Vaccines and Wellness Visits – Cats

About your cat’s vaccinations and Annual Wellness Visit:

Routine vaccinations and annual exams help to prevent common disease, as well as identify other problems before they become unmanageable.

Vaccinations that are routinely given to every cat:

  • FVRCP/C – is the routine 4-way vaccine of cats, also called the “upper respiratory” vaccine for cats.
    • Viral Rhinotracheitis – is a herpes virus of cats. It infects the upper airways and causes mild to severe symptoms of sneezing, runny eyes and nose, ulcers in the mouth and on the lips, corneal ulcers, and much more. It only goes to cats, but like the herpes virus of people, once a cat contracts it, she will have it forever. Even when the pet looks asymptomatic, the virus is still present, but dormant. Then, when the pet gets stressed for any reason, it becomes active again. Because most pregnant queens have the virus active when they give birth, the vast majority of cats already have this disease. However, keeping your cat well vaccinated helps to prevent and minimize further outbreaks.
    • Calicivirus – produces upper respiratory symptoms similar to herpes, and is a lifetime disease, just like herpes. Again, keeping your cat well vaccinated will help minimize any problems from this virus.
    • Panleukopenia – is actually a parvo virus of cats. While very rare today, it can cause massive destruction of all blood cell lines, and is usually fatal.
    • Chlamydia – is a bacterial invader that often comes secondary to flare ups of herpes and calicivirus. It causes mild to severe mucousy to muco-purulent discharge of the eyes and nose.
  • FeLV – Feline Leukemia Virus vaccine. This is a very common, very contagious, deadly retrovirus of cats. It is extremely common in outdoor cats and cats from shelters. In today’s world it is easily prevented by annual vaccination
  • Rabies – is a viral disease that is uniformly fatal to any animal that contracts it, including humans.

Of the vaccinations given above, all are viral diseases except for Chlamydia.  We use exclusively Merial vaccines for our cat vaccinations because only Merial has a complete line of feline vaccines that are non-adjuvanted. Adjuvant is a substance added to vaccines to make them more potent. However, it has been shown in multiple studies that in cats, adjuvant commonly causes deadly fibrosarcoma. Because of that, we only use Merial’s non-adjuvanted vaccines for our cats. And because of that, they need to be repeated yearly. In cats, only the rabies vaccine is good for three years.

Also during the annual visit, we’ll perform the following:

  • A complete physical exam, checking all organ systems, including GI, respiratory, skin and coat, lymph nodes, and eyes/ears/nose/throat (pet permitting). Any abnormalities are noted and discussed as to proper course of action to remedy.
  • Fecal flotation – examines your pet’s stool for internal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms, all of which are common in Florida.

Other, optional vaccines that can be performed during this visit include:

  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus are both deadly viruses that have vaccines available for them. However, the vaccines have been shown to be only marginally effective, and we only recommend them on a rare, individual basis.
  • Kennel Cough Vaccine for cats – Kennel cough does occur in cats, but in our experience is extremely rare. We recommend it in only rare situations, such catteries.