Feline Panleukopenia: This disease; known as distemper; causes fever, inappetance, vomiting, diarrhea, depression and dehydration. It is often fatal in young, unvaccinated kittens. Treatment is supportive; unfortunately, affected kittens often die even with appropriate treatment. The virus is passed by direct contact with infected animals and may be passed via transmission from contaminated hands or clothing. The vaccine is very effective at preventing this disease.
Feline Upper Respiratory Viruses: These viruses, such as FVR (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis - a type of herpes virus) and FCV (Feline Calici virus) are seen here in Saskatchewan. Both viruses cause sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, coughing and may or may not include not eating, lethargy, dehydration and fever. Treatment is supportive with antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections. Treatment is not required unless they are lethargic and not eating. FVR may stay in an infected cat's body for the rest of his/her life and become reactivated in times of stress. Transmission is airborne and via direct contact - such as contaminated hands or clothing.
Rabies: This virus causes a fatal encephalitis (brain swelling) in all mammals, including humans. Rabies is spread through contact with infected saliva, usually through bite wounds. There is some evidence that airborne transmission from bat feces may be possible. The most common wild carriers of Rabies in Saskatchewan are bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes and coyotes. The vaccination is very effective and will protect not only your pet but also prevent your pet from spreading the disease to your family if s/he is bitten by an infected animal. Animals not vaccinated for rabies can be ordered into quarantine to watch for symptoms or euthanized because testing for rabies can only be performed on the brain after death.
Feline Leukemia: This virus causes cancers, anemias, fever, weight loss and immunosuppression. There is no treatment for this virus. It is strongly recommended to test for the virus in all cats new to a household. Feline Leukemia is passed from mom cat to kitten, through bite wounds from an infected cat, sharing food & water dishes, or litter boxes over prolonged periods of time. The vaccine is not 100% effective but is far superior to no vaccination in high risk cats.
Feline Leukemia/FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) Test
It is recommended to test all kittens (especially stray or farm kittens) for these 2 viruses, which are untreatable and shorten their lifespan. It is a blood test that can be done in clinic with results the same day.
VACCINATION SCHEDULE FOR KITTENS
Viral Rhinotracheitis + Calicivirus + Panleukopenia (combination)
Viral Rhinotracheitis + Calicivirus + Panleukopenia (combination) + Feline Leukemia Virus (recommended for outdoor cat or multi-cat households, optional, separate)
Viral Rhinotracheitis + Calicivirus + Panleukopenia+ Feline Leukemia Virus (recommended for outdoor cat or multi-cat households, optional, separate) + 1 year Rabies (separate)
Viral Rhinotracheitis + Calicivirus + Panleukopenia+ Feline Leukemia Virus (recommended for outdoor cat or multi-cat households, optional, separate) + 3 year Rabies (separate)
At each visit, the veterinarian will give your kitten a general examination to make sure she is healthy. The doctor will check her teeth, ears, eyes and listen to her heart and lungs. This is important to identify any health concerns that may appear as he/she grows and to ensure that your kitten is healthy enough to receive its vaccinations. At this point, it is your opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your new kitten. Above is an example of a typical vaccine series schedule. In some cases this may need to be altered depending on the health and age of your kitten. Once your kitten has had its series of kitten vaccinations, the veterinarian will discuss the need for booster vaccinations in the upcoming years. A preventative health program will be tailored to your kitten's needs.