Veterinarian giving an injection to a cat


Our feline vaccine program is divided into “core” and “non-core” vaccines. They are administered in accordance with guidelines set by the American Animal Hospital Association. Core vaccines are highly recommended for all cats, either by law or because of the life-threatening nature of the diseases. Non-core vaccines are administered selectively, based on potential risk of exposure to your pet. To determine if your cat would benefit from having a non-core vaccine, a discussion will be had with your veterinarian.

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Does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated too?

We generally recommend vaccinating indoor and outdoor cats against FVRCP (highly contagious upper respiratory diseases) and rabies (required by law due to its potential to be transmissible to humans). Although it is less likely for an indoor cat to contract some of these diseases, it is still very possible. Many of these viruses are very hardy and can even be transferred from inanimate objects such as clothing that has had contact with other infected cats and brought into your house. Since leukemia is readily transmitted from cat to cat, we recommend this vaccine to any cat that goes outdoors.

What is FVRCP and what are the core vaccines for cats?

Core vaccines in cats are vaccines that we typically give to every cat. These core vaccines would consist of FVRCP and rabies. FVRCP stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus are upper respiratory diseases and Panleukopenia is also known as feline distemper and infectious feline enteritis, which is similar to parvovirus in dogs. Typically, we vaccinated for FVRCP every three years and rabies vaccine is given yearly.

Non-core vaccines include leukemia. Leukemia can be transmitted through saliva or nasal secretions. We recommend the leukemia vaccine to all outdoor cats since it is so readily transmitted from cat to cat. The leukemia vaccine, like rabies, is given annually.

How often does my adult cat need vaccines?

After your cat has received all of their kitten booster shots including FVRCP and rabies, they are required to have them all boostered one year later and then from there, FVRCP is given every three years. Rabies is given annually.

Are there any risks associated with vaccines?

Occasionally, some animals will experience mild reactions to vaccines. The most common side effect of being vaccinated is lethargy, which typically only lasts for a day. Other reactions may include vomiting, diarrhea or sometimes even facial swelling. If your cat is experiencing what you may think is a vaccine reaction, please call the clinic for advice on what you should do.

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