We’ve compiled a summary of our vaccination recommendations for you based on the 2013 AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines for Cats so you can best protect your new furry family member against preventable diseases. Also, feel free to contact us with any questions that may arise concerning your new kitten. ?
Lori Germon, DVM
Feline vaccines can be divided into two categories:
Those that are considered ‘core’ or essential vaccines for each age group of cats
Those that are considered ‘non-core’ vaccines and are recommended based on your cat’s lifestyle/exposure risk.
All kittens should be vaccinated against Feline Panleukopenia Virus, Feline Herpes Virus and Feline Calicivirus using a modified-live vaccine beginning as early as 6 weeks old and then revaccinated every 3-4 weeks until 16 to 20 weeks of age. Revaccination should occur 1 year after the last kitten booster and then every 3 years. We recommend a modified-live, non-adjuvanted FVCRP vaccine for cats. Remember, even if your cat is kept exclusively indoors, they could be susceptible to these diseases if not appropriately vaccinated and escape outdoors or ever require hospitalization.
According to Georgia law, all kittens should receive a Rabies vaccine the first year of their life. Generally, this vaccine is given between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Another Rabies vaccine should be re-administered 1 year from the initial vaccination and then given every 1 or 3 years, depending on the vaccine manufacturer label. Rabies is a contagious, fatal disease for both you and your pet, so this vaccine is extremely important. An indoors only cat is not as likely to be exposed to rabid wildlife as often as one who is allowed outside, BUT, bats have been known to make their way inside our homes and they are a known carrier of Rabies. Furthermore, you may not ever see a bat in your home and your cat may dispatch of it unbeknownst to you. If you have a cat that may bite or scratch visitors, you could be held liable or risk your animal being quarantined by the county if not appropriately vaccinated for Rabies.
The FELV vaccine should be administered to all kittens as early as 8 weeks old and then again 3-4 weeks later. Another dose should be administered 1 year following the last kitten dose. After this annual adult FELV booster, you may choose to forgo repeated FELV vaccination for indoor exclusive cats unless they attempt to escape outdoors, you will be fostering other cats in your home or have other cats that go outside living in your home. Then, your cat should receive an FELV vaccine every 1-2 years. Your kitten should also be tested for previous exposure to Feline Leukemia virus before vaccination. It is recommended to retest your kitten once more about 6 months after the original test as FELV infections in kittens may not be detected until weeks to months after birth. Feline Leukemia is a fatal disease caused by a virus that causes death in about 85% of cats infected within 3 years of the diagnosis. It attacks the bone marrow and leads to severe anemia and immunosuppression. The Feline leukemia virus can also cause cancer (lymphoma). The virus is transmitted through shared food/water dishes, mutual-grooming, bites, passing infected blood to non-infected cats and from pregnant cats to their developing kittens in the womb.
For more vaccination information, including additional less common feline vaccinations and their recommended use, please visit our blog at: https://petspremier.com/blog