Does my cat really need an annual vaccination?

Does my cat really need an annual vaccination?

It used to be that many cats barely set paws in a vet clinic and were never vaccinated, let alone received an annual booster, so why bother now?

There is a lot of information out there about vaccinations so we’re not surprised people are confused about what to do! Our kitten health checks take into consideration a number of factors to decide on what vaccinations are best for your new bundle of fluff.

vaccinations-venn-diagramThe most important considerations are the interactions between humans, animals and the environment – so we ask a number of questions in order to tailor-make a vaccination and health programme for your new kitten.

We follow this with annual health checks which continue to tailor the need for vaccinations to your current situation – as things may change from year to year.

Vaccinations we offer are:

  • Tricat/Ducat: Ducat protects against Herpes and Calici virus (2 causes of cat flu) and similar to the human flu vaccine, limits the symptoms but does not always eliminate the infection completely. The majority of cats are exposed to cat flu and a portion of these are carriers for life that can infect others while suffering recurring clinical signs. Cat flu sounds deceivingly mild as we can see more severe forms, such as pneumonia or eye ulcers. Some breeds, such as Burmese, are prone to these complications. Tricat also contains panleukopenia which is a life-threatening diarrhoea virus (similar to parvo in dogs).
  • FIV: This is also known as feline AIDS and causes severe depression of a cat’s immune system, so the consequences are serious. It is transmitted by bite wounds, so cats that are outdoors and fight are at a high risk. NZ has a high prevalence of the disease (7-27%), but unfortunately the vaccination doesn’t cover all the strains and we are still not 100% sure how much cross protection there is. If starting the vaccination course after 12 weeks of age, a blood test must be done to check your cat does not already have the disease. Cats that receive this vaccination must be microchipped (as they will artificially test positive to an FIV disease test).

Kittens usually need Tricat every 2-4 weeks with the final vaccination being at 16 weeks of age. If starting FIV vaccinations, 3 vaccinations are required 2-3 weeks apart.

Aside from vaccinations, there is a genuine benefit in your cat getting an annual health check every year. We find concerns during routine exams at least half the time in cats that presented to us as healthy. Your cat gets a full nose-to-tail exam and we discuss parasite control, nutrition, dental care or anything else you are concerned about.

Hopefully this has been of some help to you! Please call 09 377 6667 to book for your annual check-up today.

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