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Feline Leukaemia Vaccination and Your Cat

In today’s society, I feel that inoculations have received a bad reputation, which is unfortunate. Vaccines are one of the greatest achievements in preventive medicine and thanks to their development, thousands of diseases, disorders and illnesses have been diminished or completely eradicated. Vaccines are substances administered to an individual that trains their immune system to recognize and appropriately respond to disease. This exposure strengthens the immune system, so it is better able to deal with the challenges that it may face through its lifetime. Let’s compare it to training for a marathon, if you go out and run the day of the race with no previous experience or exposure to running, your body will not know how to respond and you will hurt yourself. On the contrary, if you regularly expose your body to running, the race will be a whole lot easier to handle.

Vaccination is exercise for the immune system!

One of the important diseases that your cat should be vaccinated against regularly is the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FELV). FELV is a common infectious disease in cats. This virus is shed in the saliva, urine, feces and milk of infected cats, so the disease can be transferred from one cat to another. This happens via bite wounds, mutual grooming and shared litter boxes and bowls and from a mother to her kittens, while they are nursing.

FELV affects a cat in various ways. It can lead to cancers, blood disorders and immune deficiency. Primarily, the cat is unable to fend off other infections and so is much more susceptible to illness than other FELV negative cats. Things an owner might notice: poor hair coat, weight loss, persistent diarrhea, gingivitis (inflamed gums) and just all around “poor doing.”

Fortunately, there has been a significant decrease in disease numbers in the last 25 years, thanks to effective vaccinations and testing! Vaccinate your cat early and regularly! The first vaccination for your kitten is recommended at eight weeks of age and again, at 12 weeks and 16 weeks.

Written by Amanda, RVT


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