There are a number of serious viral diseases kittens and cats are at risk from. However, they can easily be protected from most of these diseases by a simple vaccination program.
Cats are often quite mobile, sometimes roaming the whole neighbourhood during the day and it is likely that your pet will come into contact with infections present in unvaccinated kittens and cats.
Vaccinating is a cost effective way of protecting your cat or kitten against potentially fatal diseases and the possible high costs involved in their treatment.
This is a highly contagious viral disease in cats and can spread very rapidly. Kittens and young cats under the age of 12 months are most susceptible.
Symptoms are often depression, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, marked dehydration and severe abdominal pain. If pregnant cats contract the disease, their babies may be born with co-ordination problems or other abnormalities.
The virus is very tough and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Survivors of this disease become carriers for some time and can still infect other cats.
This disease complex is often caused by either the calicivirus or the rhinotracheitis virus. It can infect cats of all ages and is spread very easily by coughing and sneezing onto other cats.
The symptoms are sneezing, nasal discharge and weepy eyes, limping, depressed appetite and ulcers on the tongue and/or eyes. Some of these signs can last for many weeks and cause significant discomfort.
This disease complex commonly occurs in multi-cat households. Survivors of this disease become carriers for some time and can still infect other cats and particularly kittens.
The above 3 mentioned viral diseases (Enteritis, Calicivirus, Rhinotracheitis) are most commonly vaccinated against, and grouped together they are often know as an F3 Vaccination.
This virus causes an infectious disease in cats similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV infection – AIDS) in humans. It attacks and weakens the body’s immune system, making the cat prone to infections and diseases that don’t affect healthy cats.
It is mainly transmitted through bite wounds during cat fights, but can also be passed on through saliva when sharing food bowls. A mother infected, can also pass it on to her babies while pregnant.
The symptoms can be obscure, but often manifest themselves as fevers and mild anaemias, but as time progresses and the cat’s immune system weakens, more significant signs are seen (mouth ulcers, chronic abscesses, lymph node cancers, behaviour changes and much more).
As it is only identified with a blood test, it may often remain undetected in cats for years. The best time to vaccinate is from kitten stage onwards on a yearly basis.
Adults can still be vaccinated, but need to undergo a blood test first, to ensure that they are not already carriers.