What does my kitten or cat need?
Please review this page and discuss any questions or concerns you may have with the your vet. Once you have decided what vaccinations and or tests you would like for your pet please check them on the well pet form you will receive at your visit. If you would like your pet to receive 3 year vaccinations please let the receptionist know at your visit or mark it on your visit paperwork before going in for your pets exam
It is hard to decipher all the conflicting information out there about vaccinations especially when new information is constantly emerging and changing recommended protocols. The consensus amongst veterinary professionals at this time is that NO ONE protocol fits every situation. There are vaccinations that every cat and kitten needs we consider these "Core" and then there are vaccinations that only some cats and kittens need based on lifestyle situations which we call "Non-Core".
~ CORE ~
Rabies is mandated by law and thus there is no flexibility on when it is given or how often it needs to be given. In this country and state the minimum age to receive this is 3 months, the next booster is given a year after the first, and then every 1-3 years thereafter. To receive a 3 year Rabies the pet must be a minimum of 15 months old and have a current Rabies certificate.
Upper Respiratory aka FVCRP (Feline viral Calici, rhinotrachetis, panleukopenia) is considered a core vaccine for all cats and kittens. Initial boosters are started at 6-8 weeks, then given every 3 weeks until a minimum of 12 weeks of age, then boostered a year later and given every 1-3 years thereafter. These viruses cause mild to serious respiratory disease. To receive a 3 year FVCRP the pet must be a minimum of 15 months old and have a current FVCRP vaccine.
Feline Leukemia or FeLV is now considered a core vaccine for kittens but non-core for adults. It is given at 8-11 weeks with one booster 3 weeks later. After the kitten series it becomes a non-core vaccine (see below)
~ NON-CORE ~
First you need to answer a few questions:
Does your cat go outside at all?
Are there outside cats that commonly come near your house?
Are there food or water sources for outside cats that you regularly go near in your daily activities? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then your cat needs a Feline Leukemia vaccine.
A feline combination test checks for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FeLV and FIV). These are very serious diseases that can significanty impact life choices and care. It is recommended to anually test kittens, any cat(s) that go outdoors or live with cats that go outdoors, and indoor cats every 3-5 years.
Feline Leukemia is a complex virus which is similar ro the human aids virus. It can exist in the body for years in stasis - hiding out in a cell causing problems. When it becomes active it presents in two basic ways. One form is, as the name implies, leukemia. White blood cells become increasingly more abnormal and then cross over into cancerous.
The other form is very similar to AIDS in humans - causing tremendous decline in the immune system leading to a variety of random illness and infections. It is very common in stay cats, and is spread via saliva and can survive short periods of time outside the body (in water/food sources for example). We humans can indirectly transmit the virus on our clothes and shoes if we come in contact with it and quickly come in contact with our cats, It is not easily transmitted like the airbourne respiratory viruses but can be transmitted through direct and indirect contact.
A fecal examination checks for intestinal parasites and high bacterial levels. Living in Georgia we live in a subtropical climate and, unfortunately, parasites abound in our environment. It is recommended to test cats over 6 months at least annually if not semi-annually. Kittens should be checked at their first kitten visit and anytime they are having soft or loose feces. We routinely deworm all kittens. Adult cats need to be dewormed only when worms are suspected or known to be present.