As a young kitten there are a number of communicable diseases that can be easily prevented with routine vaccination. The use of routine vaccines has reduced the number of these cases that we see dramatically in the past years. Despite this, these diseases are still present and vaccination continues to be the best option for preventing them.

Vaccination protocols in cats has received a significant amount of attention in the past several years as new information has emerged regarding the efficacy of vaccination, the duration of immunity from disease, and the potential drawbacks of vaccination. Dr. Vitale and the staff at the Sun Prairie Pet Clinic constantly review available information regarding vaccines and use them in accordance with established recommendations published by the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Kitten vaccinations begin at or near 8 weeks of age. Kitten vaccine protocols include feline Distemper (Parvovirus), Calicivirus, and Rhinotracheitis (RCP) as core vaccines, with other vaccinations used on an as needed basis. The RCP vaccine is given every 3 to 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age; at that age the last vaccine is protective for 1 year. At that time this vaccine is boosted for another year; after that time the RCP is boosted every three years. Rabies vaccines for cats are often given between 12 and 16 weeks of age. Initial vaccination is good for 1 year. Currently the Sun Prairie Pet Clinic recommends annual vaccination with a 1-year rabies vaccine specifically for cats after that time.

Vaccination for Feline Leukemia Virus is recommended as a kitten and boosted at 1 year of age. After that time the continued use of this vaccine is based on the lifestyle of the cat. Outdoor cats have a greater chance of encountering this disease and vaccination for Feline Leukemia in these patients should be strongly considered. Indoor cats that have no contact with cats in the outside environment have a significantly smaller chance to encounter this disease; because of this vaccination for Feline Leukemia in these patients is done based on the discretion of the owner.

Additional vaccinations for cats exist in veterinary medicine. Examples of these vaccines include ones for ringworm, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Chlamydophila, Bordatella, and Giardia vaccines. The questionable usefulness of some of these vaccines and the potential risks associated with additional vaccinations prevents the Sun Prairie Pet Clinic from routinely recommending these vaccines in every feline patient. Some patients may be candidates for these, however. Discussing your cat’s lifestyle with our staff allows us to tailor a vaccine protocol for your cat, giving the protection that your cat needs without the risks of excessive vaccine exposure.

If you have questions about vaccine options available for your cat please call us at 608-834-8118 to speak with a member of our medical staff, or email us at [email protected]