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April 2024

The Importance of Kitten Vaccinations

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
posted by Jim Murphy

You’ve just adopted a very young kitten who has not yet had any vaccines. Now’s the perfect time to get off to a good start. Don’t worry about all of the cat toys and accessories now, vaccinations are very important at an early age. All new kittens need a series of vaccines that are spaced between 3 and 4 weeks apart. You should start the vaccination series when your kitten is between 6 and 8 weeks old. Essential vaccines include rabies (this is required by law in New Jersey) and the FVRCP combination vaccine that protect against the common feline viral infections. Some health organizations also recommend the feline leukemia vaccine for all kittens. I would strongly recommend this as well.  This is essential if your cat goes outdoors. There are also many “non-essential” vaccines that can be recommended by your veterinarian.

After the series of vaccinations are completed, a first year booster for both rabies and FVRCP is required. Rabies is given yearly after this and FVRCP is often given every three years for indoor cats. Another important item that should be considered for all kittens is parasite screening, routine deworming (most kittens have worms either from their mother or the environment) and retrovirus screening. This includes leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.

As soon as you get your kitten, get him in for a checkup. If he is sick, the disease will take over quickly and could be fatal. Many years ago when I was very young, I adopted a kitten. I didn’t take him for a checkup and he developed feline distemper and within two days, he died.  Had I known at the time how important these checkups are, I may have been able to save him.

Remember, your pets count!

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