Northside Veterinary Clinic

Cat Vaccinations

Vaccinations are one of the most important preventive measures you can take for the health of your cat. Vaccinations help protect your cat from viral and bacterial diseases. At some time in its life, your cat may be exposed to a serious or even fatal infectious disease. Without proper vaccination, itís left unprotected.

Whether your cat spends more time indoors than outdoors, he may be at risk of exposure to infectious diseases. Fortunately for your cat, vaccination to prevent many of these diseases is available through Northside Veterinary Clinic. Vaccinating your cat is the best and most inexpensive way of preventing disease. Prevention helps assure the best quality of life for your cat and is less costly than treating your cat for serious illness that could have been prevented.

How does vaccination work? When your cat receives a vaccine, its immune system produces special substances called antibodies that work against viruses or bacteria that cause the disease. Later, if your cat is exposed to that same disease, these antibodies will help destroy those viruses or bacteria. In many cases, vaccines against several diseases are combined, reducing the number of shots your cat receives at one time.

How often should my cat be vaccinated? Kitten vaccinations start at 9 weeks and continue every 3-4 weeks until 4 months of age (the rabies vaccination is given at this time). Adult cats are then vaccinated annually.

How do I know which vaccines my cat needs? The vaccines your cat needs are dependent upon your catís lifestyle, lifestage and risk of exposure to certain diseases. As a general rule of thumb, kittens typically receive a series of initial vaccinations , followed by booster. At each wellness exam we will recommend which vaccines your cat needs as well as when they should be administered.

Why do kittens require more shots than older cats? Kittens are as vulnerable as they are adorable because their immature immune systems canít fight off disease as well as older cats. A nursing kitten receives antibodies from its motherís milk that protect it during the first months of life. However, the protection received naturally through maternal antibodies can interfere with early vaccinations, making it difficult to pinpoint when vaccines stimulate immunity. This is why kittens need vaccinations several times during their first months of life. That way, if maternal antibodies interfere with early vaccinations, later doses will still stimulate the kitten to produce its own antibodies to the disease.

What possible risks are associated with vaccinations? Severe reactions to vaccination are very uncommon. Your cat is at a higher risk of contracting an infectious disease than of experiencing side effects from a vaccination. We are more than happy to discuss your concerns about vaccinating your cat.

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