Your cat counts on you for protection
One of the very best things you can do to give your cat a long and healthy life is to ensure that he/she is vaccinated against common and serious feline infectious diseases. Your cat’s mother gave her kitten immunity from disease for the first few weeks of existence by providing disease-fighting antibodies in her milk. After that period it’s up to you – with the help and advice of your veterinary surgeon – to provide that protection.
How do vaccines work?
Vaccines contain small quantities of altered or “killed” viruses, bacteria or other disease-causing organisms. When administered, they stimulate your cat’s immune system to produce disease-fighting cells and proteins – or antibodies – to protect against disease.
When should my cat be vaccinated?
Generally, the immunity that a kitten has at birth only lasts for a few weeks. It is then time to begin vaccination. The first vaccination is usually given in two doses, the first dose at around the age of 8-10 weeks and the second about 3-4 weeks later. Thereafter, your cat will require annual ‘booster’ vaccinations for the rest of his/her life to maintain protection. Of course, these are only guidelines – your veterinary surgeon will be able to determine the exact schedule that’s right for your pet.
Which vaccinations should my cat receive?
Your pet should be protected against those diseases which are most common, highly contagious and which cause serious illness or death. Such diseases include feline panleucopaenia, cat flu which may be caused by feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus and feline leukaemia. Feline chlamydiosis, Bordetella bronchiseptica (another potential cause of cat flu) or rabies vaccination may also be recommended, based on your veterinary surgeon’s evaluation of the risks posed by such factors as your cat’s age, particular environment and lifestyle.
Like any drug treatment or surgical procedure, vaccinations cannot be 100% guaranteed to protect against disease. However, used in conjunction with proper nutrition and hygienic conditions, vaccination is clearly your pet’s best defence against serious and common infectious disease. Plus, when you consider what treating a serious illness can cost you and your beloved cat in terms of both money and distress, prevention through vaccination is extremely cost-effective.