SIMPLE: Immunizations for Cats - Michigan Humane Society Veterinarians

SIMPLE: Immunizations for Cats

Routine vaccinations are important in keeping cats safe from many common feline diseases. The MHS veterinary centers vaccinate thousands of animals each year, to protect them from deadly and transmittable diseases.

Core vaccines for cats:

  • Rabies: Rabies is highly recommended for all cats and legally required in most cities. Rabies is a fatal disease that is transmitted through the saliva and affects the nervous system. Both pets and humans can be infected by rabies through bite wounds.
  • Distemper (HCP or FVRCP) combinations: This is a vaccine that includes feline viral rhinotracheitis, calici virus and panleukopenia. Rhinotracheitis is a herpes virus that typically causes respiratory signs such as sneezing and runny eyes and can be severe. Panleukopenia is transmitted through saliva, feces or urine and can cause a large range of signs from anorexia and vomiting to fever, weight loss and death. Calici virus can cause severe respiratory disease in cats. For kittens under 4 months old, the vaccine is given every 3-4 weeks in a series. For cats over 4 months, the interval and number of vaccine boosters given will depend on immunity. Please discuss with our veterinarians the schedule of vaccination that best fits your cat.
  • Feline leukemia (kittens): This is a virus that causes immunosuppression in cats and is often fatal. The disease is spread through saliva, urine and cat-to-cat interaction such as biting and grooming. This vaccine is considered a core vaccine in kittens and is recommended by your veterinarian based on exposure potential in adult cats. We require testing your pet for leukemia prior to administering the vaccine.

Non-core vaccines for cats:

  • Feline leukemia (adults): As described above, feline leukemia may or may not be required for adult cats, depending on exposure. Please ask your veterinarian if this vaccine is appropriate or necessary for your adult cat. This vaccine will need to be given every two years and boostered if your pet isn’t current.
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