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Has Your Cat had his Shots?

It's almost spring, and veterinarians all over know what that means: it's kitten season. On top of all the new feline family members gained during the holidays, we begin to see many more kittens at this time of year.
This means that more households contain a kitten or very young cat. If you or your family is one of them...has your kitten had his shots?
A kitten's immature immune system is susceptible to several deadly (and common) diseases. Thankfully, these diseases can be prevented with proper vaccinations. That's a good thing because not only are they dangerous, they are very contagious and can be expensive to treat.
So...what can you do for your new cat?
1. Make sure your kitten has his shots. Kittens should begin vaccines at approximately 6 to 8 weeks of age and be repeated every 3 to 4 weeks until approximately 12 to 16 weeks of age. This series of shots should include vaccinations against feline panleukopenia ("distemper") and the upper respiratory viruses (herpesvirus, calicivirus).
If the risk of feline leukemia virus exposure is significant (including out-of-doors cats and those who have tested FeLV positive), the leukemia virus vaccine sequence should be administered.
The rabies vaccines should be given as required by local laws.
Other vaccines are given on a case-by-case basis.
2. The second thing you can do is to have a backup plan. Kittens are known for being mischievous and getting into everything but it stops being cute when they get hurt doing it. Make sure that if anything does go wrong you can do the best for your cat. Having a kitten or cat is a large responsibility and that includes planning for medical emergencies. While we try to protect our pets from danger, sometimes things happen anyway.
Remember, all cats should receive routine vaccinations. See your veterinarian for recommendations based on your cat's health, geographic location and age.

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