Your new kitten deserves the very best start in life. This entails providing her with all of the resources she requires to grow and maintain her health. Vaccinations are an essential part of your kitten’s health care plan. To prevent the spread of disease and maintain your kitten’s health, basic vaccinations are required.
Why Vaccinate Your Cat?
When a kitten is born, their immune systems are still forming, leaving them vulnerable to illness. Thankfully, their mothers can offer them some level of defense. Nursing mothers administer colostrum, a milk product rich in antibodies. Kittens are temporarily immune to disease thanks to these maternal antibodies. The time frame for this immunity varies from kitten to kitten. Maternal antibody protection usually disappears after a few weeks.
It can be challenging to determine a kitten’s precise window of susceptibility to a particular illness. In an effort to fend off illnesses, veterinarians immunize kittens at regular intervals. A vaccine is created to boost the immune system and prevent future exposure to the disease.
All kittens must receive a few essential vaccinations in order to safeguard them against the most prevalent and dangerous infections. Kittens typically need a few essential vaccinations. Depending on your location and the environment your kitten is exposed to, some non-core vaccinations may also be advised. Ask your veterinarian whether these illnesses are likely to affect your kitten.
How Vaccines Work on Kittens
Kittens receive a series of vaccinations over the course of 8 to 12 weeks starting at the age of 6 to 8 weeks. Some vaccines that can be given in a single injection include combination vaccinations. At your kitten’s initial checkup, your veterinarian will go over a vaccination schedule with you and your pet as well as other treatments like deworming and beginning parasite prevention.
Vaccine injections themselves are typically painless. While a lot of kittens don’t react at all, your cat might experience a slight pinch or sting.
Your veterinarian will conduct an examination before giving your kitten its first vaccinations. A kitten should never get vaccinated while they are sick or have a fever because the vaccine won’t work. In fact, giving a sick kitten a vaccine might make her feel worse.
A vaccination does not immediately result in the development of immunity. It typically takes seven to ten days after the second vaccination for the effects to manifest. However, kittens who still have maternal antibodies to the disease will not be protected by the vaccination. Because it is impossible to tell whether a kitten still has maternal antibodies, boosters are necessary. True immunity cannot be determined until a kitten has received all of its booster shots, which occurs between 16 and 18 weeks of age. As soon as your kitten has received all of its shots, keep it away from strange animals.
Types of Vaccines for Kittens
- Both humans and cats are susceptible to the deadly rabies virus. This is a fundamental vaccine that is typically required by law because of the severity of the disease. All kittens and adult cats should receive a rabies vaccination.
- FVRCP stands for feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. All kittens are thought to require this basic immunization. Upper respiratory infections in cats are known to be brought on by common feline viruses like calicivirus and rhinotracheitis. Actually known as panleukopenia, cat distemper affects rapidly dividing and expanding cells, including those in the intestines, bone marrow, and the developing fetus. It is a highly contagious and frequently fatal illness.
- FeLV vaccination, which guards against the feline leukemia virus, is not required for all kittens under the age of one but is an option for low-risk adult cats. Once administered annually, many adult vaccinations are now more frequently advised to be given every three years. Feline leukemia is one of the most common infectious diseases that affects cats. Interaction with sick animals is the primary means of transmission. FeLV-positive cats are more likely to develop immune system issues and cancer.
- The widespread feline virus known as FIV, or feline immunodeficiency virus, is typically spread through bite wounds. This vaccine is no longer available in North America. It was considered optional and recommended only for cats who had a very high risk of being exposed to FIV. Many FIV-positive cats can lead normal lives, but those who are negatively affected by the virus will suffer from a variety of illnesses because of compromised immune systems.
A sample kitten vaccination schedule
|Age||Core Vaccines||Other Possible Procedures|
|6-8 weeks||FVRCP||deworm, FeLV/FIV test|
|9-11 weeks||FVRCP booster, FeLV||deworm, begin heartworm/flea prevention|
|12-15 weeks||FVRCP booster, FeLV||deworm|
|16-20 weeks||FVRCP final booster, Rabies||fecal exam, FeLV/FIV test|
Each veterinarian has their own preferences for the order and frequency of additional procedures like examinations, dewormings, and tests. With your veterinarian, go over your kitten’s ideal schedule.
Risks of Influenza Vaccine
Although they are uncommon, there are a few risks associated with immunizations. Reactions and side effects from vaccinations are normally mild and frequently go away on their own. These might include drowsiness, a low fever, and soreness and swelling where the injection was given. Even though they are less frequent, severe allergic reactions can be lethal if addressed. Go to the closest open vet clinic right away if your kitten experiences hives, facial swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, or trouble breathing.
Cat vaccinations and other injections have been linked to feline injection site sarcomas (FISSs) (FISSs). These tumors are typically rare, and it is unclear what causes them to form. While a small knot forming at the injection site is unquestionably a typical and mild reaction, you should have any mass at the injection site examined by a veterinarian if it persists for more than three months, is larger than 2 centimeters, or gets bigger after a month has passed since the shot. Due to these tumors, vaccinations are now typically administered low on the limbs (below the elbow or knee) (below the elbow or knee).
There is a slight chance of getting an autoimmune disorder because vaccinations boost the immune system. When you compare the number of affected pets to all the house animals that have received vaccinations, this is very unusual. Autoimmune disorders, however, may be serious and challenging to treat. Blood disorders, neuromuscular disorders, and even skin conditions are among the illnesses that could manifest.
The majority of veterinarians and pet experts concur that, especially for young animals, the advantages of vaccinations outweigh the risks. Many veterinarians are embracing adult booster vaccination protocols that administer shots less frequently. Every year, adult cats who will spend time outside should receive this booster shot.
Read next: Common Health Problems in Kittens
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your pet.
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