Vaccination for Cats and Kittens

Kittens receive maternal antibodies at birth that protect against dangerous diseases. Around eight or nine weeks old, however, these antibodies begin to wane in efficacy and it’s time for kitty to be vaccinated, so it can remain protected against diseases. At Hôpital vétérinaire de Chambly, we offer numerous vaccines that can meet the varied needs of our patients; for example, the vaccines required for an outdoor cat differ to those required for an indoor cat. Speak to your veterinarian to decide on which vaccines are best for your feline friend.

What vaccines are available for cats and kittens?

Here’s a list of all the feline diseases for which we offer a vaccine.

Feline viral rhinotracheitis
Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) is a contagious upper respiratory system disease transmitted from one cat to another cat. Symptoms include fever, cough, discharge from the nose and eyes, loss of appetite and ulcers. There is no cure for FVR, but cats can sometimes recover on their own. Even if they recover, however, cats with FVR will remain carriers for the virus for the rest of their lives. We recommend vaccinating both indoor and outdoor cats against feline viral rhinotracheitis.

Feline calicivirus
Attacking the upper respiratory system, Feline calicivirus is highly contagious. Signs of the virus include fever, ulcers (including on the tongue) and pneumonia. Depending on the strain, calicivirus can range from mild to serious. There is no cure for the disease. Cats with calicivirus can recover, but symptoms often persist and become chronic, and the cat remains contagious throughout its life. We recommend vaccinating both indoor and outdoor cats against feline calicivirus.

Feline panleukopenia
Feline panleukopenia (FP) is caused by a highly resistant virus which can survive inside a cat for over a year. Most cats will be exposed to FP at some point. Around 90% of infections are unvaccinated cats. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever and severe dehydration. All cats should receive the FP vaccine.

Rabies is a fatal, untreatable disease that affects the central nervous system. It is transmitted via the saliva of infected animals, often wild animals like skunks, raccoons, squirrels, bats, etc. The vaccine is recommended mainly for outdoor cats.

Feline leukemia
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) can affect a cat in many ways, with a range of symptoms. The virus is unpredictable and, once it attacks, can quickly kill the animal infected. FeLV is transmitted through the saliva of infected cats. The FeLV vaccine is recommended for outdoor cats and for cats who live with one or more other cats.

Feline immunodeficiency virus
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is an extremely contagious disease that causes immune deficiency. Symptoms are often mild at first, then worsen over time. Animals infected with FIV may suffer from fever, loss of appetite, gum infections or other types of infections, as well as enlarged lymph nodes. The FIV vaccine is recommended for outdoor cats and for cats who live with one or more other cats.

How often do cats need vaccinations?

The first round of shots is usually given around eight weeks, then there is a booster shot three to four weeks later. The next booster shots after that will happen either once a year or every two years, depending on the vaccination schedule you’ve decided on. Speak with your veterinarian to decide which shots your pet should receive.

Remember that it’s never too late to vaccinate your pet. If you adopt an adult cat and aren’t sure of its vaccination history, speak to your veterinarian. They will be able to adequately vaccinate your pet to provide protection against a number of serious diseases.

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