The Importance of Vaccinations

Posted: Dec 24 2015

Whether you are adopting an older kitty or bringing a kitten home, it is imperative that every cat owner understands the importance of adhering to the proper vaccine protocol. Having up-to-date vaccines on your cat can be the difference between life or death if something were to happen to your beloved pet.

Why Vaccinate?

Feline vaccines, just like the ones for people, help to protect your pet from commonly transmitted diseases. Vaccines contain antigens. These are usually derived from the very illnesses we want to prevent, but have been rendered safe. By exposing your cat to these "safe" versions of disease, it triggers their immune system to create antibodies that are now ready to fight the real disease, should your cat ever be exposed. It is one of the simplest ways to ensure your kitty's health for its entire life.

A few people believe that if their cat is going to be living indoors only, that vaccination is not necessary. However, even if your cat is an only pet, there is no guarantee that they will never encounter another cat. Chances are high that at some point they will visit a veterinarian's office, even if it is just for a check up. Cats also have a predilection to explore. A simple lapse of a delivery person or family member involving an open door or window could mean a kitty on the loose.

What Vaccines Should Your Cat Receive?

The "core" vaccinations that all cats should receive are the rabies vaccine and the FVRCP vaccine. FVRCP stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis Calicivirus and Panleukopenia vaccine. These will protect your cat from most of the common or dangerous diseases out there. Feline viral rhinotracheitis is more commonly known as feline herpes and is one of the most common causes of feline respiratory problems out there. It can cause a range of problems ranging from flu-like symptoms to eye issues. Even if your cat has already contracted the herpes virus, having the vaccine will help make outbreaks less severe. Calicivirus is another common cause of respiratory illness, as well as sores in and around the nose and mouth. These can be especially dangerous as the cat will lose the desire to eat due to either loss of smell or pain in the oral cavity. Panleukopenia is a viral disease that affects your cat's immune system itself. In young cats, it can be fatal.

When To Vaccinate

The best time to vaccinate is while a cat is still young, and it can have the maximum effect. Kittens can start their vaccines when they are between 6 and 8 weeks old. That is when they will receive the FVRCP vaccine, with booster shots every 3-4 weeks thereafter until they are 16 weeks old. At this time, they are also old enough for their rabies vaccine. If you have adopted an adult cat, it's never too late to vaccinate. They should receive 2 doses of the FVRCP vaccine, spaced 3 or 4 weeks apart.

Vaccinating your feline companion is a crucial part of being a responsible pet owner. Not only will you protect your cat from potentially life-threatening illness, you help to reduce the spread of disease in your entire vicinity. A few short appointments at your local vet's office is all it takes to ensure your kitty lives a long and healthy life.

Jonathan Leger is a freelance writer and small business owner. He runs a popular question and answer website with a section dedicated to pets at <a href="http://answerthis.co/tag/pets">AnswerThis.co</a>.

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