Vaccinating your pets is an essential part of their preventative health program. There are a number of highly infectious and life threatening diseases that they are susceptible to but you can vaccinate against some of them. Vaccination and prevention is always better for your pet, as well as being more cost effective than having to treat your pet if they contract one of these diseases. Cats can be vaccinated for protection against the following infectious diseases;
Feline Infectious Enteritis – also known as Feline Parvovirus or Feline Panleukopenia is a highly contagious virus with kittens under 6 months being the most susceptible. Signs and symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration and/or severe abdominal pain.
Feline respiratory diseases (Cat Flu) – can be caused by Feline Calicivirus (FCV) or Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) and can be easily spread through sneezing or coughing. Signs include sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, runny eyes, conjunctivitis and/or ulcers on the tongue. Many cats contract Cat Flu and after having it they can become carriers to further spread the disease. The cat flu may be latent (dormant) in their body and at times of stress or illness it can then flare up.
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) – kittens are the most susceptible and it is transmitted through tears,saliva urine or faeces through the use of a contaminated litter tray, feeding equipment or during mutual grooming. Infected cats can pass on FeLV for years after originally contracting the virus and many will remain infected for their entire life. Signs and symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and anaemia.
All cats should be vaccinated regardless of whether or not they go outside, visit catteries, play in parks or even if they don’t come in direct contact with other animals. Cats are generally social animals and it is very easy for them to contract diseases. Highly contagious diseases can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected animal, contact with an infected animal’s faeces or urine or they can even pick it up just walking and sniffing in an area that an infected animal has been. Many of these diseases can survive in the environment for months and infected animals can continue to be carriers even after symptoms have subsided. It is also possible for people to transfer diseases to their pets by walking through an infected area or patting an infected animal and then going home to their own pets. This is why it is necessary to vaccinate your cat even if they do not come in direct contact with other animals.
Speak to your veterinarian about the right vaccination program for your pet and help prevent them falling victim to these terrible diseases by keeping their vaccinations up to date.
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Summer 2015/16.
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