Vaccination is the best way to protect your pet from serious infectious diseases. Most of the diseases we vaccinate against have no specific cure or, where treatment is available, it can be prolonged, costly and often unsuccessful.

How vaccines work.

Vaccines contain disease-causing viruses or bacteria that have been chemically changed, so they don’t cause disease. When your cat is vaccinated, the immune system produces antibodies that work against the viruses or bacteria that cause the disease. If your pet is exposed to the infectious disease after vaccination, these antibodies will help destroy the virus or bacteria.

When presenting your pet for vaccinations, the standard vaccination regime most vets use (often called an F3/F4) includes protection against the following diseases:

•• Feline Enteritis (Feline Panleukopenia) – a very contagious, viral disease with an unfortunately high death rate, especially in cats under twelve months
of age.
•• Feline Respiratory Disease (Cat flu) – is highly contagious and is caused in 90 per cent of cases by Feline Herpesvirus and/or Feline Calicivirus.
•• Feline Chlamydia – causes a severe persistent conjunctivitis. Kittens are often more severely affected by chlamydia if infected with cat flu. (Protection included in F4 vaccinations, not F3)

If your cat is an outside cat (or goes outside even for a brief time), we strongly recommend vaccination against Feline Aids (FIV) and Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)

•• Feline AIDS (FIV) – a disease caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus and affects the cat’s immune system. FIV is transmitted by biting and fighting with infected cats, and it’s reported that around 1 in 5 Australian cats test positive to the disease.
•• Feline Leukaemia (FeLV) – this virus attacks the immune system and is transmitted from infected cats via mutual grooming, fighting, sneezing and even flea bites.

(For further details regarding the symptoms of these diseases, please see the full article on our blog at

Cairns Veterinary Clinic’s cat vaccination regime.

Kittens: Kittens are temporarily protected against diseases by antibodies received through their mother’s milk (if the mother is vaccinated). These maternal antibodies decline in the first few months of a kitten’s life and, until sufficiently low, these antibodies can neutralise vaccines. This is why a series of vaccines
are necessary.

•• First vaccination – 8 weeks of age. Generally, will include protection against Feline Enteritis, Feline Respiratory Disease and Chlamydia. The first FeLV and FIV vaccines are also given.
•• Second vaccination – The second FIV vaccination is given at 10 weeks of age.
•• Third vaccination – 12 weeks of age. Will provide protection against Feline Enteritis, Feline Respiratory Disease and Chlamydia. The second FeLV and third FIV vaccines are also given.

Adult cats: The protection provided by a vaccine gradually declines after a cat has been vaccinated. Annual re-vaccination is essential to maintaining long term immunity.

For more information on vaccinations or to make an appointment for your pet, please contact us.


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