The vaccination schedule for cats is traditionally conducted by the veterinarian who first interacts with the cat. It’s important to know the exact age of the kitten so that the proper interval between individual shots can be determined, for the best possible immune response.
Each state in Europe has its own requirements when it comes to vaccinating cats and should of course be strictly adhered to.
Considering the different economical statuses of all European countries, it’s impossible to define a single widespread vaccination schedule for cats. Vaccination protocols in developing countries are based on singular or two-dose core vaccinations without repeating, while developed countries tend to stick to more frequent immunization.
Just like dogs, cats are vaccinated with both core and non-core vaccines, different in priority. Core vaccines protect the cats against severe life-threatening diseases or if the potential disease can be transmitted to people. On the other hand, non-core immunization protects the animals against not-so-common diseases.
Core vaccines for cats include those that protect the animal against FCV (Feline Calicivirus), FHV-1 (Feline Herpesvirus – 1), and FPV (Feline Panleukopenia Virus). Cats in Europe must be routinely vaccinated against Rabies in order to protect their health and the people around them. In many countries, this vaccination is a legal requirement and it’s mandatory for international travel of the pet.
Most kittens in the first few weeks of their lives are protected with MDA (Maternal Derived Antibody). Without proper serological testing, the length of the protection cannot be exactly determined, as some of the kittens have higher titers that last longer, and visa-versa. As a result, a series of primal core vaccines are recommended until the kitten turns a certain age.
Except for Rabies, FCV, FHV-1, and FPV immunization is achieved with the first shot being given at six to eight weeks of age. Every other shot of the core primal series is given to the kitten every two to four weeks until the cat turns 16 weeks of age.
Booster core vaccines are given at 12 months of age, but recent studies suggest that six months earlier is a better option for providing adult immunity. Re-vaccinations follow later on in life with a three-year interval.
Kittens get the first shot against Rabies at 12 weeks of age and the re-vaccination follows annually, in most countries.
FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) vaccines are primarily administered as single shots at eight weeks of age. Between three to four weeks later the kitten should receive the second shot and a booster one year after. After that, every two to three years adult cats can be re-vaccinated.
The last of the vaccines administered for protection against viruses is the FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) vaccine. The kitten should get the first shot at 16 weeks of age, followed by another shot three to four weeks later. Boosters are recommended annually after the last initial-series shot.
Two bacterial infections in cats can be prevented with active artificial immunization. For protection against Chlamydia felis, two initial parenteral doses are required at nine weeks of age and again two to four weeks later.
Administering nasally a single dose of avirulent live Bordetella bronchiseptica at 4 weeks of age with annual re-vaccination provides protection against this bacterium.
Besides the regular vaccination protocols, treatment protocols against common internal parasites include taking delehmentization drugs every three months.
It is recommended that the initial treatment should start 10 days prior to the initial core vaccination.
If you are interested in learning more about vaccine schedules around the world, check the Vaccination schedule for Cats in USA article!
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