Cat Vaccinations Memphis TN
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Amy Serino Moffatt, DVMDr. Amy Serino Moffatt is a native Memphian and a 2001 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. She also completed a small animal rotating internship at the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veter
A Primer on Kitten Vaccinations
Vaccinations can be a contentious subject in the cat community. Immunizations have been developed for almost a dozen illnesses that affect cats, and there's a lot of debate on just how many of these vaccinations are really important for your cat's health.
Some vets think cats should get every shot that's out there, and a small but vocal community of cat lovers insist that vaccinations are unnecessary and perhaps even dangerous for cats. The wisest course of action is to follow a middle ground, which is best described by the American Association of Feline Practitioners vaccination guidelines.
The AAFP's guidelines divide vaccinations into three categories: core, non-core, and not recommended. Core vaccines are those that protect against diseases that are a threat to public health and for which there is a widespread risk. Non-core vaccines are typically recommended only for cats in a high-risk environment. Vaccines classified as Not Generally Recommended are in this category because there is insufficient evidence that they prevent disease. Below are the three vaccinations that your kitten must have (please note that these guidelines are for the United States; vaccination requirements and recommendations vary from country to country):
Rabies: Rabies is an incurable illness transmitted by the bites of infected animals. Because humans can get rabies if bitten by a rabid animal, the rabies vaccination is required by law in virtually every state. Your kitten should have his first rabies shot between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks and a booster one year later. After that, he will need a rabies vaccination every three years (unless annual vaccination is required in your area).
Feline Panleukopenia-Herpesvirus-Calcivirus: These respiratory viruses are endemic - occurring almost everywhere - in the feline population. These vaccinations can be administered individually but they are most often combined in one vaccination referred to as FVRCP or HCP. Your kitten sho...
Cat Vaccination Guide
Feline vaccines are easily the most contentious subject in veterinary medicine. So we consulted with Catster vet Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM to find the simplest vaccination guide veterinarians can agree on.
According to Dr. Barchas, all cats - indoor and outdoor - should have the following vaccines every three to four weeks, beginning at six to eight weeks of age, and ending at 16 weeks: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calci and panleukopenia or FVRCP for short. These should be boostered when the cat is a year old and repeated every three years thereafter (or less, be sure to discuss this with your vet).
Your cat should also get a rabies shot at 16 weeks, one year and then every one to three years after as required by law and determined by vaccine type.
For outdoor cats, our vet recommends two feline leukemia vaccines separated by at least 14 days, administered between eight and 16 weeks. Booster at one year, and every three years thereafter (note: some leukemia vaccines must be boostered annually).
Please take note: rabies and leukemia vaccines have been occasionally linked to cancers in cats. The vaccines only valid for one year may be less likely to cause the cancers, but nobody knows if a cat who gets these annually is three times less likely to avoid cancer than those who get the vaccines every three years. Always talk to your vet about vaccine-associated sarcomas (cancers) before getting the vaccines.
Also, the following are not recommended by most experts...
Cat Vaccinations and Vet Care
The earliest veterinary care your kitten receives is likely to be related to pet vaccines. Kitten vaccinations should begin around eight weeks of age, and are usually given in three rounds about three or four weeks apart. Older cats may require booster shots at set intervals, to extend the protection of vaccines received as a kitten. The following are common questions regarding the use of cat vaccines and veterinary cat care.
What Exactly Do Vaccines Do?
Vaccines are engineered to protect your cat from specific diseases, by priming the immune system so it's prepared to recognize and fight off those pathogens that cause the disease. Vaccines are routinely administered by injection.
Which Vaccines Should My Cat Receive?
Not every cat needs to receive every vaccine that's out there. It's recommended that all cats receive certain "core" vaccines, and your vet can make recommendations about additional cat vaccines that are available, taking into account your cat's age, environment, medical history, and how prevalent certain diseases are in your area.
What Are The Core Vaccines?
Core vaccines include those that are either required by law or are considered to be vital protection against very common infectious diseases. These include rabies, feline distemper (panleukopenia virus), feline calicivirus, and feline rhinotracheitis (herpes virus). Your kitten will receive these in a series of shots between the ages of six to 20 weeks. Cats who go outdoors and might come into contact with other cats should receive booster shots every one to three years, as determined by your vet. Remember that rabies shots are required by law in nearly every state.
What Are Some Other Cat Vaccines?
Non-core vaccines have been developed for diseases that cats may or may not encounter, depending on how and where they live. These include:
Feline leukemia (FeLV). Your vet may recommend this vaccine for your kitten if you're not yet sure how much exposure it will have to other cats during its lifetime. However, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), a trade group of cat vets, recommends against FeLV vaccines in adult, indoor-only cats that routinely have no contact with other cats.
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). While FIP is a serous and deadly disease, the only commercial vaccine against it is considered to be somewhat controversial. Some reports associate it with adverse side effects, and the AAFP believes it has not been proven to be of enough benefit to offset the potential risks.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Vaccination against FIV is generally not needed by healthy, indoor-only cats. And there is one very well known problem with vaccinating outdoor cats-with all current testing methods for the FIV virus, a vaccinated cat will always test positive. What this means is, if your vaccinated cat somehow ends up in a shelter, there's a good chance it will be euthanized as a carrier of the disease. (Most shelters...