Vaccinating your pet against major diseases is one of the most important steps you can take to see that he or she enjoys a healthy life. As your pet’s health care providers, we will recommend when your pet should be vaccinated and which diseases to vaccinate against. Vaccination protocols do change and we want to provide you, our client, with the most up to date information.
Of all diseases, rabies is of the most concern. The rabies virus attacks the brain and is always fatal. More often, your pets can become infected or exposed to rabies from the bites of wild animals, particularly bats, skunks and foxes. The disease can be transmitted to humans through the bite or scratch of an infected pet. In Pima County, in 2014, 62 bats and 10 skunks tested positive for the rabies virus. There is no way to test for the rabies virus in live pets. The first rabies vaccination given to cats (between 12 and 16 weeks) is good for one year and subsequent rabies vaccinations may be good for three years. This is a vaccination that we insist upon, not only due to legal requirements, but for your safety, that of your pet and the safety of our staff.
Feline Leukemia Vaccination
We do not recommend that you encourage your cat to be an outdoor kitty while living in Arizona. However, if you do allow your cat to go outside, we recommend an annual feline leukemia vaccine. This is a virus that is transmitted through contact with an infected cat. It is not as contagious as some of the viruses that we vaccinate for in the Feline Combo vaccine, but the possibility of your cat contracting this virus exists. If you are introducing a new kitten to the household, we strongly recommend having it tested for feline leukemia beforeexposing your new addition to the other cats at home. Kittens should be tested for Felv/FIV between 9 and 12 weeks. If negative, then a series of two vaccines are needed, given 3-4 weeks apart. Adult cats, with unknown exposure history, should be tested and, if negative, receive the 2 injection series. If cats will be indoors only, with no exposure to infected cats, then these vaccines may not need to be repeated as annual boosters.
This core vaccination is a 3 in 1 vaccine that provides protection from the following highly contagious viruses:
- Feline Rhinotracheitis: This disease causes sneezing, fever and discharge from the nose and eyes.
- Feline Calicivirus: This common respiratory disease causes upper respiratory symptoms, pneumonia and ulcers in the mouth.
- Feline Panleukopenia: This disease usually causes vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and, in severe cases, can end in death.
For kittens, we recommend a series vaccinations given every 3-4 weeks starting at the age of 6-8 weeks. Kittens are usually given their first vaccine at the breeder or shelter and we continue the series until the kitten reached 16-20 weeks of age. This combination vaccination will be given again one year later and then may be given every three years. However, annual or bi-annual exams are still recommended to catch any health issues early.