Patrick von Heimendahl explains why kittens need vaccinating early
March 7, 2023
According to vet Patrick, vaccinating kittens is important to get them off to the best possible start in life. Patrick says, “You should help keep your kitten healthy and protect them against potentially life-threatening diseases by ensuring they get their first course of vaccinations when they are nine weeks old.”
If you are not sure if your kitten has been vaccinated, and are unable to find out from the breeder, we suggest you start the course of vaccines as soon as possible (after 9 weeks) to ensure they are fully protected.
Diseases we vaccinate kittens against
Kittens start their vaccination journey with a primary course of two injections at nine and twelve weeks old. They then go onto a programme of annual boosters. The key diseases we protect them against are…
1. Cat flu
Cat flu has similar symptoms to human flu, including a high temperature, a cough, and runny nose and eyes. The difference is, once a kitten has caught flu, they can then become a permanent carrier and suffer with symptoms for the rest of their life. Patrick says that kittens are more susceptible to cat flu than cats but if we could increase the number of kittens that were vaccinated, we’d be helping the entire population become healthier over time.
2. Feline Parvovirus
Feline parvovirus, also known as panleukopenia, attacks the immune and gastrointestinal systems. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, and the virus can sometimes result in sudden death. There is no cure, just supportive treatment for symptoms. Vaccination can help to protect your kitten and prevent them from passing the disease to other cats
3. Feline Leukaemia Virus
Feline Leukaemia is a disease that can cause cancer and attack the immune system. It spreads through bodily fluids such as saliva and urine and mostly affects young, unvaccinated, outdoor cats. Cat that are not neutered and live in areas with a high cat population, are particularly at risk as the disease is spread through both mating and fighting. So, if your cat goes outdoors, it is vital they are vaccinated against this distressing virus, and even better if they are also neutered before going out and about.
We also offer vaccines for cats against rabies and Chlamydophila Felis, but we only recommend these if your cat needs to travel outside of the UK or if they have a pre-existing problem with Chlamydophila.
Boosters are vital to maintain immunity
After your kitten has had their primary course of vaccinations, they will just need an annual booster. If boosters are over three months late, your cat will need to restart with a further set of two vaccinations, three weeks apart. The annual booster gives us a great chance to give your cat a full check up and make sure he or she is in good health and detect any emerging problems early.
The risks of disease are much lower for indoor cats, but we would still usually recommend vaccinations. If your cat ever need to go into a cattery while you are away, the cattery will require them to be up to date with vaccinations.