vaccines in kittens - rabies shots for kittens - Anwered by Dr. Van Lienden
My kittens have had their first set of shots, but were too young for the rabies shot when I first took them to the vet. How old do kitties need to be for it and are any other shots given at the same time?
I'm not sure how old my kittens are . . . They were left in a drop-box at the humane society. The vet I took them to for the neutering estimated eight weeks, but my regular vet thought they were younger. Are the shots harmful if given too young?
As far as I know, the rabies shot is given during the last series of vaccinations. Kittens and puppies are usually vaccinated at 6-8 wks and then every 4 weeks after that for a total of 3 series of vaccinations. The last one would be given at 14-16 wks and that is the one that would include the rabies shots. Please do correct me if I'm wrong though, it has been a while.
They will need their second set at about 9 weeks of age. Kittens are vaccinated in a series of 3 shots at 2 to 4 week intervals. The FVRCPC vaccine includes protection against rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleudopenia and chlamydia. Leukemia and FIP vaccinations are given with the FVRCPC vaccine. Kittens older than 4 months that go outside are encouraged to receive a rabies vaccine also. I was hesitant about rabies since YY never goes outside but she is a therapy cat and comes to work with me so I thought it was prob best she have it.
I do not however believe in annual vax for cats, especially indoor kitties. Every 3 yrs is prob fine. But I recognize this issue is debated - even amg vets. My own vet - who heads her prov professional body, does not recommend annaual vaccines. (thankfully - I would not want to debate this with her, lol)
Here is one schedule: (tho some vets combine steps 3 and 4)
6 Weeks Distemper, deworming, fecal flotation, and combo test, for FELV (feline leukemia) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency)
9 Weeks Distemper, 2nd deworming
12 Weeks Distemper, FELV #1
16 Weeks Distemper, Rabies, FELV #2, FIP #1 (feline infectious peritonitis), and Fecal Flotation
I and many US veterinarians vaccinate kitties for rabies when they are at least 12 weeks old (or 3 months old), with the standard interval between 3 to 6 months. The combo includes vaccines for chlamydia, feline rhinotracheitis, panleukopenia and calici virus are administered typically at 8 and 12 weeks. Certainly there is a wide margin for schedules, and I am certain that readers on this list will have their favorites.
Early vaccination may cause some problems for very young kitties, and may not help if maternal antibody is still at protective levels in the neonate. Nursing kitties pick up mother's antibodies while nursing, and also received them via the placenta while in utero. It takes time for this maternal antibody to decay at different rates in the individual. That is why we vaccinate on a schedule: not every dose is completely effective, and only by a booster system can we be reasonably assured of vaccine protection.
Any harm from vaccination may be fever/pain at vaccine site/malaise/inappetence/very remote chance of fibrosarcoma/infection. There may be other complications, but they are extremely unlikely if good protocol is followed.
Every medical procedure is at risk, we must always weigh benefit versus harm in a realistic framework.
One other point, modern vaccines are subunit type vaccines or killed types, therefore, they are incapable of causing the infectious diseases they were meant to prevent.
Dr. Van Lienden
Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124
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