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Feline Vaccination Reccomendations

Feline Vaccination Recommendations

RabiesAll warm-blooded animals are at risk for contracting rabies, however, some species are much more resistant than others. Transmission of the virus is almost always through a bite from a rabid animal. There are a variety of different symptoms and once contracted there is no cure, and death is almost always the outcome. The disease is very preventable through vaccination. While relatively rare in humans, the risk of contracting it and the outcome of the disease make precaution with wild animals and vaccination of domestic ones essential. Colorado law requires that all dogs and cats receive routine Rabies vaccinations by a licensed veterinarian.
FDRC – Feline Distemper
(Distemper/Rhinotracheitis/Calicivirus)

Also known as Panleukopenia, feline distemper is an intestinal infection caused by an unstable DNA virus that affects both wild and domestic cats. Transmitted through the mouth and nasal passageways, possible symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, anorexia, and pain. Distemper can complicate pregnancies and may be fatal in young kittens, although adults are likely to recover. The Distemper vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection.

  • Rhinotracheitis
    Caused by a virus that primarily affects kittens, Rhinotracheitis causes upper respiratory infections and may damage the central nervous system. Symptoms include seizures and muscle coordination failure just before death.
  • Calicivirus
    An upper respiratory tract infection caused by a relatively stable RNA virus, Calicivirus is most commonly found in multi-cat environments and kittens under 6 months of age. Transmitted through direct mouth contact, such as ingestion, possible symptoms include fever, inflammation of the eyes and nasal membranes, with discharge, sores on the tongue, and lameness. Chronic persistence of calicivirus causes swelling of the gums.
Feline Leukemia
(FeLV)

Caused by a retrovirus that is very fragile outside of its host, Feline Leukemia can be found in domestic cats worldwide and is easily spread from cat to cat or from mother to offspring in utero or in their milk. Those most at risk include young kittens, cats in multi-cat environments, cats exposed to the outdoors, sick cats, and males – due to their wandering and fighting behavior. FeLV can complicate pregnancies and cause reproductive failure, anemia, tumor growth, malignancy, and immunodeficiency. FeLV infected cats are at a high risk of ultimately dying of the disease.

The FeLV vaccine, although not 100% effective, can reduce the risk of a cat developing FeLV if exposed by 75%. It is recommended for cats that go outdoors and multi-cat households where at least one cat goes outdoors.

It is highly recommended kittens be tested for FeLV. The test is an easy in-clinic blood test that can be done as early as 9 weeks of age. A negative test result indicates that the cat does not have virus in its blood at the time of the test, but if the cat was just exposed it could be too soon after exposure for the test to show a positive result.

In cats that have a high possibility of exposure to positive cats, we recommend isolating the cats and retesting 3-4 weeks later.