Common Feline Diseases & Vaccinations

May 12, 2022

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Knowledge is key to understanding how best to look after our pets.  MSD Animal Health have detailed the common diseases your cat will be vaccinated against.  Read on to find out more detail on specific diseases that we look out for at The Village Vet.

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Common Feline Diseases

Feline Herpesvirus (part of the Cat Flu complex) 

Just as with the human common cold, the virus that causes this upper respiratory tract infection is easily transmitted from one cat to another, so vaccination is imperative if your pet will come into contact with other cats. Symptoms may take the form of moderate fever, loss of appetite, sneezing, eye and nasal discharges and coughing. Kittens are particularly affected, but this disease can be dangerous in any unprotected cat, as effective treatment is limited. Even if a cat recovers, it can remain a carrier for life.

Feline Calicivirus (part of the Cat Flu complex) 

This virus is another major cause of upper respiratory tract infection in cats. Widespread and highly contagious, its symptoms of fever, oral ulcers and pneumonia can range from mild to severe, depending on the strain of virus present. Once again, treatment of this disease can be difficult. Even if recovery does take place, a recovered cat can continue to infect other animals, as well as experience chronic sneezing and runny eyes. Vaccination is therefore tremendously important.

Feline Panleukopenia 

Sometimes known as feline infectious enteritis, this disease is caused by a virus so resistant, it can survive up to one year outside a cat’s body! Therefore, as many cats will be exposed to it during their lifetime and infection rates in unprotected cats can run as high as 90% to 100%, vaccination against this potentially fatal disease is absolutely essential. Symptoms can include listlessness, diarrhoea, vomiting, severe dehydration and fever.  Happily, the vaccine itself is very effective in preventing the disease; as treatment is very difficult and, even if recovery takes place, a once-infected cat can for a period of time spread the disease to other unvaccinated animals.

Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) 

Infection with the Feline Leukaemia Virus can result in a multitude of serious health problems for your cat – everything from cancerous conditions such as lymphoma to a wide range of secondary infections caused by the destruction of the immune system. After initial exposure to the virus, a cat may show no symptoms for months, if not years, yet all the while infecting others. Testing is available to determine the FeLV status of your cat. The incidence of this disease in Australia is low and we would recommend you seek your vet’s advice as to whether this vaccine is necessary for your individual cat.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) 

This is mainly transmitted by deep bite wounds and scratches from infected cats, and can cause debilitation of the immune system leading to disease in various organs and chronic infections. A decision to vaccinate should be made after discussion with a veterinarian and consideration of the risk of the disease versus the effectiveness of the vaccine. It is a common disease in our cat population in Australia.

How Effective is Vaccination?

Like any drug treatment or surgical procedure, vaccinations cannot be 100% guaranteed. However, used in conjunction with proper nutrition and a clean environment, vaccination is clearly your pet’s best defence against disease. Plus, when you consider what treating a serious illness can cost you and your beloved cat in terms of both money and distress, prevention through vaccination is extremely cost-effective.

What you can do at home

  • Check your cat’s mouth, eyes and ears regularly. Watch for loose teeth, redness, swelling or discharges.
  • Keep your pet’s sleeping area clean and warm.
  • Make fresh water available at all times.
  • Maintain a regime of proper nutrition and loving attention.

A Note to Remember

Remember that you know your pet best so if you notice anything out of the ordinary, it is always best to give us a call so we can check your pet and advise you on the best health care path for them. Together, we can ensure we keep them happy and healthy.

Prevention is always better than cure, a proactive preventative care program for your pet will enhance their lives and reduce the risk of them having to undergo more extensive and costly treatments, ask us for more advice on the best course of action for your pet.


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