Richard Black explains why kittens need vaccinating early
March 21, 2023
According to our head vet Richard, vaccinating kittens is important to help get them off to the best possible start in life. Richard says, “You should help keep your new furry friends healthy and protect them against potentially life-threatening diseases by ensuring they get their first course of vaccinations when they are nine weeks old.”
If you have not already then please, book your kitten in to be vaccinated now.
If you are not sure if your kitten has been vaccinated already, then it’s usually better to assume they have not and start the course of vaccines as soon as possible (after 9 weeks) to ensure they are fully protected.
Diseases we vaccinate kittens against
Kittens start their vaccination journey with a primary course of two injections at nine and twelve weeks old. They then go onto a programme of annual boosters. The key diseases we protect them against are…
1. Cat flu
Cat flu has similar symptoms to human flu, including a high temperature, cough, runny nose, and runny eyes. The difference is, once a kitten has caught flu, they can then become a lifetime carrier and suffer with symptoms for the rest of their life. Richard says that kittens are more susceptible to cat flu than cats but if we could increase the number of kittens across East Renfrewshire that were vaccinated, then we’d be helping the entire population to be healthier over time.
2. Feline Parvovirus
Feline parvovirus, also known as panleukopenia, attacks the immune and gastrointestinal systems. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, and the virus can sometimes result in sudden death. There is no cure, just supportive treatment for symptoms. Vaccination can help to protect your kitten and prevent them from passing the disease to other cats
3. Feline Leukaemia Virus
Feline Leukaemia is a disease that can cause cancer and attack the immune system. It spreads through bodily fluids such as saliva and urine, mostly affecting young, unvaccinated, outdoor cats. So, if your cat goes outdoors, it is vital they are vaccinated against this distressing virus.
We also offer vaccines for cats against rabies and Chlamydophila Felis, but we only recommend these if your cat needs to travel outside of the UK or if they have a pre-existing problem with Chlamydophila.
Boosters are vital to maintain immunity
After your kitten has had their primary course of vaccinations, they will then need a booster every 1-3 years, depending on what they are vaccinated against. If boosters are missed, they may need to restart the initial course again. Although we specifically mentioned ‘outdoor cats’ earlier, if your kitten is destined to be a house cat, they will still need vaccinations. Whilst the risks of house cats catching certain diseases are lower, they still exist. Plus, if your pet ever needed to go to a cattery they would be required to be vaccinated anyway.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that when your kitten grows into an adult cat and you bring them to our Giffnock practice for their booster vaccination, they will have a full health check to make sure they are healthy enough to have their vaccine. This is a great opportunity to ask our vets any questions you may have about your pet’s general health.
As we said above, if you have not already then please, book your kitten in to be vaccinated now.