We will discuss three of the most common vaccines given to cats. Two of these are considered core vaccines, and the other one is specifically for at-risk cats.
Rabies The rabies vaccine is given to kittens between 12-16 weeks of age. The first vaccine is good for one year, and each booster is good for either one or three years thereafter depending on the label and state laws. This disease is transmitted through the saliva of an affected animal and results in severe neurological disease leading to death.
FVRCP This vaccine protects against three diseases, which include Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (herpes), Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (feline distemper). The first dose is given between 6-9 weeks of age followed by boosters every 3 weeks until 16 weeks of age. It is boostered again at one year and then every 3 years thereafter. Feline herpes and calicivirus both cause upper respiratory disease and eye or oral lesions. Feline panleukopenia is a severe, but uncommon disease in cats today. It causes gastrointestinal and neurological diseases.
FeLV The FeLV vaccine is the most common non-core vaccine for cats. It can be given to kittens or adults, but it should be boostered 3 weeks after for the best protection. It is only given to at-risk cats.
Consult your veterinarian with any questions or concerns related to vaccines for your cat!
A SNAP combo test checks for Feline Leukemia Virus and
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, which are both lifelong diseases that cause immunosuppression.
They are not overly common, but it is best to diagnose these diseases early on since
they are contagious and can spread to other cats in the household.
Feline Leukemia Virus is considered a “friendly cat” disease because it is most commonly transmitted through saliva when cats are grooming each other or drinking out of the same bowl. It can also be spread through bodily fluids, such as urine, or from the mother during nursing. It is most common in younger cats but can occur in any age. This virus infects the bone marrow resulting in immunosuppression and anemia. Cats infected have a higher risk of developing lymphoma and leukemia.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is highly contagious and is known as the “mean cat” disease since it is spread most commonly through bites. This disease is most prevalent in young, outdoor male cats. It also causes immunosuppression and predisposes those affected to secondary infections.
There are no effective treatment options for either virus, but supportive care and maintenance of good health can help improve a cat’s quality of life. Both diseases progressively worsen over time. Most FeLV-infected cats succumb to the disease within 2-3 years; however, some cats live much longer with supportive care. The prognosis for FIV-infected cats is much more guarded, and usually cats succumb to the disease just months after diagnosis. These are just general time frames, and each cat is unique, however.
Cats that are infected should be kept separate from other cats within the household. Your veterinarian may recommend repeating this combo test yearly or as needed for at-risk cats.