardless of whether it is the one- or three-year form.
So, in short, rabies vaccines for cats are very important, regardless of whether your cat goes outside or not. It is important for the health of your pet as well as for you!
So call your veterinarian, dig that cat carrier out of the basement, and head in for a rabies vaccine today.
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Is Your Cats Rabies Vaccination Current
Not to put too fine a point on it, but for unvaccinated cats and kittens, a rabies infection is a death sentence. Even an initial rabies vaccination, whether during kittenhood or prior to adoption in older cats, is a better guarantor than none at all. For the long-term health of your cat, it is worth having a serious conversation with your cats vet about rabies shots.
People have known about and feared rabies for thousands of years. Only a couple of people in the United States die from rabies infections each year, which may lead us to assume that it poses limited danger or none at all. This is a fallacy the relative rarity of rabies in America is precisely because of the accessibility and dependability of vaccines.
Indoor cats have an approximate lifespan of 15-plus years. If you follow a strict three-year vaccination schedule or determine along with your veterinarian that there is some room for negotiation, thats a total of three to five visits over the course of your cats life. That should not be considered an undue commitment or investment for any cat owner.
How Do I Prevent Fleas On My Kitten
No matter where you live, fleas may be a threat to your kitten and to your household. Fleas spend a short time on your kitten and then venture out into your home. Adult fleas feed on the cats blood, then hop off their host to lay eggs in the environment. Eggs hatch and the emerging larvae live and feed in your home. Larvae mature into pupae which lie dormant in your carpets, furniture, and floorboards. The pupae eventually hatch into adult fleas. The entire flea life cycle can take as little as 3-4 weeks under ideal conditions in unfavorable conditions, the cycle can take as long as a year. Therefore, it is important to kill fleas on your new kitten before they can become established in your home.
“Many of the flea control products that are safe on dogs are dangerous for kittens.”
Many of the flea control products that are safe on dogs are dangerous for kittens, so consult your veterinarian before choosing a flea control product. There are many safe oral and topical medications that control fleas, treat intestinal worms, and prevent heartworms all at the same time. These products are administered once a month, even in young kittens, and will protect both your cat and your home from fleas. Newer flea prevention products last 3-8 months. For more information on flea control, see the handout Flea Control in Cats.
Still Vaccinating Your Pet Every Year
Vaccinations have saved many pets’ lives over the years, but they aren’t without risk. Now, with new research showing that immunity may last longer than once thought, veterinary experts say it’s safer to decrease the frequency of most shots that typically have been given every year.
Side effects from vaccinations range from mild itching and swelling to anaphylactic shock leading to death. Cats may develop vaccine sarcomas, which are cancers that develop at the site of the injection. And dogs may develop certain autoimmune diseases.
Veterinarians have suspected for years that annual vaccinations for cats and dogs arent necessary, but large, well-controlled studies just didnt exist to prove it one way or the other. With the exception of rabies vaccine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesnt require data beyond one year for any vaccine.
With that being the case, vaccine manufacturers arbitrarily recommended annual vaccinations, and most veterinarians, concerned about liability issues, concurred.
Sometimes immunity lasts a lifetimeMore recently, however, several published studies have shown that immunity provided by some vaccines lasts for much longer than one year and in some cases for a lifetime.
For cats, so far we have challenge data out nine years showing that immunity is still protective,” says Dodds. And with rabies vaccine, new data indicate the immunity lasts for at least seven years, she says.