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Vaccination against infectious diseases in cats: what information do you require? When should a cat be vaccinated? How much does it cost?

A core vaccination is one that must be administered to all animals of a particular species. They contain protection against highly dangerous diseases in their components In the case of cats, it is: herpeswirosis, calicivirosis, and panleukopenia.

This service is available in Pethelp packages. Package prices start at 29 PLN /month.


Herpeswirosis, calicivirosis, and panleukopenia—what do you need to know about them? 

Herpeswirosis is a viral infectious disease that causes nasal and tracheal inflammation in cats. Because the virus attacks the mucous membranes, the symptoms of infection will be respiratory-related. Sneezing, a runny nose, and conjunctivitis are the most common symptoms. They may progress and cause inflammation and infection of the cornea, leading to corneal ulcers. Kittens and older animals with immune deficiencies are most vulnerable to infection. Vaccination does not completely protect against herpesvirus, but it does lower the risk of acute disease. A cat infected with the herpesvirus becomes a lifelong carrier, allowing it to spread widely in the environment. 

Calicivirus also attacks epithelial cells and causes respiratory infection. It is much more virulent than herpesvirus and can cause multi-organ failure. Calicivirosis symptoms include fever, runny nose, drooling, erosions, and ulcers in the mouth. This virus can mutate quickly in the environment, so the symptoms of infection in cats can vary. Young kittens and cats with immune deficiencies are also particularly vulnerable. Vaccination protects against severe calicivirus but not against infection. 

Panleucopenia is caused by a feline parvovirus that affects rapidly dividing cells. The infection is characterized by digestive and lymphatic system symptoms such as fever, sometimes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, emaciation, and abdominal pain. Blood tests reveal a decrease in the number of white blood cells. Cats of all ages are susceptible to infection, and the symptoms vary depending on the cat's health. Panlekucopenia can be prevented through vaccination.

Herpeswirosis, calicivirosis, and panleukopenia—vaccination schedule? 

The first vaccination against infectious diseases in cats should be administered between 6 and 8 weeks of age. A veterinarian determines the vaccination schedule based on the data from the history and clinical examination, taking into account factors such as immune status, time spent with the mother, worming, origin, and future destiny of the cat. Vaccination is usually done in a series because of the unknown duration of action of maternal antibodies. Following the first dose, two more doses should be administered, each 2 to 4 weeks apart. A booster dose is administered 12 months after the last vaccination in the series. A veterinarian determines the schedule of subsequent vaccinations. Adult cats are typically vaccinated every 1-3 years.

Vaccination against infectious diseases in cats – contraindications

The cat's questionable immune status is a contraindication to vaccination. The vaccination process should be stopped if the animal is depressed, weak, or has any confirmed infection, such as a urinary, digestive, or respiratory infection, or if immunological deficiencies have been identified. In this situation, make an appointment with your vet to have your pet examined and decide on a new vaccination date.

The cat's questionable immune status is the main contraindication to vaccination. If the pet is depressed, weakened or has any confirmed infection, e.g., urinary, digestive, respiratory system, or diagnosed immunological deficiencies, then vaccination should be abandoned. In this case, contact your veterinarian to have your pet examined and set a new vaccination date.

Vaccination should not be given to kittens under the age of six weeks. Most animals are protected early in life by maternal antibodies. These antibodies neutralize the antigens in the vaccine, preventing the development of vaccine immunity. The first two vaccinations should be administered between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Animals with low maternal immunity may be more susceptible to infection, so each case should be evaluated individually by a veterinarian.

If you have observed an abnormal reaction to medication in your pet or have a suspicion that it may occur, please notify the veterinarian during the visit!

What is the procedure for vaccination against infectious diseases in cats? 

A pre-vaccination visit, the vaccine, and its administration are all part of the vaccination process. During this visit, the veterinarian will perform a clinical examination and assess your pet's immune status. If no contraindications exist, the doctor will administer the appropriate dose of the vaccination. The doctor may use any commercially available preparation. This service does not include vaccine administration for infectious diseases other than herpesvirus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia virus. 

Your doctor will ask you to stay at the clinic for the next 15 minutes after the vaccination to check for any possible allergic reactions. Swelling, which may or may not be in the area of the body where the preparation was administered, redness, scratching, or sudden weakness of the pet may indicate an incorrect reaction to vaccination. If any of these symptoms occur, please notify your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

The visit should conclude with the veterinarian entering the following information in the pet's health book: 

  • The date of vaccination; 
  • the identification data (name, initials, or code) of the person administering the vaccination; 
  • the vaccine label, batch number, expiry date, producer’s name
  • and the location and route of vaccine administration. 

Please keep in mind that protective immunity develops approximately 21 days after vaccination!


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