Most kittens are routinely vaccinated against Cat Flu and Feline Enteritis. Vaccination against these diseases is usually a minimum requirement for any cat about to enter a cattery.
Cat Flu is not one disease but two: Feline Viral Rhinitis and Feline Calici Virus. Both viruses cause severe cold-like symptoms. Cats that contract Cat Flu are often quite ill, but few die of it. Cat Flu is a significant problem because it is very common and very infectious.
Feline Enteritis is much less common than Cat Flu, however it is a severe and frequently fatal infection that can affect cats of all ages, particularly kittens.
Both diseases can be prevented by an initial course of two injections followed by regular yearly boosters. Kittens can have their first injection from 9 weeks of age. The second injection is given 3 to 4 weeks later. It takes about 7 days for the vaccine to work, therefore kittens must be kept indoors, away from other cats for that time.
An annual booster injection is essential to keep your cat's immunity up to scratch. A recent survey in Britain revealed that nearly 25% of ill cats and 10% of apparently healthy cats were infected with the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV).
FeLV causes a number of disease problems in pet cats:
- Malignant tumours
Feline Leukaemia is a difficult disease to diagnose because many infected cats will appear healthy for several years before they become ill. During this time, these cats are infectious to other cats and the infection may spread rapidly through a neighbourhood or household. FeLV is not transmittible to humans. FeLV infection has no treatment and is eventually fatal.
We can test for FeLV via blood test, which can be performed rapidly and is extremely accurate. The results are usually available within 24 hours.
Although FeLV is incurable, it is preventable by vaccination. Cats of all ages can be vaccinated against FeLV. The vaccine will not harm cats that have already contracted the infection, but it will not cure them or prevent the eventual onset of the disease. Therefore, we strongly recommend that cats are blood-tested before vaccination, especially adult cats of unknown medical history.