All cat owners want to keep their pets as healthy as possible, and vaccinations for cats are one of the best means of accomplishing this goal. Although 75 percent of cat owners report that they understand regular veterinary visits and checkups to be an important part of caring for their pet, over 44 percent did not take their pet to the vet once in 2011.
These visits are important for ensuring that your pets remain healthy and maintain their vaccination schedule. These inoculations can provide the cat with important protection against potentially serious diseases. Understanding what vaccines indoor cats need as compared to outdoor cats, as well as the cost of cat vaccinations, can help pet owners make the optimal decisions for the health of their valued animals. If you own a cat, here is what you need to know about feline vaccinations.
Vaccinations for Cats | Pet Ownership Responsibilities
Understanding the Role of Vaccines for Your Cat
Vaccines help to prepare the body to fight against certain disease-causing organisms. Vaccines are designed to contain antigens that stimulate your cat?s immune system to fight against diseases. If your cat ever comes across any disease it has been vaccinated for, the immune system will be ready to fight it to help keep your cat healthy.
The diseases that your cat will be most susceptible to coming across will impact the vaccines the animal needs and when. For example, cats who remain mainly indoors may need different shots than those who spend most of their time outdoors.
What is the Law Regarding Vaccinations for Cats?
All states require that cats remain up-to-date on their rabies vaccines; although different states do have different definitions of what this means. For some areas, you may be required to get your pet a yearly vaccine; other states may allow you to wait as long as three years in-between inoculations.
What are the Main Vaccines that my Cat Should Receive?
? Tates Creek Animal Hospital (@TatesCreekAH) November 15, 2013
Core vaccines are those considered necessary for all cats. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, these core shots include:
- Panleukopenia, which is also known as feline distemper
- Feline calicivirus
- Feline herpesvirus type I, which is also known as rhinotracheitis
Depending upon the recommendations of your veterinarian, non-core vaccines that may be important for your cat include shots against:
- Chlamydophila felis
- Feline leukemia virus
- Feline immunodeficiency virus
Risks Associated with Vaccines
Careful testing and studies indicate that vaccines provide safe protection against these potentially dangerous diseases for cats, but there are some possible cat vaccination side effects that owners should be on the lookout for. Most cats, who do experience side effects, only have the symptoms for a short while. Swelling, soreness, and redness around the injection site may occur, as well as fever, sluggishness, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal distress, or lameness.
More serious side effects, which rarely occur, include injection site tumors or the cat developing the disease that he was inoculated against. All owners should note, however, that the risk of these more serious complications remains very small, and that the risk of the disease itself far outweighs the risk of the side effects.
What Schedule Should my Kitten or Cat Follow?
Kittens should ideally be nursing directly from their mothers from birth. Assuming the mother is healthy, this milk will help the kitten?s body fight against potential diseases, as the kitten?s immune system begins to develop. Usually, a vet will begin to administer vaccines for the kitten around 6-8 weeks old. The inoculations will generally be given about once per month until the cat is about four months old.
For adult cats, owners should note that all cats have unique needs when it comes to their vaccination schedule. Speaking with your veterinarian is the optimal way to make sure that your adult cats receive?their vaccines on a schedule that makes the most sense, given the animal?s age, health, and lifestyle.
Cats can provide excellent companionship for their owners. Like any member of the family, you want to make sure your cat stays healthy. Through developing a vaccination schedule with the help of your veterinarian, you can help your cat. The better you understand the purpose of these inoculations, the more protection they offer and the easier it will be for you to protect your animal against these preventable illnesses.
When you introduce a cat to your family, speak with your veterinarian quickly to begin to create the vaccination schedule that will best benefit your new pet. Use this guide to familiarize yourself with the shots offered, so that you can take all the necessary precautions to protect your four-legged friend.
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