Cats need vaccinating too!

Following this year’s theme for World Veterinary Day, “The Value of Vaccination”, I felt it pertinent to reinforce this point.

Too few cats

Much too often in clinic, we see cats that have never been vaccinated at all. Cats, like most mammals can benefit from vaccination as it develops immunity to commonly encountered diseases. Vaccination also prevents infection and transmission of disease-causing agents within a population.

When to Vaccinate your cat

The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends vaccinating kittens starting around 6 weeks old and repeating every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks of age. If however you have an adult cat that’s never been vaccinated, have no fear! Adults can also receive protection with 2 vaccines 3-4 weeks apart. Most vaccines are usually maintained with a follow up booster vaccination every 1-3 years depending on the agent being protected against.

Did you know?

The basic diseases that cats are vaccinated against here in Barbados include, Feline Panleukopenia, Calicivirus, Feline Rhinotracheitis & Chlamydia Psittaci. However, in recent times I have found an increasing frequency of Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) infections in cats, and some clinics have started to offer this as an additional vaccine to clients. This is quite a nasty virus and can cause the infected cat to become immuno-suppressed which leads to a variety of other diseases. FeLV can be transmitted by simple sharing of water bowls, cats grooming each other and fighting, basically anything to do with body fluids, and it is very easily spread between cats. Adding this to your vaccine protocol will help protect your pet and prevent the spread of this virus through the cat population.

Why vaccinate?

Some people may ask ‘why vaccinate, when I can’t afford it?’ But the cost of vaccination is way less than the bills incurred if your pet becomes ill with one of these diseases, also as your puppy or kitten grows to become a much loved member of the family, it reduces the risk of losing them to a preventable/avoidable scenario.

Dr Laura Hutchinson, Trinity Animal Clinic