Do Indoor Cats Need Vaccinations
You may assume that your indoor cat does not need to be vaccinated. If it does not interact with other animals, it is surely protected by default? What vaccines do indoor cats need?
According to the Journal of Small Animal Practice, the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group considers indoor cats low risk. All the same, some vaccines remain advisable for cats that stay home.
If youre wondering what shots cats need for apartments, discuss with a veterinarian. The majority of vets will recommend a rabies vaccine, at the least. Most vets will also recommend the FVRCP vaccine.
This means that indoor cats can be protected with just two shots. Non-core vaccinations are optional. They are not deemed essential, so you can choose whether to administer them.
Do Cats Have Reactions To Vaccinations
Many cats experience short-term reactions to vaccines. Monitor your cat after vaccination. Most of these side effects are minor and temporary. Common reactions to feline vaccinations include:
- Low energy and lethargy
- Hind limb stiffness
These side effects should pass within 24 hours. If this is not the case, return to your vet. Your cat may be experiencing an allergic reaction to the vaccine that will need to be tempered with drugs. The Journal of the Hellenic Veterinary Medical Society explores the possibility of more serious potential complications. These include:
- Reproductive difficulties
- Sarcomas at the injection site
Hypersensitivity will usually pass within 24 hours. Reproductive difficulties, sadly, cannot be identified without extensive testing. Thankfully, this complication is rare. Sarcomas are equally unlikely but serious.
A sarcoma is a malignant tumor that vaccines can provoke. These are referred to as vaccine-associated sarcoma or feline injection-site sarcoma . The sarcoma could appear within months, or it may take several years.
As per the American Veterinary Medical Association Journal, sarcomas become an emergency if they persist for 4 months. The tumor will be surgically removed, and your cat may require chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Myth: Kitten Vaccines Protect For Life
There is a widely held misunderstanding that vaccinating a kitten gives them immunity for life. This is false. Many perfectly well-meaning cat parents dont get their cats booster shots, because they dont realize immunity wanes with time.
Booster shots are important to maintain the cats protection against disease. We know this by looking at blood antibody titers, which show levels fall over time to the point where they are nolonger detectable.
Once this happens, if the cat encounters infection, they are potentially at risk because the immune system may no longer remember how to fight against the bug.
How long a cat remains protected varies between individuals and there are many variable factors that influence this. So rather than put the cat through blood tests each year, manufacturers did a lot of research to check out the average protection time and when a booster dose is needed.
It is this data that the vet uses when advising a cat parent that their cat needs another shot.
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How Do Vaccines Work
Vaccines work by stimulating the body’s immune system to recognize and fight a particular microorganism such as a virus, bacteria, or other infectious organism. Once vaccinated, the animal’s immune system is then primed, or prepared to react to a future infection with that microorganism. In other words, the vaccine mimics a true infection so that the immune system can better protect the body in the future.
“the vaccine will help the body prevent infection or lessen the severity of infection and promote rapid recovery.”
Depending on the disease, the vaccine will help the body prevent infection or lessen the severity of infection and promote rapid recovery.
While a vaccine can prevent illness, it cannot block microorganisms from getting into the body. This means that sometimes a cat may not look sick thanks to the vaccine, but the cat can still spread the invading microorganisms to other cats. This is not a major consideration in the pet cat but may be important in the breeding colony.
Cat Vaccination Myths And Misunderstandings
That adorable kitten youve just adopted depends on you to keep them happy and healthy, which means providing a cat-friendly home, a healthy diet, and lots of love. Another vital aspect of this care is vaccination.
However, its not unusual for cat guardians to misunderstand which cats need which vaccinations and when, plus what protection has to offer.
So lets explore some common myths and misunderstandings to set the record straight.
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Myth: Older Cats No Longer Need Vaccination
Your senior cat has been vaccinated all their life. Surely, in their old age, they have built-up enough immunity to skip the booster?
Actually, no. While this is a logical argument, sadly this isnt the case.
Firstly, even with a healthy, strong immune system, the protection drops over time and needs boosting.
Secondly, older animals have weaker immune systems. This means they are less able to fight infections and depend more on vaccine protection, rather than less. Thus, it becomes more important, not less, for seniors to get their booster shot.
If We Decide To Use A Less Frequent Vaccination Schedule How Often Should My Cat Get A Health Or Wellness Examination
Cats age at a more rapid rate than humans do. Therefore, it is important to ensure that they receive a complete physical examination on at least an annual basis. As they approach their senior years, they should receive a complete physical examination more frequently, such as twice a year. In general, a cat that is more than 10 years old is considered to be a middle-aged to senior cat.
“Regardless of the vaccine schedule that is most appropriate for your cat, he or she should be seen by your veterinarian for a wellness examination on at least an annual basis.”
Regardless of the vaccine schedule that is most appropriate for your cat, to ensure your cat receives the highest standard of care and protection, he or she should be seen by your veterinarian for a wellness examination on at least an annual basis.
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How Often Do Cats Need Shots And Other Preventative Treatments First The Basics
In fact, there are answers to the question, How often do cats need shots? but theyre not very satisfying. Some plausible answers to the question, How often do cats need shots? are It depends. Nobody knows.
The correct answer to, How often do cats need shots? is it varies depending upon life stage, lifestyle, geographic location and immune system function.
People who seek a simple answer no doubt will be put off at this point. Although there is no straightforward, simple answer to, How often do cats need shots? there are some guidelines that can help to make sense of cats and vaccines, as well as cats and preventative measures.
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Pet Health Corner: What Vaccinations Does Your Pet Need
Youve just got a new pet congratulations! But what vaccinations do you need to give them to make sure they stay healthy?
Our friends at the ASPCA have some great tips about just this. Check out some of them here and get all the information on their website.
What are vaccines, and does my pet need them?
The ASPCA says vaccines prepare the bodys immune system against the invasion of disease-causing organisms.
If a pet is ever exposed to the real disease, his immune system is now prepared to recognize and fight it off entirely or reduce the severity of the illness, ASPCA fact sheet.
For your pet, the ASPCA says vaccines are very important, but that not every pet needs to be vaccinated for every disease. As a responsible pet owner, you need to discuss with your veterinarian what vaccines they recommend for your pet.
Some factors the ASPCA says to take into account include, age, medical history, environment, travel habits and lifestyle. The ASPCA also says most vets will highly recommend administering the following core vaccines to healthy pets.
Are There Any Other Advantages Of Annual Vaccination
Not all vaccines provide protection for a year. In particular, vaccines that protect against non-viral diseases such as Chlamydia and Bordetella provide immunity for less than a year. Some experts also recommend annual revaccination with feline leukemia vaccine if your cat is exposed to other cats on a regular basis. You and your veterinarian should decide which vaccinations your cat receives annually based on your cats lifestyle, age, and health status.
Prior to vaccine administration, your veterinarian will perform a health or wellness examination. You will be asked specific questions about your cat’s health status, and the veterinarian will check your cat’s head, neck, chest and abdomen, muscles, skin, joints, and lymph nodes. Annual vaccines mean annual examination by a veterinarian veterinarians frequently detect infections of the teeth or ears, and sub-clinical diseases such as underlying heart conditions, metabolic problems or organ dysfunction during these visits. Early diagnosis allows more effective and successful treatment and may improve the quality of your cats life.
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Frequency Of Vaccinations For Adult Cats And Boarding Facility Requirements
The frequency of feline booster vaccinations varies from 1-3 years depending on the vaccine, the disease, and the risk of disease exposure to the individual cat. In general, it is recommended by expert panels on feline vaccination that cats who stay at a boarding cattery require an annual vaccination schedule as this can be a higher risk situation than a normal home environment . This is because boarding may be stressful for a cat and stress has immunosuppressive effects which may result in increased susceptibility to infection and disease and additionally there can be a higher risk of exposure to infectious disease.
For these reasons, it is still recommended that a cat should have a vaccination within 12 months of entering a boarding facility, and why almost all cat boarding facilities require cats to have received a vaccination booster within 12 months prior to admission to the facility.
It is best to speak to your vet about your cats individual needs. Your veterinarian will always do a health check before administering a vaccination to ensure your kitten or cat is healthy to be vaccinated. In addition, this provides an excellent opportunity for your veterinarian to fully examine your cat and discuss any health issues. This allows any health concerns that your cat may have to be addressed as early as possible, giving your cat the best chance possible to be healthy and comfortable.
How Do Cat Vaccinations Work
Vaccines teach the immune system to recognize a virus and fight against it. In essence, a vaccine imitates a virus to prepare a cats body to remove it in the future. Feline vaccines come in three forms:
- Modified live vaccines contain a current version of a virus that has been diluted and weakened.
- Inactive vaccines inject a dead version of a virus into the bloodstream to avoid it in the future.
- Subunit vaccines contain traces of the DNA of a virus rather than the entire infection.
Most feline vaccines are administered by injection, but some can be inhaled nasally. As the cat is injected with a virus when vaccinated, it may experience some side effects. However, these will be minor and short-term.
Modified live vaccines provoke the strongest side effects but also offer greater protection. However, these are not always suitable for older or weaker cats.
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What Is Feline Chlamydophilosis
Feline chlamydophilosis is caused by Chlamydophila bacteria which used to be known as feline chlamydia and usually attacks a cats eyes and nose first. It can progress to affect their lungs, stomach, intestines and reproductive tract. It is passed on through direct contact with infected cats and is fairly common in the UK.
Feline chlamydophila bacteria is adapted to affect cats. It would be extremely rare for humans to contract conjunctivitis from infected cats and theres no record of people developing more serious symptoms from this bacteria.
What If I Adopted My Kitten
If you choose to adopt a kitten or cat from us, they will be vaccinated before they leave our care. That’s one of the reasons we charge an adoption fee when we rehome an animal. Some kittens may be rehomed before they are ready for their second set of vaccinations, if this is the case we will let you know and may arrange for you and your kitten to come back at a later date – otherwise, you can make arrangements with your local vet.
If you’re looking to buy a cat from a breeder take a look at our advice on what to look for when buying a kitten.
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Booster Vaccinations For Adult Cats
Your cat will need to have regular booster jabs to make sure they stay fully protected throughout their life. Usually, boosters are needed once a year and most vet practices will send you a reminder if youve had jabs there before. Speak to your vet if youre not sure when your cat is due, and write down any future dates so you dont forget them.
If your cat is overdue for a booster or missed their kitten vaccinations, dont worry. Theyll usually just need a second injection to boost their immunity. Ask your vet how to get them back up to date.
My Cat Has Never Been Vaccinated
The real question to answer here is why not? Explanations include:
- You adopted a stray cat and have not got around to vaccination yet
- You feel bad about vaccinating your cat in case it hurts
- You do not believe in vaccination and think it is all a money-making ruse
- The cat became unwell after past vaccinations
- You cannot afford vaccinations
- The cat has never been vaccinated in the past, and its just fine
You may be breaking the law by skipping a rabies vaccination. Meanwhile, while its true that vaccination is unpleasant for cats, sickness is more so. The bill for treating a poorly cat is higher than a vaccine, too.
Put your personal reservations to one side and consider the cats health. As felines grow older, they become more vulnerable. So, skipping vaccination could lead to an avoidable illness that ends badly for your cat.
Annual vaccinations and boosters are an essential element of feline care. Cats are sturdy and independent but vulnerable to disease. Remaining up to date with vaccines improves your cats chances of a long, healthy life.
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Still Stumped On What Vaccines Cats Need
Take a look at these guidelines.
Steve Dale, CABC, certified animal behavior consultant, is host of several pet radio shows, appears on TV and speaks around the world. Hes author/contributor to many books, including The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management, and board member of the Winn Feline Foundation. Blog: stevedale.tv.
Editors note: This article appeared in Catster magazine. Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vets office? !
Read more about cat health care on Catster.com:
How Frequently Should My Cat Be Vaccinated
All kittens should receive their core vaccinations and any others that are agreed between you and your vet. The initial vaccine course is often started at 8-9 weeks of age, with a second injection 3-4 weeks later. It is now common also to recommend a third vaccination at 16-20 weeks of age to ensure the kitten is properly protected.
A first booster vaccination should be given 12 months later to ensure a good level of continuing protection. However, after that, the frequency of booster vaccinations may be only every 1-3 years depending on the vaccine, disease and risk of with the individual cat.
Cats that stay at a boarding cattery will generally require an annual vaccination as this is a higher risk situation.
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What About Adverse Events
No injection or medication is without some degree of risk, but we continue to vaccinate because, in most cases, it is much smaller than the risk of the disease itself.
The overall incidence of adverse reactions in cats is reported to be about half of 1 percent and usually mild and self-limiting. Common side effects include lethargy, transient fever and local inflammation.
Anaphylaxis and death are, fortunately, extremely rare: about one in every 10,000 vaccines.
A vaccine-associated sarcoma is a slow-growing but locally aggressive cancerous mass that develops at vaccine injection sites. Sarcomas occur with about the same rare frequency as anaphylactic reactions.
For cats without a history of vaccine reactions, the risk of sarcomas is usually outweighed by the benefit of the core vaccines.
Pet owners can minimize the impact of sarcomas by monitoring injection sites for swelling after vaccinations. Swellings should be biopsied if they are larger than 2 centimeters, persist longer than three months, or grow one month past the date of vaccination. When sarcomas are addressed early, surgery is often curative.