Cat Vaccination

Cat Vaccination

In 1879, Louis Pasteur coined the word vaccination (from the Latin word for), when he realized that his research was based on the same principle. and Jenner, an English physician, had observed almost 100 years earlier. Dr.limner found that cowpox could be used to protect humans against smallpox. Pasteur went on to develop a rabies vaccine by drying the spinal cords (thus making the virus noninfectious) of rabbits infected with the rabies virus.

Years later it was discovered that the invading agents, viruses, and bacteria(also called antigens), cause the body’s lymphocytes to produce antibodies that fight these foreign invaders. It was also discovered that antigens could be chemically modified to lose their disease-producing quality while still triggering the production of antibodies to fight the disease. The chemically modified antigens together are called an attenuated vaccine, and this is what your pet receives in the injections from the veterinarian.

The body’s amnestic response (memory) is the basis for the series of vaccinations given to kittens and for the yearly boosters. Each time a vaccination is given, the body remembers its prior experience with these antigens and therefore produces a successively higher number of antibodies (thus affording more protection). Boosters, usually given at yearly intervals, are essential to keep the memory (and the antibodies) at peak level.

Your pet’s immune system must be in good working order to respond to the vaccine. Any stress, such as the presence of external or internal parasites or mal-nutrition, can decrease your cat’s manufacture of antibodies. Treating the parasites and correcting malnutrition is essential for successful vaccinations.

Kittens receive actual antibodies (passive immunity) to panleukopenia (destruction of the white blood cells) while still in the uterus and from the “first milk. These antibodies help protect your kitten for six to twelve weeks after birth. Although the antibodies can sometimes interfere with the vaccine, the kitten series of vaccinations should still be initiated at an early age. The last shot should be given at twelve to sixteen weeks.

On rare occasions, a kitten can get the disease while still receiving the series. It is usually a result of the virus infecting the kitten before the vaccine becomes effective. In some instances (also very rare) the kitten is genetically incapable of producing the necessary antibodies.

The vaccinations should be given only by a licensed veterinarian. He or she will use vaccines approved by the Animal Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (in Canada and England, by their equivalent departments). All the vaccines are tested for safety and potency. If your veterinarian gives the vaccination, you can be assured that the vaccine was manufactured by a reputable company, that it was refrigerated properly during and after delivery, and that it will be administered to your pet with proper care. It is a good idea to sit in the reception area of the hospital for five to ten minutes after the second and third shots, because occasionally a kitten may suffer a severe allergic reaction(collapse and shock). If this happens, an emergency intravenous injection of epinephrine (and possibly oxygen) is necessary.

See more: Cat Decreased Appetite

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