Vaccinating your cat will help to help him or her live a long, healthy life.
Whether your cat is indoor, outdoor, or a mixture of both - they are still at risk of contracting diseases from their environments, and other animals. Therefore in order to keep our kitty's immune system strong, we recommend annual vaccinations.
So what exactly are vaccinations?
Medically speaking, vaccinations, or vaccines, help to prepare your cat's immune system to fight off disease-causing organisms he or she may be inadvertently exposed to. Take a minute to read through our answers to three of the most frequently asked questions about vaccinations:
1. My cat is “indoors-only” - why does he need vaccinations?
As previously mentioned, the residential status of your cat does not always guarantee the health of your pet. In simpler terms, just because your cat lives only indoors, doesn’t mean he or she is fully protected from the diseases that lie on the other side of the front door. Another reason to vaccinate? It’s the law! By Pennsylvania law, all cats must be vaccinated for Rabies by 3 months of age and the vaccination must be kept up to date. Although the FVRCP vaccination is not required by law, most boarding facilities will require it be current.
Additionally, keeping your cat’s vaccinations up to date means keeping their physical exam up to date also. Why is this important? Cats are notorious for their ability to hide their pains and discomforts. Annual physical exams with our veterinarians provide that added care.
2. Which vaccines does my cat need, and how often should they receive them?
Chestnut Hill Cat Clinic recommends that all healthy, indoor and outdoor cats receive yearly vaccinations for Feline Distemper (FVRCP),Rabies and Feline Leukemia vaccination as a part of their core vaccines.
FVRCP is a combination vaccine and will protect against the following illnesses:
•Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis: a viral disease causing upper respiratory infections
•Calicivirus: a viral disease of the respiratory system and mouth
•Panleukopenia: a viral disease, often called feline distemper
An initial FVRCP vaccine is given to your pet at approximately 7 weeks of age. It is administered in a series of 3 separate vaccines, given several weeks apart, until your pet is approximately 16 weeks of age. It is then administered at 1 year of age and again every 3 years.
Rabies: a viral disease that can be fatal to humans and animals.
Chestnut Hill Cat Clinic uses Merial's Purevac Rabies vaccine. It is the only nonadjuvanted Rabies vaccine available. The initial Rabies vaccine is given to your pet at 12 weeks of age. It is then administered at 1 year of age and again on a yearly basis.
FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus): a retrovirus that can be transmitted by infected cats through the transfer of saliva or nasal secretions.
The initial FeLV vaccine is given to your pet at approximately 7 weeks of age. It is administered in a series of 2 separate vaccines, given several weeks apart. It is then administered at 1 year of age and again on a yearly basis (indoor/outdoor), or at the discretion of your veterinarian.
3. Are there any risks or side effects associated with vaccinations?
As with any medication, there are potential risks and side effects; however it is important to remember, the long-term benefits of regularly vaccinating your cat are far more rewarding than simply not vaccinating out of fear or misinformation. While most cats do not tend to show any adverse reactions from vaccination, it can never hurt to educate yourself on potential vaccine reaction symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Swelling and/or redness around injection site
If you suspect that your cat is having an adverse reaction to a vaccine, it is important to call the clinic or if after hours seek the advice of a 24 hour emergency clinic immediately. (under emergency clinics)
If you have any additional questions in regards to vaccinations for your cat,
please call our office at (215) 247-9560, and speak to either Drs. Hehn or Gellman