Thursday, May 26, 2011

Advice for Cats Concerned about Vaccinations

Please answer my question, I am a tiny kitten, only eight weeks old, so really do not know much, but recently I was taken to the veterinarians office, while there the vet did a bunch of stuff to me but the only thing I am worried about is that they poked me in my back, they said it was “needles”. What the heck was that about?
Signed Poked Kitten

Dear Kitten
There are a couple of things that could have happened to you at the veterinarian's, and neither are bad. Your owner may have had the veterinarian implant a microchip identification under your skin, this is usually done along your back and is harmless. The benefits of having a microchip are that if you get lost, shelter workers, or another veterinarian, can scan the chip and it will give them a code number which they can use to find out who owns you.

Another thing that veterinarians do to kittens (and cats) is they give them needles that are vaccinations against diseases. A needle is a thin metal stick with a hole in it to put in medicine. Usually the vet will try to pinch the skin so it does not cause you much pain, but sometimes you do feel it. In Canada, and many other places, such as the United States, cats are given what is called a 5-way vaccination, as well as a rabies shot. Rabies is not a problem in some areas, such as the United Kingdom.

A 5-way feline vaccination includes vaccinations against Panleukopenia, Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Chlamydia, and Feline Leukemia Virus. You will have to go back to the veterinarian to get these shots boostered in about a month, and they really are not effective until a few days after the booster shot. Even still vaccination is not a 100% guarantee that you will not get sick, but they do help lower the risk.

I am a beautiful Persian cat, and my owner has decided to keep me indoors. We are wondering if I still need to be vaccinated?
Signed Don't Stick me with that Needle

Dear Stick me
Your owner really should consider getting you vaccinated with your first set of shots, booster shots, as well as your rabies vaccination, if needed in your area, even if you are to be an indoor only cat. These vaccinations are especially important while you are young and are required if you are going to be attending any cat shows, or going to a boarding kennel. Other cat owners who visit you could spread disease too you, and if your owner works where there are other cats they could also bring diseases home on their clothing.

If rabies is a risk in your area, even if you are indoors only, you should get your rabies shot too, because if you do happen to bite somebody and are not vaccinated, you will be placed on a 10 days rabies hold, which is no fun.

So, I do suggest you at least get your owner takes you for your first set of feline vaccinations, and boosters, as well as your rabies vaccine. Your owner can decide if they want to continue with vaccination boosters in the following years, even if you are to remain as an indoor only house cat.  Most veterinarians are gentle and it should not hurt at all, plus the vet can check you over to make sure you are healthy and doing well in general.

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