Health Check and Vaccinations

Due to the length of time that lockdown has now been in force we are having to update our guidelines.  We need to risk assess all animals taht are due vaccinations to try and minimise travel and exposure to our staff.

Pocedure for Kitten Vaccinations:

  • Phone us or e-mail us your details and we will either call you back or e-mail you
  • Once assessed we will book you in for two VIDEO consultations - one with a nurse and one with our vet
  • We will then schedule you an appointment at the surgery for the initial vaccination
  • In order to maximise vaccination efficacy AND to reduce travel we would like to vaccinate kittens at 14 and 18 weeks of age.  We do appreciate that in high risk situations we may need to consider an earlier vaccination.
  • All of the above consultations and actual vaccinations are included in our kitten packs

Please review the rest of our information on kittens and COVID. There is information on socialising and microchipping amongst others.

The cat vaccinations are called RCP FELV, they stand for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleukopenia and Feline Leukaemia virus:

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis

  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis is an infectious disease caused by feline herpes virus type-1.
  • It is a major cause of upper respiratory disease in cats the typical symptoms involve the nose, throat and eyes and include sneezing, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis, excessive blinking, squinting and discharges from the eyes and nose that range from clear and watery to thick and purulent (containing yellow/green pus).
  • The virus may also cause keratitis, or inflammation and infection of the cornea, leading to corneal ulcers. In chronic or severe infections, the keratitis can lead to corneal scarring or chronic 'dry eye'.
  • There is no cure for herpes virus infections. Most cats respond well to medical management of the condition and lead normal lives. Minimizing the chance of infection, ensuring excellent nutrition by feeding a veterinary-recommended diet, reducing stressful situations, and following an appropriate vaccination schedule are your cat's best defence against this disease.
  • The virus is spread in saliva and in discharges from the eyes and nose of an infected cat. Therefore, an infection occurs when a susceptible cat comes into direct contact with an infected cat, or comes into contact with inanimate objects (e.g., clothing, food and water dishes, furniture) that have been contaminated with viral particles.

Feline Calicivirus Infection

  • Calicivirus is a highly contagious virus that is one of the major causes of upper respiratory infections ‘cat flu’ in cats. The symptoms are sneezing, nasal discharge, ocular discharge, conjunctivitis, ulceration of the tongue, lethargy, inappetence and fever. Signs may last from a few days to a few weeks and vary in severity. In young kittens the virus may also cause pneumonia.
  • Symptoms also include gingivitis and stomatitis, limping syndrome in which the kitten or cat may be extremely uncomfortable with painful joints during this time.
  • In rare cases of severe strains, it can be associated with severe disease including pneumonia, hepatitis (liver inflammation), pancreatitis, skin swelling and ulceration, and bleeding from the nose and intestine. Fortunately, these outbreaks are very rare, however up to 50% or more of affected cats may die.
  • The virus is transmitted between cats from direct contact – through contact with saliva, ocular or nasal secretions, inhalation of sneeze droplets, sharing food bowls and litter trays and a contaminated environment (including bedding and grooming aids) – the virus can potentially survive up to a month in the environment, although often does not survive more than 7-14 days. Infected cats can be given supportive treatment and good nursing care.

Feline Panleukopenia

  • Commonly known as Feline Infectious Enteritis or Feline Parvovirus.
  • This is a serious virus that depletes the cat’s white blood cells and can cause severe damage to the lining of the intestines. Symptoms typically seen in this disease include a fever, weight loss, vomiting, severe bloody diarrhoea, lack of appetite and unusual lack of energy or seizures.
  • The disease is often fatal for kittens despite treatment.
  • This disease can be spread if your cat has contact with infected faeces. A pregnant cat can pass the disease to her unborn kittens and it will remain in the environment for a long time. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Feline Panleukopenia Virus but if caught in time, vets can try to treat the symptoms and give intensive nursing care to support your cat’s recovery.

Feline Leukaemia Virus (FELV)

  • This is a viral infection which can lead to the development of cancers such as lymphoma, leukaemia and other tumours. FELV weakens the immune system of affected cats meaning they catch other infections very easily.
  • The virus can have a long term impact on the health of some cats, others can recover with no lasting effects. Cats who are vaccinated are more likely to be able to fight off the virus without showing symptoms or spreading the disease.
  • Kittens are a higher risk than adult cats, but both can be affected.
  • Mild symptoms can display as tiredness or a fever.
  • The following symptoms may occur when the cat’s immune system weakens: Unusual tiredness or lack of energy, depression, weight loss, fever, recurrent diarrhoea, frequently getting unwell and ongoing breathing, digestion or skin problems.
  • Cats can catch the virus through other cats’ saliva, faeces, urine and milk. This usually happens due to mutual grooming or fighting. There is no cure, but if identified they need to be treated as soon as possible to avoid infected cats becoming seriously ill. Sadly, most cats with Feline Leukaemia Virus will die or have to be put to sleep due to complications associated with FELV, this is often within three years of being diagnosed with the disease.