Core vaccines: Vaccines every cat should receive, regardless of lifestyle and exposure to other cats.
This vaccine protects cats against 3 highly contagious viruses, which are easily passed between cats: feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus and feline panleukopenia virus. The initial kitten series includes vaccine administration every 3-4 weeks with the last vaccine administered after 12 weeks of age. The vaccine is administered again at 1 year and then every 3 years.
1. Feline Herpesvirus ( Feline Rhinotracheitis)- Clinical signs are associated with upper respiratory infection signs such as sneezing and discharge from the eyes and or nose. This virus can become latent ( inactive) in some cats. These "carrier" cats may have long term infections that reactivate in times of stress or with treatment that suppresses the immune system.
2. Feline Calicivirus- Clinical signs include upper respiratory signs such as sneezing, eye discharge, nasal discharge, oral ulcers as well as anorexia and joint pain.
3. Feline Panleukopenia - This virus most commonly attacks the intestines, bone marrow and brain and can cause severe disease, including death. Clinical signs may include severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, fever, lethargy and anorexia. the immune system is often compromised resulting in secondary infections This virus is very resistant in the environment and may survive for over a year.
This vaccine is required by state law for all cats 6 months of age or older.
The first Rabies vaccine is given as a single dose, then an "adult booster" a year after the initial vaccine. The rabies vaccine is then given every 3 years.
Rabies virus is a fatal infection typically transmitted through bite wounds, open cuts in the skin or onto mucous membranes. There is no treatment available once your cat is infected with rabies. This virus has very real and serious human and pet implications.
For more information on Rabies in Massachusetts click here Rabies information
Non Core Vaccines
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
The American Association of Feline Practitioners has recommended vaccinating all kittens against FeLV in their first year of life. After the initial kitten series of 2 vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart, annual vaccination is recommended for cats and kittens that will go outdoors potentially contacting other cats that may be infected. It is also recommended for cats in multiple cat households where the introduction of new cats is common, and for cats living with a FeLV infected cat. All cats should be tested for FeLV prior to vaccination ,since the vaccine will not provide protection if your cat has already been exposed.
Feline Leukemia is a deadly virus that infects cats worldwide. It causes a variety of symptoms including cancers, anemia and immunosuppression leading to infections with other diseases. Early in the course of the disease, cats can have no symptoms for months to years, but can be infective to other cats. It cannot be transmitted to people and has no relation to leukemias that happen in people. However, cats that are immunosuppressed with the feline leukemia virus that develop secondary infections can sometimes pass those other infections onto people. Cats pick up the virus from direct contact with another infected cat, usually through grooming biting or sharing food or water dishes. It can also be passed from a mother cat to her kittens. Although young cats and kittens are most susceptible to the virus, adult cats can be infected as well.
For more information about Feline Leukemia Virus click here. FeLV
We use the safest vaccines currently available to the veterinary profession. We have chosen the above vaccines and follow current vaccine guide lines to (1)minimize the number of vaccines we are administering to our patients and (2)minimize the number of side effects to our patients. Even with our best intentions, a very few number of cats may still have a vaccine reaction. Below is a summary of these reactions and what you should monitor. If your cat has had a vaccine reaction, we will need to tailor a specific vaccine protocol for you individual cat to help avoid such reactions in the future. Please call us if you notice any of these readcions.
Mild vaccine reactions, if they occur , may last for a couple of days after the vaccine is administered and may include:
-mild decrease in activity
-mild pain or soreness at the injection site
-mild decrease in appetite
-a small lump at the injection site
Sever reactions may occur within a few minutes to a few hours after vaccine administration If you notice any of these severe vaccine reactons, veterinary attention is required IMMEDIATELY.
-swelling of the face
In cats, there is another rare but serious reaction called a Vaccine Associated Sarcoma. This is estimated to occur in 1-2 out of 10,000 cats, where a cancerous lump develops soon after or even several years after a vaccination, injection, or even trauma ( not associated with a vaccine).