August is Immunization Awareness Month—if you’ve recently adopted a kitten or plan on adding one to your home in the near future, vaccinations will be something of great importance! Learn about the basics below from a Portland, OR vet.
Your kitten’s vaccinations work by introducing a small, virtually harmless strain of a disease to your pet’s immune system. It’s just enough that your kitten’s system will recognize the problem and develop natural antibodies to fight it off. That way, your kitten’s body is prepared to recognize, minimize, or fight off the symptoms of that particular disease later in life.
Your kitten will require what are called the core vaccines, often administered together in a batch when your kitten is as young as eight weeks of age. While the core vaccines themselves may vary depending on your location and your kitten’s needs, some examples are vaccines that protect against calicivirus, panleukopenia, feline Rhinotracheitis, and rabies.
Non-core vaccines may also be needed for your kitten. As the name implies, these vaccines aren’t considered necessary for all cats, but may help some based on factors like risk of exposure, environment, and others. The feline leukemia (FeLV) vaccine and the Bordetella virus vaccine are just two examples.
Yes, many of your kitten’s vaccinations will require booster shots to remain effective over the course of your cat’s lifetime. These may be given in yearly increments or in multi-year intervals, and many cat owners have their pet’s vaccinations updated as needed at one of their cat’s standard veterinary check-ups. Talk to your vet to set up a schedule for your cat’s vaccinations.
Vaccinations are completely healthy for your cat and almost never cause serious side effects. The benefits far outweigh any potential risk! Minor side-effect symptoms are possible—low-grade fever, muscle soreness, and other mild issues may occur—but will almost always resolve on their own in a day or two. If you think your cat is reacting poorly to a vaccine, call your vet’s office right away.
Do you have more questions about the vaccinations your kitten needs? Is your pet due for initial vaccinations or booster shots? It’s time to act! Contact your Portland, OR animal hospital today to schedule an appointment. We’re always here to help.