Vaccinations for Your Cat
Clermont Animal Hospital, Inc.
Vaccinations are shots given to your pets that will protect them from getting diseases. Many of the vaccinations require one or more booster vaccinations, which are shots that renew the effectiveness of the original vaccine. It is very important to get the vaccinations and booster shots on schedule to keep your cat healthy. The information below will describe what type of vaccinations your cat needs and when he or she will need them.
When should my cat be vaccinated?
Adult cats need booster vaccines every year. If your cat has never been vaccinated before, the first vaccines (except Rabies) will need to be boostered 3-4 weeks after the initial shot. Most breeders or rescue organizations give at least one set of vaccinations while the cat is in their care. For this reason, it is important to bring any records you received with your cat so we can give your cat the vaccinations at the appropriate time.
It is important to note that the rabies vaccine must be given by a licensed veterinarian. Most likely, your new cat will need this vaccination now, unless you have proof that it was given while in the care of a former owner.
Once we have a record of your pet’s prior vaccinations in our computer system, we will automatically send you reminder cards when vaccinations are due. Please be sure to notify us of any address changes so that you can be assured of receiving these reminders.
Will the vaccines cause reactions or side effects?
Only a small percentage of vaccinated cats have a reaction to the vaccine.
- Low-grade fever
- Lethargy (lack of energy)
- Loss of appetite (inappetance)
Most of the time these symptoms begin four to 12 hours after the vaccination is given and are gone within 24 to 72 hours. If your cat is exhibiting signs for more than three days, it is important that you contact our hospital.
Another common reaction is a bump or swelling at the injection site, called a site reaction. If you notice a vaccination site reaction, please bring it to the attention of our veterinarians. Most of the time these bumps are not a medical concern. In rare cases, an infection may occur at the vaccination site, causing a small abscess (lump) to form.
Injection related sarcomas occur in approximately 1 out of 10,000 cats. An injection related tumor occurs at the site of vaccination or other injection, usually months or years after the vaccine is administered. While the risk of this occurring in your cat is extremely low (much lower than the risk of your cat contracting a disease if unvaccinated), this tumor type is very difficult to treat. If you would like further information about this tumor, our doctors will be happy to discuss it with you.
Allergic reactions to vaccinations are uncommon but can occur. If your cat exhibits any of these signs of allergic reaction, please contact us immediately:
· Swollen face/Swollen eyes
· Hives or red skin
· Difficulty breathing (in extreme cases)
What diseases do vaccines prevent?
Below you will find a discussion of recommended vaccinations and the diseases they prevent.
FVRCP Vaccine: This vaccine will protect your cat against a combination of common infections. Booster vaccinations are then given yearly. The following diseases are prevented by the components of this vaccination.
Distemper virus (panleukopenia), which causes neurological (nerve) problems. It also causes a decrease in the production of white blood cells (the cells that fight infection).
Rhinotracheitis virus, which causes recurrent respiratory tract infections.
Calicivirus, which causes high fever, decreased appetite, oral ulcers and respiratory tract infection. The Chlamydia virus causes conjunctivitis (inflammation of tissue around the eye) and respiratory tract infection.
Rabies Vaccine: The rabies vaccine protects your cat from rabies, which is a disease of the nervous system that is transmitted by a bite from an affected animal. Humans can get rabies.
The rabies vaccination is required by law for all cats.
The first vaccination must be boostered after one year. In Ohio, your cat is required to get a rabies vaccination every three years after the first booster. If your cat travels to a state where rabies is a greater concern, we may recommend a yearly vaccination.
With each rabies vaccination, you will receive a certificate to keep as proof of vaccination. We can also provide a rabies tag free of charge upon request, for you to attach to your cat’s collar. This tag has an identification number and our hospital’s telephone number. We keep a database of all rabies identification numbers and owner information. If your pet should ever be lost while wearing this tag, anyone who finds your pet can report it to our hospital and we will help reunite you and your cat.
Feline Leukemia Vaccine: The feline leukemia virus (FeLV) causes immune system depression, similar to the effect of AIDS on humans. Cats infected with this virus generally experience multiple and severe health problems including infectious diseases and cancers. While the virus, itself, will not kill your cat, the resulting infections and cancers are usually deadly.
Like with HIV in humans, cats can be very healthy for years before the virus starts to cause problems. The feline leukemia virus is transmitted through the tears, saliva, nasal secretions, blood, urine and feces. Casual contact (touching noses, communal grooming, etc.) can spread the infection. In rare cases, owners can carry this virus on hands or clothing from stray/feral cats to indoor cats. Because this is possible and because of the severity of the disease, we recommend that all cats (including strictly indoor cats) are vaccinated for feline leukemia. This disease is very common in this area, and all cats that go definitely need to be vaccinated. The vaccine is boostered once, 3-4 weeks after the initial injection, and then administered yearly.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): (optional) This vaccination is recommended for all cats that spend time outdoors. The FIV virus (also called Feline AIDS) causes very similar problems to feline leukemia. Unlike FeLV, FIV is only spread through contact with infected blood. Cats can contract this disease by biting, scratching or fighting with infected cats.
Like FeLV, there is no cure for FIV. Cats who contract this disease usually die young of infectious disease or cancer. Because all vaccinated cats will test positive for FIV, it is recommended that an FIV test be performed BEFORE giving the first FIV vaccine.
The FIV must be boostered twice with 3-4 weeks between vaccinations the first year it is given. After the initial series, yearly booster vaccines are given. If your indoor cat starts venturing outside later in life, we can start giving the vaccine at that time.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP): FIP is a mutation of the intestinal corona virus that commonly infects kittens and young cats. The disease causes a wide range of problems including acities (fluid-filled abdomen), neurological problems, heart problems, kidney problems, eye problems and death.
Cats are usually most susceptible to FIP as kittens or young adults, and older adult cats don’t usually need to be vaccinated. Young adult cats should be vaccinated for this disease if they spend significant time outdoors or if there are multiple (more than four) cats in the household. All cats in catteries should be vaccinated (including older cats), because older cats often serve as carriers without any sign of illness.
Clermont Animal Hospital, Inc.
Parasites are living beings, such as worms or insects, that live on or inside your pet. They usually feed upon your pet, which can cause him or her to be uncomfortable, malnourished or even to die.
Intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, tapeworms and giardia, are a very common problem in adult cats. If your cat is from an animal shelter, he or she is particularly at risk.
Symptoms of intestinal parasites include vomiting and diarrhea, poor condition of fur, and in extreme cases, death. However, some cats with parasites do not show these symptoms. Just because you do not see the worms does not mean that they are not there. It is important to realize these worms live in the intestines, so you will NOT see them in the stool of your cat unless they are dead or dying.
We recommend a routine fecal examine when you get a new cat, and then exams twice a year thereafter for cats that spend time outside. For adult cats, we use a sophisticated test involving a series of steps, including centrifugation and flotation. This advanced test provides much more accurate results than the simple flotation technique that most veterinarians use.
Please bring a small amount of stool with you when you bring your cat for vaccinations. If you have several cats sharing the same litter box, only one stool sample is needed. It is best if the sample is less than 24 hours old.
The fecal analysis shows if there are intestinal parasite eggs, toxoplasmosis eggs or single-cell parasites called giardia in your cat’s stool. This is important to know because some parasites can infect humans when the eggs are being shed in the stool. It is also important to know that your cat can re-infect himself or infect other cats when eggs are being passed. For this reason, it is important to pick up all stools promptly and properly dispose of them if your cat has parasite eggs in the stool.
Please note that just because your cat’s fecal analysis was negative (no worm eggs) at a previous visit, it does not mean that these parasites are not present. Due to their complex life cycle, worms may be present without shedding eggs. It is important to have at least three negative stool samples before we can assure you that your cat is free of all parasites.
Can intestinal parasites affect my family?
It is important for you to know if your cat is currently shedding eggs in his or her stool so you can protect your family. Humans, particularly children, can be infected with certain worms by ingesting (eating) the egg or larva (baby worm). This is only a concern if there are eggs in your cat’s stool. Prompt removal of all stool and using proper hygiene can easily prevent any chance of infection.
If your cat is actively shedding parasite eggs, you should be as clean as possible in dealing with your cat. It is also very important to pick up ALL stools to prevent accidental infection of a family member or re-infection of your cat. If the stool is left in the yard, eggs can survive in for more than a year and can contaminate soil even after the stool has degraded.
Heartworms are a deadly disease in cats. Cats living in Eastern Cincinnati and Clermont County are at higher risk than cats in other parts of the Tristate area. Remember, heartworms kill cats. Prevention and early detection is very important.
How do cats get heartworms?
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes. While heartworms mostly affect dogs because they can only reproduce in dogs), they can also affect cats. When a mosquito bites a dog with heartworms, it picks up microfilaria (baby heartworms). The mosquito can then spread the disease by biting a healthy cat. The microfilaria travel through the blood vessels to the heart and lungs where they develop into the adult worms. If untreated, the adult worms will eventually cause heart failure, and severe respiratory problems, killing your cat.
We can do a simple blood test to determine whether your cat has heartworms. Clermont Animal Hospital recommends this test for all new adult cats and cats showing respiratory signs that may be due to heartworm disease (coughing, labored breathing, wheezing, etc.)
Heartworm disease in cats cannot be effectively treated. Fortunately, we have very effective medications to prevent this disease. Year-round heartworm prevention is recommended for cats who spend time outdoors. Clermont Animal Hospital currently recommends Revolution or Advantage Multi.