The immunizations your kitten receives during his/her first few months of life are the most important vaccines your cat will ever receive. Typically, kittens will initially receive three sets of boosters at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. These immunizations prime their immune system to create an effective response to the infectious diseases they may encounter throughout their lives and are the building blocks of the future. Even if your new kitten has arrived with the first set of immunizations, we always recommend a “post-purchase” exam be performed (including a stool parasite screen) once you bring them home, to ensure they are healthy and get them started off on the right foot for a long a healthy life as your faithful companion.
When do kittens get their first shots?
Here at College Manor we recommend all new kittens have three sets of immunizations. Most kittens we see at the clinic for their first visit are 12 weeks of age. They will typically already have been examined by a veterinarian and had at least one set of vaccines at 6-8 weeks of age protecting them from Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP). At their 12-week visit, we will give them another complete physical exam, re-immunize them with that same FVRCP combination but also add in the Feline Leukemia vaccine if you are planning for them to go outside. If your kitten will be indoors only there is no need for the Leukemia vaccine to be administered. Approximately three to four weeks later at 15-16 weeks of age, we will ask you to bring your kitten back for their final kitten “booster” which is what we like to call their “big boy or big girl” visit. This is their last visit to the doctor for their third and final physical exam, FVRCP (+/- another Leukemia booster for those going outside) and we will also give them their rabies vaccine at this time. We now consider this kitten fully immunized until this same time next year when we will booster their rabies (+/- Leukemia vaccine) and discuss any of the other immunizations that may be appropriate at that time given their age and lifestyle.
How often do my kittens need a vaccine?
We recommend your cat come in annually for their preventive care exam and at that time we will assess what immunizations are due depending on what has been administered the previous year(s) and their lifestyle.
Does my kitten need only core vaccines?
Each cat/kitten that comes in to see us at College Manor Veterinary Hospital is treated on an individual basis and the doctor will decide what immunizations are required based upon what was given at the last annual preventive care exam or kitten booster appointment and whether your cat/kitten is indoors only or going outside as well.
Are there any risk associated with vaccines?
While it is rare for us to see many vaccine reactions these days at all, it is something our clients should be aware of. Occasionally a pet may experience a bit of tenderness at the injection site or a bit of lethargy or vomiting after a vaccine. These side effects are typically minimal and run their course quickly. It is even less common to see a pet have an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine we administered. If this were to happen it is pretty immediate and can be quickly dealt with by giving a steroid and antihistamine injection while the pet is still in the clinic. If any pet experiences any type of reaction we document, it in their patient file and take preventive measures in the following years to pre-treat those pets with steroids or antihistamines prior to giving the vaccines and on some occasion have the client return for multiple visits to separate the number of vaccines given in 1 visit. We always ask our clients to call us if they notice anything out of the ordinary after their visit and certainly come back in for a complimentary recheck with the veterinarian if they have any concerns upon returning home. The bigger risk, in this case, is for those pets not immunized at all.