Vaccinations are a critical part of your kitten’s health and provide your fur-baby with protection against any viruses that can be debilitating and even deadly. As a rule, kitten vaccines should be given as a series of injections at specific intervals, and it’s important to be on time for those scheduled vaccinations. Generally, kitten vaccines start at six to eight weeks of age, and boosters are administered every three-four weeks until the kitten is four months old.
By the time your kitten is weaned and reaches eight weeks old, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian in Wilmington, DE for an exam and vaccinations. All kittens should receive vaccines for viruses that can cause upper respiratory infections and panleukopenia, as well as for rabies.
What is a Kitten Vaccine in Wilmington, DE?
The function of a kitten vaccine is to trigger an immune response to a certain virus which can help protect your pet from future infections and diseases. A vaccine triggers the body’s immune response to produce antibodies that can battle viruses.
Keeping your kitten up-to-date on vaccines will ensure that your pets will enjoy a healthier and happier life.
Four Essential Vaccines for Kittens in Wilmington, DE
Essential, or core vaccines, can help protect your kitten from viruses such as feline distemper (panleukopenia), feline viral rhinotracheitis (feline herpesvirus), calicivirus, and rabies. The first three are included in a combination vaccine given every three to four weeks until the kitten reaches 4 months of age, and the initial rabies vaccine is usually given once between 12 to 24 weeks of age.
Your veterinarian in Wilmington may also recommend other vaccines for your cat depending on where you live and your cat’s lifestyle.
Four essential vaccines that every kitten needs include, but aren’t limited to:
Rabies is a zoonotic disease that can be transmitted to humans and other pets and is required in most cities and states in the US, even if your cat stays exclusively indoors. Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system.
Symptoms include excessive drooling, paralysis, anxiety, and ultimately death. Due to its deadly nature and capability to transfer to humans, rabies vaccines, or appropriate rabies titers (a measurement of rabies antibodies in the blood) are required in most cities and states in the US.
Your veterinarian in Wilmington uses an exclusively feline Rabies vaccination in order to prevent the formation of vaccine-associated sarcomas.
If you have any questions about the rabies vaccine and vaccine-associated sarcomas, please contact our veterinarians.
Feline calicivirus is a virus that is an important cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats in Wilmington and is one of the more common infectious agents in cats with a respiratory infection.
Calicivirus is highly contagious and infected cats can shed the virus in saliva or secretions from the nose or eyes.
Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)
Feline panleukopenia, or feline distemper, is a highly contagious viral disease of cats caused by the feline parvovirus. Kittens are most severely affected by this virus.
Symptoms of feline distemper include:
- Loss of appetite
- High fever
- Nasal discharge
Cats shed the virus in their urine, stool, and nasal secretions; infection occurs when susceptible cats come in contact with these secretions, or even the fleas from infected cats.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
This is an infectious disease caused by feline herpesvirus type-1, and symptoms include fever, sneezing, conjunctivitis, and rhinitis. The virus is spread to other cats via saliva and/or discharge from the eyes and nose from an infected cat.
The feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia kitten vaccines often come in a combination shot (FVRCP), which is sometimes called the “distemper shot.”
Optional Kitten Vaccines in Wilmington, DE
Optional or non-core vaccines aren’t administered to every kitten, but depending on where you live and your kitten’s lifestyle, they may be recommended.
Cats in Wilmington that live outdoors are at more risk for infectious disease. It is recommended to keep your kitten indoors until he or she is an adult.
If not kept indoors, then a non-core vaccine to discuss with your veterinarian is:
This serious viral infection spreads through many bodily fluids like saliva, feces, urine, and milk. The vaccine is recommended for cats who spend any time outside.
Feline leukemia cannot be cured, so prevention is a priority.
Why Does My Kitten Need More Than One Vaccine in Wilmington, DE?
Vaccines given at certain ages and intervals increases the chances of stimulating active immunity in your kitten. It’s recommended to give vaccinations in the critical period that occurs after the kitten loses her mom’s passive immunity and before she is at risk of being exposed to diseases and viruses.
Giving a series of vaccines improve the chances of your kitten developing proper immunity and antibodies, and the series is needed because a single vaccination, even if effective, is not enough to stimulate the long-term active immunity. One exception to this is the rabies vaccine since one injection given at the proper age is enough to produce lasting immunity for up to a year.
To boost your kitten’s immunity through adulthood, vaccine boosters are recommended once every 1-3 years depending on lifestyle, your cat’s health, and vaccine type.
When Should We Begin Kitten Vaccines in Wilmington, DE?
Kittens should start getting their vaccines when they are 6 to 8 weeks old until they are about 16 weeks old. Then they must be repeated 1-3 years later. Kitten shots come in a series every 3 to 4 weeks, and adult cats need shots less often, usually every year or every 3 years, depending on how long a vaccine is designed to last.
At Wilmington Animal Hospital, we tailor your kitten’s vaccine schedule based on their lifestyle and needs. Your pet’s health is always our first priority, which is why we always make sure your cat is up to date and has all the necessary vaccinations they need to stay happy and healthy. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.