Ridgewood Veterinary Hospitals Recommended Vaccination Protocol for Felines
Rabies Vaccine Schedule
Rabies is a dangerous, untreatable, fatal viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It can affect all warm-blooded animals, including people. Even strictly indoor cats need to be vaccinated due to the public health risk of rabies and the deadly nature of the virus.
Rabies vaccination is performed at 12-16 weeks of age in kittens, and re-vaccination is performed every year.
FVRCP Vaccine Schedule
This vaccine encompasses three feline viruses:
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis is caused by feline herpes virus-1. It is a very contagious disease and causes upper respiratory disease (which is usually acute and short-lived, but can become chronic), ocular disease and skin lesions. Cats exposed to herpes virus can become latently infected, leading to chronic intermittent disease throughout their lives.
Calicivirus is a contagious virus that also causes upper respiratory disease in cats, as well as ocular and oral problems. It can be transmitted via direct or indirect contact, as it can remain stable and infective in the environment for up to 1 week.
Panleukopenia, caused by feline parvovirus infection can lead to lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and decreased white blood cell counts and is often fatal, especially in young cats. It can also cause birth defects if a pregnant cat is exposed. It is highly contagious, both by direct and indirect contact, as it can remain stable and infective in the environment for months to years.
The FVRCP vaccine is started in kittens at 6-8 weeks of age and then given every 3-4 weeks until the kitten reaches 16 weeks of age or older. The next vaccine is given 1 year after the last vaccine of the kitten series, and subsequent re-vaccination is performed every 3 years.
FeLV Vaccine Schedule
Feline Leukemia Virus is a retrovirus that causes immunosuppression (increasing susceptibility to other infectious diseases), cancer, anemia and, commonly, death. It is transmitted via exposure to saliva, nasal secretions, blood or milk of infected cats via prolonged intimate contact, mutual grooming, biting, sharing of food/water dishes, and blood transfusions. Kittens are especially susceptible to infections. Cats and kittens must be tested for the virus prior to initial vaccination against feline leukemia virus and also when there is a possibility of exposure since the cat was last vaccinated.
The FeLV vaccine is started in kittens at 8-12 weeks of age, with a second dose given 3-4 weeks later. The next vaccine is given 1 year after the last vaccine of the kitten series. Re-vaccination should be performed yearly in cats that are determined to be at risk for exposure.