Getting your cat vaccinated is crucial, especially if it is a kitten, in order for it to develop a good immunity. Below you will find information regarding the different diseases against which your veterinarian will vaccinate your cat.
Panleukopenia (P) is a viral disease caused by a parvovirus similar to the one found in dogs, which affects mostly kittens but also adult cats. The "core" vaccine (PRC) will provide protection against this virus.
Panleukopenia is a very serious disease. When your kitten shows the related clinical signs, it is crucial that you make an appointment with a veterinarian in order to start a treatment plan as soon as possible. Here are some symptoms that can be observed:
- Foul-smelling diarrhea (with or without mucus and/or blood)
- High fever
This virus is present in all bodily secretions, but particularly in the stool, for up to six weeks after the onset of the disease. Panleukopenia is highly contagious and can remain in the environment for up to a year. A complete and meticulous disinfection of your cat's environment is necessary to prevent any risk of contamination.
Once the disease has been confirmed, the veterinarian will be able to offer support treatment for your cat to prevent dehydration, vomiting, persistent diarrhea or deterioration of his condition.
Rhinotracheitis (R) is a very common and highly contagious respiratory disease that can affect mostly kittens but also unvaccinated adult cats. The "core" vaccine (PRC) will protect your cat against this virus.
Clinical signs of this disease are similar to those of the common cold in humans, namely:
- Eye and nasal secretions, either clear or coloured (whitish or yellowish)
- Cough or voice change
- Conjunctivitis, frequently associated with corneal ulcer.
The disease is easily transmitted from one cat to another; all it takes is for an uninfected cat to come in contact with the secretions of a contagious animal, either directly (nose to nose) or indirectly (objects). In addition, this virus is part of the herpes family, so, like in humans, the animal will unfortunately remain a carrier of the disease for the rest of his entire life. Subsequently, in periods of stress, when its immune system is less effective, it could excrete the disease and show some light symptoms. However, the virus is hardly resistant to most disinfectants, so a good cleaning of the environment will limit its spread.
This disease is easily treated. After the diagnosis has been confirmed by a veterinary exam, it will be possible to treat your cat accordingly to help him get back in shape as quickly as possible.
Calicivirus (C) is also a highly contagious disease that affects primarily the respiratory system of unvaccinated kittens or adults. This is the third and final virus against which the "core" vaccine (PRC) will protect your cat.
Symptoms that can be observed in a cat infected with this virus are similar to rhinotracheitis.
- Runny nose
- Ulcers in the mouth and sometimes in the pads and/or nose.
This is another highly contagious disease: it is easily transmitted from one animal to another by direct contact (nose to nose) or indirect contact (objects). On the other hand, contrary to the rhinotracheitis, the calicivirus is rather resistant in the environment; therefore, it will be necessary to thoroughly disinfect your cat's environment. Moreover, up to 80% of the individuals who will have recovered from the infection will remain carriers of the virus during several months or even several years; in some cases, they will continue to be contagious for other cats. For this reason, it will be very important to vaccinate all cats in the household.
Calicivirus is easily treatable. During his exam, your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate treatment to soothe your cat's respiratory symptoms and heal his ulcers as quickly as possible.
Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a very serious viral disease that is most often found in outdoor cats. Therefore, vaccinating your cat is very important if you allow him to go outside.
It is possible for your cat to be infected without showing any symptoms. It may take several months or even years before you see clinical signs. Unfortunately, the symptoms are too numerous to list, but it is important to know that there is a blood test for the disease. If your cat becomes ill and is at risk of carrying leukemia, your veterinarian will recommend that you have the test done.
Leukemia is a viral disease that is excreted through all secretions of the infected cat's body, but primarily through its saliva. Kittens may also have been infected through their mother's placenta or milk. However, the leukemia virus is very fragile and cannot survive in the environment beyond a few hours. It is also very vulnerable to all detergents.
Feline leukemia is unfortunately a fatal disease. There is still no effective treatment for this disease, only supportive treatments to prolong life expectancy. For this reason, it is important to vaccinate your cat if it is free to roam outdoors and to have it tested for leukemia if it was born outside.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. Rabies affects only mammals. It will produce progressive encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), resulting in death in both animals and humans. As a result, it is a reportable disease in Canada.
In cats, rabies develops in the "furious" form. The incubation period in cats ranges from 2 to 12 weeks. It is usually difficult to diagnose the infection in its early stages. The main signs are
- Changes in behaviour
- Unusual gait
- Odd or unusual look in the eyes
An increased vocalization may also be observed. It should be noted that the rabies virus can be transmitted through saliva for up to seven days before the first clinical signs appear.
Rabies is transmitted either by the bite of an infected animal, or by indirect contact through saliva on contaminated objects. Wild animals that carry rabies include skunks, raccoons, bats and foxes. These animals can be found anywhere, which is why it's important to vaccinate your dog. It should be noted that rabies is a zoonosis, which means that it can be transmitted to humans.
You can start your cat’s vaccination schedule as soon as he reaches six weeks of age. At that time, your dog will receive his basic "PRC" vaccine.
PRC: Monthly booster shots may be required until your cat is 16 weeks old. Subsequently, there will be an annual booster and for the following years, it will be important to have your cat vaccinated every three years. We still recommend an annual check-up.
Leucémie : This vaccine requires a monthly booster at the first administration. Subsequently, it will be necessary to give it every two years.
Rage: This vaccine cannot be administered to your cat before the age of 12 weeks. From then on, it will require an annual booster and can be given every three years thereafter. We still recommend an annual check-up.
Whether you're staying at home or travelling within or outside Canada, make sure your pet has all the necessary vaccinations to ensure its health.