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What are Feline Vaccines?

Veterinarians and Pet Care
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Feline vaccines are the shots that you give your pet cat in order to protect it from the diseases and infections that it may encounter during its lifetime. Vaccines are designed to look to the cat’s immune system like a particular disease so the immune system learns to defend itself. However, the pet cat does not get sick from the vaccine mimicking the disease. Thus, vaccines are able to prevent infection or limit the severity of the disease, should it be contracted by your pet.

What are Required Feline Vaccines?

At birth, kittens receive some immunity from disease from the antibodies present in the milk they drink from their mother. However, the kitten loses immunity after a few weeks. Thus, to ensure that the kitten becomes a thoroughly vaccinated adult, certain shots are administered within the first month and then in a series that repeats every few weeks to insure that the vaccination is complete. Some vaccines need to be repeated from year to year or every few years, and some vaccines last for life.

Your cat might need several vaccines to stay healthy throughout its life. For example, it might be required to receive the feline panleukopenia virus vaccine to prevent feline distemper. A Feline Calcivirus/Herpesvirus Vaccine might help prevent your cat from contracting feline upper respiratory tract diseases. Most cats (along with most other pets) are required to receive a rabies vaccine to prevent this fatal disease from infecting your cat.

Veterinarians in your area will be able to tell you which vaccines are required by law for your pet, which are appropriate given your pet’s age and health, and which vaccines are simply not necessary for your pet. If your pet has had bad reactions to certain vaccines in the past, the veterinarian may consider avoiding certain vaccines. The veterinarian will do his or her best to assess the risk of your cat encountering a disease-causing organism or an infected animal who can transmit the disease, and will use this exposure risk calculation to determine which of the available “optional” vaccines your pet should get.

When your cat goes in for even a routine vaccination, beware of some mild reactions that your cat may have and help treat the symptoms. Watch your cat for sneezing, trouble eating, a milk fever, and pain and discomfort. Report these symptoms to your doctor to ensure they are normal.

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