In addition to providing your cat with food, water and affection, it is important to make sure they are up to date with the recommended vaccinations to ensure a long and happy life. There are many life-threatening diseases cats are susceptible to that can be prevented with the appropriate vaccines. At Gulf Gate Animal Hospital, we offer vaccinations that, with the help of regular heartworm testing and prevention will ensure your cat’s nine lives are as long, healthy and active as possible.
The FVRCP cat vaccine is our “feline distemper” vaccination that protects against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calici virus and panleukopenia. These diseases are highly contagious among cats and can have devastating effects on their respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Our feline patients should receive this vaccine when they are kittens, starting at six weeks of age. This vaccination should be given every two to four weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old. After the kitten vaccines, we administer this vaccine one year later and once every three years afterward.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is a deadly viral disease that wreaks havoc on affected cats’ immune systems and can lead to multiple cancerous conditions, including leukemia. Because symptoms can remain hidden for months or even years in affected cats, many owners don’t realize there is a problem until it is too late and other cats in the household have already been exposed to the disease. For the best protection, kittens receive this vaccination beginning at nine weeks of age and then a booster two to four weeks later. After the kitten vaccines, we administer this vaccine one year later and then it depends on your cat’s lifestyle. It remains an annual vaccine for our outdoor cat and every two years for our indoor only cats.
Rabies is a deadly virus that affects the brain and spinal cord of all mammals, including cats and humans. This being the case, it is very important to protect your pet from this virus. At Gulf Gate Animal Hospital, kittens receive this vaccine one time after they reach 12 weeks of age. Following the initial vaccine, adult cats receive the Purevax® form of this cat vaccination yearly for the most advanced safety and protection.
We recommend all kittens be tested for Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline immunodeficiency Virus at their initial health assessment. This test just requires a few drops of blood and the results take about 10 minutes. These viruses can be transmitted directly from the mother or from other cats in the environment. We recommend testing again once they are over one year old, as the virus can take a few weeks to be detectable if they were exposed right before their kitten test. After that second test as an adult, further testing is based on your cat’s lifestyle. Outdoor cats are more likely to be in contact with unknown cats and getting into fights. We typically recommend testing after any unknown fight and ideally once a year. Our indoor only cats, we only recommend if there was a potential exposure to unknown cats.
Heartworms are parasitic worms transmitted by mosquitoes that live in the arteries, lungs and hearts of cats, dogs and other animals. Heartworm disease is a very serious and widespread condition that poses a danger to all cats, regardless of their lifestyles and living conditions. While many people are under the assumption that indoor cats are not at risk for heartworms, a study recently showed that a quarter of all heartworm-positive cats are actually indoor cats. Therefore, we strongly encourage monthly heartworm preventative for all cats. Once a cat is infected, there is no known treatment, so monthly heartworm prevention is key. There are two options available for our cats, a once a month chew or a once a month topical medication.
While intestinal parasites are most common in our outdoor patients, our indoor cats are not without risk. We recommend checking several stool samples in our kittens and then every 6 to 12 months in our adult cats. Cats often show no signs of intestinal parasites until they are severely infested.
Gulf Gate Animal Hospital Feline Vaccine Recommendations
Gulf Gate veterinarians recommend all kittens begin visiting our facility once they turn six weeks old and continue to do so every two to four weeks until they are 16 weeks old. These visits help us fully protect your new family member from various diseases, parasites and growing into happy, healthy adults.
At Gulf Gate Animal Hospital, all kittens receive vaccine boosters every two to four weeks until they reach 16 weeks of age, then annually. Please give us a call to enquire about our “Kitten Plan” to help get your new furry friend started off on the right track.
Once they reach maturity, they will be on the vaccination schedule below:
If your cat is not up to date on his or her cat vaccinations and heartworm preventatives, please give us a call. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about Gulf Gate Animal Hospital’s vaccination protocol and preventative care recommendations.