Vaccination is a great way to give your pet immunity to some of the worst infectious diseases, and make sure they are as safe as they can be.
Vaccination is given as an annual injection, which keeps immunity topped-up and your pet protected.
Your pet should have a thorough health check at least once a year as part of their general healthcare. This helps your vet check that no developing health problems can be detected.
We recommend Kitten's are vaccinated at 9 and 12 weeks old. They will have an initial injection, and then a second about 3 weeks later, as well as a thorough health check. Cats should then have an annual vaccination appointment each year, throughout their lives, in order to keep their immunity topped up and maintain protection.
Although your cat will need a vaccination appointment every year, not all the vaccines will be given at every appointment. This is because different vaccines last for different amounts of time, and the need for some vaccinations may be lifestyle dependent. We will be able to advise on the best schedule for your cat. The vaccines routinely used at our practice cover against Feline Calicivirus (Cat Flu), Feline Herpes Virus (Cat Flu), Feline Enteritis (Panleucopaenia) and Feline Leukaemia virus. There is also a vaccine against Feline Chlamydophilia available in the UK which we don't routinely use but it can be given if required
Cat flu - symptoms are similar to those of human flu, but cat flu can only be caught by cats. A big difference with cat flu is that some cats end up carrying it for life, and it can even be fatal in kittens.
The best way to prevent your cat getting cat flu is to have them fully vaccinated and stay on top of any boosters. Don’t let kittens outdoors until they are fully protected (usually two weeks after the second set of jabs) as they may come into contact with unvaccinated cats. If you’re buying a kitten, make sure that their mum has had her vaccines as well which could reduce the risks of her kittens getting poorly.
Feline infectious enteritis – also known as ‘feline parvovirus’ or ‘panleucopaenia’ – is a serious virus that depletes the body’s white blood cells and can cause severe damage to the lining of the intestines. It’s normally spread through contact with infected poo but pregnant cats can also pass it to their unborn kittens if they aren’t vaccinated. The disease is widespread across the UK, particularly where lots of cats are in contact with each other and can remain in an environment for a long time.
Unfortunately there is no cure for feline enteritis but if caught in time, your vet can try to treat the symptoms and give intensive nursing care to support your cat’s recovery. Despite treatment, the disease can often be fatal, especially for young kittens. The best way to prevent feline enteritis is to make sure your cat is fully vaccinated and regularly has their booster injections. As the virus can pass between a mother and her kittens, female cats need to be fully vaccinated before becoming pregnant.
Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) - is a viral infection which can lead to the development of cancers such as lymphoma, leukaemia and other tumours and weakens the immune system of affected cats meaning they catch other infections very easily. It is fairly common in the UK and is spread through a cat’s saliva, poo, wee and milk. Pregnant cats can pass the disease to their unborn kittens. Young kittens are most at risk but adult cats can also be affected.
When unvaccinated cats catch FeLV, they either become affected permanently, become infected briefly before the virus goes away, or fight the virus off. If a cat is vaccinated, it’s more likely to be able to fight off the virus without showing symptoms or spreading the disease.
Initially, symptoms of feline leukaemia can be quite mild such as being very tired or a fever. The main signs of FeLV usually appear when they’re struggling to fight off other infections due to a weakened immune system.
The best way to prevent FeLV is to get your kitten vaccinated and make sure you stay up-to-date with their boosters.
Cats with confirmed feline leukaemia virus should be kept indoors and away from other cats to prevent the disease spreading. They need regular check-ups with the vet to keep on top of any illnesses or problems.