Well, I had promised that we would deal with the specific diseases today, but there was a change of mind. Sorry. Really, it makes more sense to continue the discussion on vaccinations (within the general context of immunity) by describing the vaccines that are available on the market to counteract individual diseases.
Today, we’ll look at the vaccine against some of the more common cat diseases.
Obviously, it is much cheaper for the client to have his/her animal vaccinated against several diseases at the same time, instead of having to inoculate the animal against one disease on one day and then against another disease on another day, then later against a third disease and so on. Also, if we administered the necessary series of vaccines against one disease only, then the animal would be unprotected against the other diseases until it receives that specific vaccination. It makes much more sense, therefore, to offer the animal a greater protection by using ‘combination’ vaccines.
In the case of cats, the vaccine on the market contains modified live viruses against three prevalent diseases.
(i) Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR)
(ii) Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
(iii) Feline Panleukopenia (FPL)
(NB Some vaccines on the market have a fourth defence component, namely against the Chlamydia Psittaci germ).
There are some general considerations that must be taken into account when vaccinating cats against these three diseases.
Firstly, the cat (kitten) should have attained the age of at least nine (9) weeks.
Secondly, the cat should be healthy. This means that the physiological functions must be unimpaired. The animal should have been dewormed at least once (twice, at three weeks intervals, would be better) prior to the administration of the vaccine.
Thirdly, the vaccination should be given by a veterinarian, or by knowledgeable personnel under the supervision of a vet.
Fourthly, the vaccine itself should be from a reliable (tested and proven) pharmaceutical company which has a good track record of producing biologicals (vaccines). This latter prerequisite would ensure that the vaccine was tested in field trials involving cats ranging in age from five weeks to 17 years. This testing is necessary so as to prevent the possibility of post-vaccination reactions which could be injurious to the cat (even killing it).
Fifthly, as much as possible, one should be sure that the vaccine has been handled and stored correctly from the day of manufacture to the day of usage.
Now, this is a full order. You can’t know whether the vaccine has been kept under refrigeration all the way during its trip from Millsboro, Delaware, say, to your vet’s clinic. But one thing is clear. If the person arrives with the vaccine in his/her pocket and not in an insulated container filled with ice or ice-packs, then one should have a long think before allowing the vaccine to be administered. Advisably, all vaccines of this type should be stored at temperatures between 2°c and 7°c.
Lastly, the entire content of the vials must be used immediately after preparation. Just do not accept half the dose for one animal, even when someone perchance might wish to tell you that the kitten is too small to take the full dose. These modified live virus vaccines have been fully tested, and the dose has been calibrated to protect felines from the ages of nine weeks onwards – irrespective of size.
In fact, having read and absorbed the above, if anyone is not handling the vaccine correctly or is not giving the right dosage, you have the right to stop the proceedings. Your animal’s life might depend on your educated stand.
Have a pleasant week!
Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals. Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.