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Why do Kittens

and adult Cats need to

be Vaccinated?

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Read this before Vaccinating your feline friends
By: Alfred

Why do kittens need to be vaccinated more than once against
a disease? Kittens receive antibodies from the colostrum that they
drink during the first hours after birth. The mother cat's
antibodies help protect against contagious diseases until
the kitten's immune system is working better.

Unfortunately, those maternal antibodies also can weaken the
ability of the vaccine to get the kitten's body to develop
its own immunities.

To avoid the consequences of this problem, veterinarians
often give a series of vaccinations, usually beginning when
the kitten is around six to eight weeks old.

They then repeat the vaccination every three or four weeks
to keep the kitten's immunities up until the maternal
antibodies lessen, usually at around twelve weeks of age.

In some cases, such as rabies vaccines, the vaccine is not
given at all until the maternal antibody is gone.

Does my adult cat need to be vaccinated every year?

The answer depends upon the vaccine. Particular feline
rabies vaccines can provide protection for up to three
years, so vaccination with them every three years once the
initial series is completed (if local law allows) is

Recent research suggests that Panleucopenia,
Rhinotracheitis, and Calcivirus vaccines provide protection
for three years or more also, so now many veterinarians are
recommending that this vaccine be "boosted" at three year
intervals as well, rather than every year.

Unfortunately, far less is known about the duration of
protection provided by other vaccines. Until that
information is known, annual vaccination with those products
is a reasonable course of action.

Are vaccines dangerous?

Not usually. Unfortunately, just as with most other medical
procedures, a risk-free vaccine does not exist, and
reactions and side-effects are possible. Of course, vaccines
have saved unlimited numbers of lives, and they continue to
be indispensable weapons against feline diseases. In most
cases, the risks associated with vaccination are much
smaller than the risks of disease if vaccines were not

But to minimize the risk, before your cat is vaccinated,
please inform your veterinarian of any problems your cat is
having or any medication your cat is being given, and have
the vet do a complete checkup on the cat to make sure it is

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