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& Diseases
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Testing
  Kitten Vaccination
Schedule
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General Information

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A pet’s general good health can be ensured by routine vaccinations, regular check-ups by a veterinarian, and by avoiding exposure to animals infected by common diseases.

Why give your cat routine vaccinations?

Unless properly vaccinated, your cat is at risk of contracting one of several, possibly fatal, infectious diseases. Most common infectious diseases can be prevented by routine vaccination. We vaccinate our pets for the most important & common of these diseases in order to protect them. In fact, vaccines are usually effective in more than 95% of pets vaccinated. Additionally, routinely vaccinating your pet is often cheaper than paying for treating your sick pet later, and reduces virus transmission in the pet population.

Viral immunity in an adult pet can result from either: Vaccination; or... The pet already suffered from (and survived) the disease

Viral immunity in young animals:

Newborn kittens receive protection from the mother’s milk (if mother was vaccinated). Newborn kittens must nurse within the first 12 hours to receive this protection. This protective type of milk is called colostrums.

After weaning, the natural immunity gradually disappears. Vaccinations must start at this time – we recommend 8 weeks, ideally. For more information, see our Vaccination Schedule for Kittens. If vaccines are given too early, protection from colostrum fights off the vaccine, and the vaccine does no good. If given vaccinations too late, the kitten may contract a disease.

Young animals’ immune systems are immature, and not capable of developing long-lasting immunity until at least 16 weeks of age. Booster series for kittens, given every 3-4 weeks, are due to the developing nature of their immune system, and the interference from colostral antibodies.

Re-vaccinations:

Pets should be vaccinated annually for most vaccines, after the initial booster series is administered to kittens. Some vaccines can be boostered every three (3) years. Remember that vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to fight off viruses. Boosters must be given for the immune system to make long-term protection, antibodies that stay around for long periods of time.

Please note: If a pet has never received a vaccine before, and is over 16 weeks old, it will need one additional dose in 3 to 4 weeks before starting on the annual or triennial schedule.

An annual visit to your veterinarian provides an opportunity for a routine health check as well as any re-vaccinations that are necessary. If, for any reason, your pet misses a vaccination which has been advised by your veterinary practice, contact them for advice as soon as possible.

Record of Vaccination: You will go home with a copy of your pet’s medical record each time you visit one of our clinics. On the reverse side of that medical record, you will find contact information along with other information about various services we provide. Always bring all medical records with you when you visit one of our clinics. If you do not have any prior medical records or vaccination records, it is OK. We will discuss your cat’s needs with you.

All dogs must be on leashes and cats in carriers.

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Feline Vaccines & Diseases

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I. 3 in 1 – FVRCP

The 3 in 1 vaccination provides protection from Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR), Calicivirus, & Panleukopenia. This vaccination may start as early as 8 weeks in healthy cats, booster every 2-4 weeks until at least 12 weeks, then administered annually. See Kitten Vaccination Schedule. Do not vaccinate pregnant cats. Below are descriptions of the diseases from which the 3 in 1 (FVRCP) vaccination protects kittens & cats.

A. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR)

Basics

This virus is part of what the FVRCP, or 3 in 1, vaccine fights. It is a respiratory problem, like the flu. FVR is very contagious, and spreads like other respiratory diseases, by coughing & sneezing on others.

Specifics

This is the most severe and widespread upper-respiratory virus to which cats are susceptible. FVR is very serious in young kittens, but cats of all ages are susceptible. Clinical signs include: moderate fever, ocular discharge, nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, and abortions in pregnant cats. Treatment is difficult and limited to supportive and symptomatic therapy. Recovered cats become carriers for life and can shed virus intermittently, especially during periods of stress. This "chronic carrier" condition makes prevention most important. Vaccination is the best means of prevention and control.



B. Calicivirus

Basics

Another component of the 3 in 1, or FVRCP vaccine. Calicivirus is a respiratory virus, causing oral ulcers and blisters, leading to pneumonia & possibly death.

Specifics

Feline Calicivirus is another of the major upper-respiratory viruses to which cats are susceptible. It is widespread, highly contagious, and accounts for about 40% of the respiratory diseases in cats. The severity of the infection varies with the strain of the virus present. Clinical signs include: moderate fever, pneumonia and ulcers or blisters on the tongue. The only treatment option is supportive and symptomatic therapy.

Calicivirus also can create a "chronic-carrier" state, in which recovered cats become carriers for life. These carriers shed virus continuously, making prevention very important. Vaccination is highly recommended.



C. Panleukopenia

Basics

Part of the 3 in 1 vaccine, or FVRCP. It is the distemper shot for cats, and is the most important vaccine for cats. Caused by feline parvovirus, feline distemper is a virus that usually causes death, and is very contagious through feces, vomits, and sputum.

Specifics

Panleukopenia, or feline distemper, is a contagious viral disease that primarily affects young kittens, but any aged cat is susceptible. This virus is generally widespread, and natural exposure is common. Despite early maternal protection, infection of newborn kittens is frequent. Clinical signs include: fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, dehydration, and death.

Treatment of infected cats is difficult, and mortality in kittens is very high. Even when recovery occurs, a kitten may become a carrier and infect others. The most effective means of controlling this disease is early vaccination with yearly re-vaccination.



Possible side effects from the 3 in 1 (FVRCP) vaccine include lethargy, depression, fever and anorexia in some cats. However, these side effects are transient.


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II. Feline Leukemia (FeLV)

Basics

This virus causes fatal infection in cats. There is no cure. It is similar to Leukemia in humans, and can also cause cancer. Cats can be born with this virus, or contract it from other cats. However, the virus can be prevented if the cat is not already infected. Therefore, we recommend vaccinating because there is no cure once a cat has it. We also recommend the FeLV test to all cat owners if their cat has never been tested.

Specifics

This virus was first discovered in 1964, and along with its associated diseases is a leading cause of death in cats. This virus has the ability to break down the cat's protective immune response such that the cat is unable to fight off infections that it would normally be able to resist.

Feline leukemia can be spread by lateral or vertical transmission. Lateral transmission is from cat to cat by close contact such as sharing food bowls, grooming, or fighting. Vertical transmission is from mother to kittens. Cats can receive the Leukemia vaccine at 10 weeks of age, boostered in 2-4 weeks. The vaccine can be given without a FeLV test first; if the cat is already positive, the vaccination will not hurt, but it will not help either.

We recommend Feline Leukemia Testing to the cat owner if his/her cat has never been tested in order to determine the FeLV status of the individual cat. If the cat is negative, vaccination is recommended especially where cats have a higher risk of exposure such as in catteries or multiple cat households.

Leukemia vaccination may cause depression, listlessness, and mild temperature elevations in some cats. However, these possible side-effects of vaccination are transient.

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III. Rabies

Basics

Rabies is a fatal virus that affects the central nervous system of almost all mammals. The virus is most common in cats, bats, dogs, and raccoons. Rabies vaccinations should be given at 12 or 16 weeks (according to state law), boostered in 1 year, then boostered every 1 or 3 years depending on the vaccine used, and the state law. Luv My Pet, Inc. carries a 3-year approved Rabies vaccine only; but it must be given annually in some cases and in some geographic locations. Our staff will inform you when this applies.

Specifics

Rabies is a viral disease. Transmission is through injection of saliva, commonly by biting. When an animal or human is bitten by a rabid animal, the virus particles are injected by the teeth through the skin. Once inside the new host, the virus travels toward the brain through the nerves and spinal cord. From the brain, the virus spreads to other parts of the body and gets into the saliva by entering the salivary glands.

The average period of time for the cycle of transmission to be completed is usually between two to six weeks. Occasionally this cycle takes much longer, a feature of rabies, which has an impact on control procedures. Once the virus particles enter the saliva, the animal is in the terminal stage of the disease and usually dies in a few days.

Not all exposures to the rabies virus are a result of a bite from an animal exhibiting savage behavior. Humans have been exposed by coming into contact with saliva while examining the mouth of an animal not suspected of being rabid. This can happen when the animal, instead of behaving in the classical furious manner, progresses rapidly to a paralyzed state.

It is important to remember that dogs are not the only hazard. Recently more cats have been diagnosed annually as "rabid" than dogs. Farm animals, wild animals, particularly skunks, raccoons, foxes, and bats, are routinely diagnosed as rabid and present a potential threat.

Please NOTE: We have to see proof of prior rabies vaccination to issue a tag longer than one year. Proof means written documentation that the pet presented is the same pet, and has had a rabies vaccine given by a vet in the past. Without such documentation we can only mark a rabies vaccination as good for one year.


IV. Feline Heartworm Disease

Basics

Heartworm disease can infect both cats and dogs. This disease is spread by mosquito bite. Heartworms are 12 inch worms that live in the heart and impede the heart’s functioning. Cats infected may suddenly go blind or, worse, die.

Specifics

Indoor cats are at greater risk than outdoor cats. Protection from heartworms can be provided by a monthly, chewable pill, such as Revolution or Heartgard Plus.

Cats do not require testing prior to beginning heartworm prevention. In addition, even "heartworm positive" cats may be given preventative. Kittens should start preventative before 6 months old, and 8 weeks at the earliest.

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Feline Diagnostic Testing

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I. Feline Leukemia (FeLV) Test

The Feline Leukemia Test is available to determine the FeLV status of the individual cat. If the cat is negative, the Feline Leukemia vaccination is recommended especially where cats have a higher risk of exposure such as in catteries or multiple cat households.

Leukemia testing is performed with a blood sample. Depending on the territory, the test may be performed immediately in the field while the customer waits for the result or, alternatively, the tests may be performed in a laboratory. The results of blood tests that are performed at a lab rather than immediately in the field are reported to the client by mail. Clients should be instructed that they will receive their test results within 7 – 10 working days.

Cats can be tested as young as 10 weeks of age, but any positive result in a young cat should be re-tested in 3 months, as the cat can fight off the infection and then be negative.

Cats with oral ulcers, chronic diarrhea, fever and wasting, or exposed to multiple cats should be tested for leukemia. It should be recommended that all kittens be tested as leukemia can be passed to the kitten from the mother. Once cats are tested negative, they should receive leukemia vaccination. If pre-vaccination testing is not done, the client should be advised that their cat might already be infected with the virus. If that is the case, vaccination will not hurt the animal, but the onset of signs of the disease will usually occur from months to several years later.

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II. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus - FIV (Feline AIDS) Test

This test is performed with a blood sample also. The tests can be performed in the field, or in a lab, depending on the territory. Any cat tested for FIV that is under 6 months of age should be re-tested after 6 months of age because the kitten can become negative. A cat can be positive for either Leukemia or AIDS, or both. Details of FIV are listed below.

Basics

Like Leukemia virus for cats, FIV can be fatal once a cat is infected, there is no cure. It is just like human HIV, or AIDS. It causes problems with the immune system, making the cat susceptible to serious illness or death from things that normally aren’t severe. For example, a cold becomes pneumonia and can kill in an FIV infected cat. There is a new vaccine for this, but it only protects some of the cats some of the time, and once vaccinated with it, it cases all tests for Feline AIDS to be positive. Therefore, you do not know if a cat is really infected, or just had the vaccine. Thus, we do not recommend this vaccine. We recommend testing and prevention of exposure to other cats with this virus. We do not vaccinate against this virus.

Specifics

This is a retrovirus that causes immunodeficiency disease in cats, and is in the same subfamily of viruses as the causative agent of human aids. This causes immune system depression, leaving the cat susceptible to infections it normally would not get sick from.

This spread from cat to cat, usually from bite wounds. There is occasional transmission from mother to kittens. This is not transmissible to humans. Aids positive cats should never receive modified live vaccines, as they could cause disease in these cats. This can be a fatal disease with no cure. All newly acquired cats should be tested for the disease before introduction into a household.

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III. FeLV / FIV / Feline Heartworm Test

This feline diagnostic test identifies all three diseases that can infect cats - feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV, or feline AIDS), feline leukemia virus (FeLV) & feline heartworm (FHW).

Feline Heartworm (FHW) is transmitted through infected mosquitoes and found in both indoor and outdoor cats wherever heartworm infection is found in dogs.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), known as the "fighting cat disease," is transmitted primarily through bite wounds.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), known as the "friendly cat disease," is typically spread through prolonged, casual contact.

IV. Fecal Test

A fecal test is performed with a stool sample, and is done for cats as well as dogs or ferrets. The test is for intestinal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and coccidia. The pet owner must bring a stool sample. Luv My Pet, Inc. will not collect the sample from the pet.

The type of fecal test performed is a fecal flotation test, and this checks for eggs of parasites. The type of egg present in the stool tells what parasites are present. The results reported to the pet owner include the type of parasite found.

Luv My Pet, Inc. will deworm an animal for hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. All other parasites that may be found on the fecal test require a special medication that will be recommended if required. The pet owner should then obtain that medication from the full service veterinary hospital of their choice.

A fecal test can be done on any animal of any age, but is especially important in young animals. Baby animals can be born with parasites (from their mother) and are much more susceptible to serious complications, including death, from a large infection of worms.

Please note: A fecal flotation test (the kind of test we do) will not diagnose tapeworms. An animal will be de-wormed for tapeworms when the owner sees them and informs us. Tapeworms appear as small, flat, "rice-like" worms that crawl out of the rectum, and are on the stool.

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Kitten Vaccination Schedule

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While the following schedule of vaccinations for your new kitten is one that will be relevant to the vast majority of kittens that we see at our clinics, it can be adjusted based on your individual circumstances.

The schedule below will assume that you are brining your pet to us at a minimum of 8 weeks of age and that that pet has not had any vaccinations prior to today’s visit – or your first visit with us. IF your pet does not meet these criteria, please consult our staff at our clinic for the schedule of vaccinations you will need for your pet.

Our veterinarians recommend the following vaccination series for your kitten*:

Kitten 8 weeks
Luv My Kitten Pack

3 in 1 (distemper combo)

Feline Leukemia (10 weeks)

Round/Hookworm Dewormer

$49

Kitten 12 weeks
Luv My Kitten Pack

3 in 1 (distemper combo)

Feline Leukemia

Round/Hookworm Dewormer

$49

Kitten 16 weeks
Luv My Cat Pack

3 in 1 (distemper combo)

Feline Leukemia

Rabies

$49


You can bring your pet into our clinics as early as 6 weeks; however, at that point, we can only give your kitten a dewormer.

We recommend starting the kitten with their first vaccinations at 8 weeks of age because this age is when the immunity they received from their mother is fading, thus leaving the kitten unprotected. Vaccines given prior to the maternal immunity wearing off will do no good. If we wait too long after the maternal immunity wears off, we are risking the unprotected baby might be exposed to and contract a virus. Therefore, 8 weeks has been determined to be the appropriate age to start vaccinating the majority of kittens.

After your kitten has finished its booster series, you may bring him/her back in one year to re-vaccinate. See General Information SectionRe-Vaccination

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Dog Vaccinations

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See our information page devoted to Dog Vaccinations.

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*** The veterinarian may deem a pet medically ineligible for any or all products, vaccines, vaccine packages or other services. We will not service cats known to be FeLV or FIV positive.

***Any pet with a history of having an allergic reaction to vaccinations, for their safety, will not be serviced at our clinics.