Many feline diseases can now be prevented through vaccination. A vaccination schedule prepared by your veterinarian can greatly contribute to good health and a longer life for your cat. The following are some of the more common diseases for which vaccines are available:
A contagious viral disease usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. This disease attacks the central nervous system and brain and is almost always fatal. All mammals can be infected with rabies virus including humans. New York State law requires rabies vaccination for all cats, indoor and outdoor.
Feline Distemper (Feline Panleukopenia):
An extremely contagious and deadly viral disease transmitted through fecal material. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and bone marrow destruction.
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis:
A highly contagious respiratory disease transmitted through droplets that are sneezed of coughed into the air and inhaled by another cat. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, eye inflammation, fever, loss of appetite, nasal and ocular discharge. In some cats the disease may become chronic and may lead to loss of vision in affected eyes.
Another highly contagious respiratory disease. Symptoms and transmission are similar to Rhinotracheitis, but may also include oral cavity and tongue ulcers.
This is the most deadly viral disease seen in the feline species. Once infected, most cats will die within two years. The disease is transmitted through bodily fluids and especially saliva. Close contact is all that is needed to pass the disease from one cat to another. Symptoms vary, but may include fever, lethargy, anemia (low red blood cell count), lung or abdominal cancer, weight loss and loss of appetite. Vaccination can totally prevent this disease and is recommended for cats that go outdoors or are exposed to outdoor cats. It is also recommended to test for leukemia prior to introducing a new cat into a home with other cats. Kittens may be born with this disease if the mother was infected during pregnancy.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus:
A contagious viral disease that is transmitted from cat to cat through puncture wounds. The virus may cause weakening of the immune system making the cat susceptible to a wide variety of illnesses including cancer. It is similar to HIV in people, but is not contagious to people. Many cats will be asymptomatic carriers of the disease and never become ill. However, they can still transmit the disease to other cats. It is recommended that all cats be tested for this disease. Vaccination against this disease is controversial because the vaccine is not highly protective and will cause the cat to test positive for the disease.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis:
This viral disease is seen sporadically in young and middle age cats. It is always fatal once contracted. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, weight loss, abdominal bloating, respiratory problems and jaundice. The disease presents itself in two forms, so the symptoms may vary. Transmission may be through infected fecal material, and kittens may be infected prior to birth if the mother is infected. Vaccination for this disease is controversial because the vaccine is not highly effective and the disease is not overly common. Testing for the disease may lead to false positives therefore screening is not usually recommended.