How to protect our cats from the danger of disease? With vaccinations for cats: what you need to know based on age and type of pathology.
Taking care of the health of our domestic friends starts with vaccinations: following and respecting the schedule provided by the veterinarian is extremely important to avoid the danger of pathologies, even quite serious ones. It is important to learn more about vaccinations for cats, which diseases make them immune and which vaccines to administer to the feline based on their age. Let’s take a closer look at the history of this ‘miraculous substance’ capable of saving our cat’s life, what are the costs and procedures to follow when we have to vaccinate a cat.
Vaccinations for cats: what it is used for and why vaccinate
Who Invented Vaccination? It seems that the merit should go to dr. Edward Jenner, who first experienced this prophylaxis against infectious diseases. The first ‘tackled’ disease was smallpox. This historical nod serves to understand the mechanism of the vaccine valid for both humans and animals: stimulate the immune system to react against a pathogen, modified to be ‘non-lethal’. The dose of antigen administered to the feline is naturally very low, but it serves to make the cat immune when and if it is exposed to that specific disease.
It is good to specify that a vaccine does not make it 100% immune but it is still a very useful tool. Its effectiveness is totally lost when the pathology is in progress, indeed it can even be harmful. So it is important to anticipate the disease before it takes root on our four-legged friend.
Vaccinating our cat is not synonymous with protection only of his health, but also that of all the feline population who comes into contact with him and who could be infected.
What are vaccinations for cats
According to the regulations in force in our country, the vaccination combinations provided for cats are of four types: the trivalent vaccine (or CPR vaccine), vaccine for FeLV, the tetravalent (CPR and FeLV) and the pentavalent (RCP, FeLV and Clamydia ).
There rhinotracheitis and the calicivirus: these are diseases that affect the cat’s respiratory system. They are also very contagious between cats, but not dangerous for humans: the infection occurs through an exchange of saliva, or in contact with feces and other secretions. (Read here: Rhinotracheitis: the viral pathology that affects cat puppies and Calicivirus in cats: causes, symptoms and treatment).
There panleukopenia or viral gastroenteritis (Learn more here: Cat viral panleukopenia: symptoms, diagnosis and therapies) instead concerns the digestive system, so much so that the most evident symptoms are episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and often fatal sense of exhaustion.
There Feline leukemia: also called FelV is transmitted with saliva or in contact with nasal secretions. It can be lethal as it involves some sort of lymphocyte cancer, the blood cells.
Chlamydiosis: it contracts in contact with nasal secretions and involves conjunctivitis, rhinitis, ulcers, sneezing and coughing, but also high temperatures and other lung problems.
What about anger?
Vaccination for cats against rabies is not mandatory in Italy, except in Sardinia, but it is absolutely necessary for cats that are brought around Europe or for those who participate in competitions and cat shows. The ASL will make it mandatory if there is a spread of the disease in a specific region. For traveling cats it is mandatory that the vaccine be administered at least 20 days before departure. It is also one of the main diseases of cat zoonoses to humans, therefore transmissible to humans and dangerous for its health.
When to give the vaccine to the cat: the timetable
When can we think of vaccinating the cat? Since his weaning. In fact, as soon as the kitten is born, it is fed with breast milk and the substance contained inside it, colostrum for dogs and cats, which contains most of the immune defenses it needs. They will serve to protect the feline until the immune system is fully developed. Immunity transferred from the mother to the kitten even when it was in her womb tends to lose its effectiveness around 5 and 7 weeks of life. Before vaccinating it, but also immediately after vaccination, you need to keep sheltered the cat and avoid exposing him to health hazards.
A typical schedule for vaccinations for cats follows the following pattern (it is important to pay attention to the health plan, according to which the vaccinations are ‘updated’ and can change).
- A month and a half of the cat’s life: an antiparasitic must be done before vaccination.
- Two months: first dose of the trivalent (usually we also proceed with a test of leukemia and immunodeficiency).
- Two and a half months: first dose of the feline leukemia vaccine.
- 3 months: recall of the trivalent vaccination.
- 3 and a half months: recall of the leukemia vaccine.
- 4 months: anti-rabies (although not mandatory in Italy).
The recalls will have to be ‘recalled’ annually to maintain their effectiveness, especially if our cats are used to being in open spaces and have contact with stray cats.
Contraindications and costs of vaccines
The risks and side effects can certainly occur, although they are rather rare, of various kinds and with more or less similar symptoms. Some of the signals that the cat can send after a vaccination are: inflammation of the area where the injection was practiced, lethargy, fever etc.
It is not possible to determine a single price for cat vaccines, as it varies according to some factors. In fact, the cost of vaccinations are based on the type of vaccine, the Region or Province in which they are carried out and of course the veterinarian’s tariff. Generally it is possible to understand the costs between 25 and 50 euros.