The Importance of Cat Vaccinations
What is a vaccination?
A vaccination, or immunization, is medicine’s way of helping an animal to protect itself against disease. This is called preventative medicine- you prevent the disease before it happens. Preventative medicine is our goal here at Animal Care Center. When you choose to have your pet vaccinated, you make it immune, or resistant, to certain diseases. A vaccine stimulates the body to produce antibodies against a disease. The antibodies create immunity.
Why do animals need vaccinations?
To prevent your animal from contracting certain diseases, it must be vaccinated. We vaccinate to protect. Immunizations begin at an early age and are given in a series to ensure good protection. A young animal is not fully protected until it has completed the entire series of vaccinations. Adult animals need to be re-vaccinated to insure their immunity remains active.
Diseases Cat Vaccinations Can Prevent:
Rabies is a virus which enters the body through a break in the skin- often a bite from an infected animal. It is fatal. Rabies is contagious to all land mammals, including humans. It is a very serious disease and should never be taken lightly. That’s why there is so much emphasis on rabies vaccinations. It is very important to keep your cat up to date on their rabies vaccination, as is required by Tennessee state law.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, caused by the feline herpes virus, is a common and severe upper respiratory infection that is most dangerous to young kittens and older cats. The virus is extremely contagious, and can be carried on an owner’s hands and clothes, so even indoor cats are at risk. FVR can leave some cats with permanent respiratory system and eye damage, and symptoms can reoccur throughout the cat’s life.
Calicivirus causes a range of illness from mild infection to life-threatening pneumonia. The more dangerous strains can be deadly to young kittens and older cats. Just like feline herpes virus, Calicivirus is transmitted through direct contact with an infected cat or an infected item, so indoor cats are still at risk.
Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)
Panleukopenia aka Feline Distemper, has nothing to do with the kitty’s temper! This highly contagious disease is spread by feces, and causes cats to shed the lining of their intestines through bloody diarrhea. The mortality rate is 60-90%, and there is no cure.
Feline Leukemia is a viral disease that is the leading killer among cats. It is transmitted from cat to cat by saliva, so cats who share food/water/litter with infected cats are at risk. Kittens can be born with it, having contracted it from their mother.
Feline Immumodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline Immumodeficiency Virus aka FIV attacks the cat’s immune system. Saliva-to-blood (bite wounds) is the primary source of spreading the virus. Outdoor cats are at risk of exposure to the virus from stray and feral cats. The best way to prevent infection is to ensure that your cat stays indoors only.
* FIV vaccinated cats should be micro-chipped. If your cat gets lost and is tested for FIV, it will test positive. Micro-chipping will prevent your cat from being accidentally euthanized if it is turned in to Animal Control or the Humane Society.
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