Why should I get my cat vaccinated?

Posted by Vetcall on 4 July 2017

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Every year cats of all ages become seriously ill or die from infectious diseases which could have been prevented through vaccination.  

The micro-organisms' that cause these diseases are wide spread in the New Zealand cat population (for e.g. New Zealand has one of the highest reported rates of infection with Feline aids in the world: approximately 1 in 10 healthy cats, and 1 in 5 feral cats are infected with the feline aids virus). The expression 'prevention is better than cure' is very true since there is no specific treatment for the viral diseases. Treatment is often lengthy, expensive and not always successful.

All cats must be fully vaccinated against the core feline diseases before they can stay at a boarding cattery.

Infectious diseases that we vaccinate against:

  • Feline Enteritis (also known as Feline Panleucopenia) - Caused by a parvo virus this disease is very contagious with a high death rate especially under 12 months of age.  Pregnant cats may abort their young or give birth to kittens with abnormalities such as cerebellar hypoplasia.  Symptoms are depression, loss of appetite, uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea, often with blood and severe abdominal pain.  Cats that are lucky enough to recover may continue to carry the virus for some time and infect other cats.
  • Feline Respiratory Disease (Cat Flu) -  Caused in 90% of cases by feline herpesvirus (feline rhinotracheitis) and/or feline calicivirus.  Feline respiratory disease affects cats of all ages, especially young kittens.  It is highly contagious and may cause sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and tongue ulcers. Fortunately, the death rate is low except in young kittens and in patients with weakened immune systems (e.g, elderly cats, cats with Feline Aids and or Leukemia).  The disease is distressing and may persist for several weeks.  Recovered cats can continue to carry and spread the infection for long periods, and can show signs of the disease again if they become stressed.
  • Chlamydophila - Feline Chlamydia causes a severe persistent conjunctivitis in up to 30% of cats.  Kittens are more severely affected by Chlamydia when also infected with “Cat Flu”, and Chlamydia can be shed for many months. 
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) - Feline AIDS is a disease caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and affects the cat’s immune system.  Their natural defence against attack by other diseases may be seriously affected, much in the same way as human AIDS.  This disease is not transmissible to humans.  FIV is almost always transmitted by bites from infected cats.  The virus that causes the disease is present in saliva.  While some infected cats show no sign of disease, others may display initial symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes.  As the disease progresses, symptoms may occur such as weight loss, sores in and around the mouth, eye lesions, poor coat and chronic infections.  Eventually, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections and diseases.  As a result, the cat may die from one of these subsequent infections. Unfortunately in New Zealand one in five feral cats and one in ten pet cats are infected with the virus.

Core Vaccination: (Feline enteritis/Panleucopenia, Cat Flu, Chlamydophila if required)

Primary course of two vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart from 9 weeks of age followed by an annual health check and booster vaccination.

Non Core Vaccination: (Feline Aids)

Primary course of three vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart from 9 weeks of age followed by an annual health check and booster vaccination.

Recommended for any cat that has an indoor outdoor life style.  A blood test may be required prior to commencing aids vaccinations and if necessary will be discussed further by the vet.

It will take about ten days following the final vaccination of the primary course for your cat to develop strong protection against disease.  During this time we recommend that your cat only has contact with fully vaccinated cats and is kept indoors.

Click here to contact us and book your kitten or cat in for vaccination