Feline Vaccination Information

Vaccinating your cat is an important procedure that, in most cases, will provide protection against an illness that may be life threatening. In past years, veterinarians have followed the vaccine manufacturer’s guidelines and recommended annual revaccination for diseases that were felt to be a threat to our patients. Recent studies have shown that annual revaccination may not be necessary for some diseases because many pets are protected for three years or longer when vaccinated. Although most cats do not react adversely to vaccination, some have had allergic or other systemic reactions after receiving a vaccine. Rarely, the allergic reaction can be so profound that it may be life threatening. Certain immune mediated diseases such as hemolytic anemia (anemia caused by red blood cell destruction), thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet numbers), and polyarthritis (joint inflammation and pain) may be triggered by the body’s immune response to a vaccine. A serious additional concern has been a “lump” forming at the site of the vaccination. Why this occurs in cats is controversial at best but it is considered extremely rare. In some cats, if these lumps persist, a tumor known as a fibrosarcoma may form which may have grave consequences if ignored. If your cat develops a lump under the skin following a vaccination that persists for longer than four weeks, you should have it examined as soon as possible.

Vaccinating your cat should not be taken lightly. Failure to vaccinate could result in your pet contracting a serious preventable disease. However, unnecessary vaccinations should be avoided. A decision to vaccinate should only come after your cat’s age and the risk of exposure to disease are considered by you and your veterinarian. Vaccinations given at the appropriate age and at the appropriate intervals will greatly benefit your pet and protect it against some life threatening diseases.

The following vaccines listed are considered “core” and “non-core” by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Texas Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, American Association of Feline Practitioners, and Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. All cats should receive core vaccinations with boosters at appropriate intervals to be determined by exposure risk related to your pet’s life style. Non-core vaccinations should not be used routinely and are only administered if your pet’s exposure risk warrants it.

Core vaccinations for cats:
__Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpes)
__Calici virus
__Panleukopenia (Feline parvovirus)
__Rabies

Non-core vaccinations for cats:
__FeLV – Feline Leukemia Virus
__FIV -Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
__FIP -Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Kitten vaccination series: Kittens receive a series of vaccinations at 3-4 weeks intervals in order to insure that they are developing a protective immune response on their own. Maternal antibodies derived from the first few days of milk while nursing their mother will give the kitten a temporary immunity that may interfere with development of a protective immune response to the vaccine. This temporary immunity when present will persist in some kittens for as long as 16 weeks.

FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici virus, Panleukopenia)
__8 weeks __12 weeks __16 weeks

FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) if kitten has exposure risk.
__8 weeks __12 weeks

Rabies at 12-16 weeks. Booster frequency to be determined by city/county.