Protecting Our Cats And Kittens

Cats are wonderful companion animals. They need a high quality balanced diet and plenty of fresh water. Many cats do not drink enough water which can lead to urinary tract problems. Cats can be encouraged to drink more water by providing a running source of water like a fountain. Indoor cats live much longer, healthier lives than those who are allowed to roam outdoors.

In addition to food, shelter and water, Pet Network recommends that all cats are kept up to date with their vaccines, regularly treated with a quality flea control product , spayed or neutered and have a Microchip Identification.

Vaccination & Disease Prevention Information

How Vaccines Work

Vaccinations prevent disease by stimulating your pet's immune system to produce antibodies that protect them from disease causing viruses and bacteria. Each time a vaccination is repeated it reminds the immune system to produce protective antibodies. After the initial series most vaccinations are repeated annually to continue to remind the immune system to protect your pet.

You must plan ahead to protect your pet . It takes time for your pet's immune system to build the number of antibodies that are needed to protect them. Having your pet vaccinated the same day as they are boarded or having surgery leaves them without protection while they are in a situation where they could be exposed to disease. Most vaccines take 10 days to provide protection.

Side Effects Of Vaccines

A small number of pets may have an allergic reaction or an adverse side effect from a vaccine. Symptoms may include lethargy (tired, sedate behavior), soreness or a lump at the site of injection, hives, swelling, vomiting, difficulty breathing or even death. If your pet has any of these symptoms please report the reaction to our office. Our phone number is (760) 744-5300.

If your pet is having repeated episodes of vomiting, its' face is swollen or it is having difficulty breathing, or if you feel that your pet needs medical attention, please get medical attention for your pet. For pets that were vaccinated at our clinic, we offer treatment for allergic reactions, free of charge, during regularly scheduled clinic hours. Treatment may also be obtained through your local animal hospital or 24-hour emergency animal clinic, however any fees or charges will be the responsibility of the pet owner.

What Vaccinations Do Cats Need

Cats should have the following vaccinations:

  • Feline Leukemia
  • FIP (Feline Infections Peritonitis)
  • Rabies
  • We also recommend that new cats or kittens be tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). There is no vaccine available for FIV. FIV is normally transmitted by bites, so outdoor cats that fight should be tested annually for this disease.

How Often Should My Cat Be Vaccinated

  • Kittens need to receive a series of vaccinations. Our staff will assist you in determining the appropriate vaccination schedule for your kitten.
  • Adult cats normally receive the FVRCP&C, Leukemia, FIP vaccinations once a year
  • The Rabies vaccination is repeated one year after the initial vaccine and then every 3 years
  • Adult pets that have not had all of the vaccinations on an annual basis may need two doses of vaccine to rebuild protection.

    Special Notes for Cat Owners

In the vast majority of situations, vaccines are much more beneficial than harmful. They do an excellent job of protecting cats from serious infection and disease. But there is the risk of an allergic reaction and recent evidence suggests that there is an association between vaccinations and a certain type of cancer that forms a tumor at vaccination injection sites on cats. The tumor is called a Vaccine Associated Feline Sarcoma. Injection site associated sarcomas occur very infrequently and studies have not established a clear relationship between the sarcoma and any specific brand or type of vaccination.

Indoor Only Cats

All cats should minimally be vaccinated with the FVRCP&C. The choice not to vaccinate for other cat diseases should be made only if you are committed to never allowing your cat to be exposed to any other cats. This includes not boarding your cat at a boarding facility or veterinary hospital, not allowing your cat to ever escape or to socialize with outdoor cats that may come up to a screen door or window, and not bringing another cat into your home without first determining that the new cat is completely disease free.

What Cat Diseases Can Be Prevented By Vaccination?

The FVRCP&C (4 in 1) vaccine protects our cats from the following four diseases:

  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis - A severe and widespread respiratory infection of cats, which is often fatal in kittens. Sneezing, decreased appetite and fever followed by a thick discharge from the eyes and nose are often observed.
  • Feline Calicivirus - A respiratory infection of cats that is usually not fatal, but often leaves the cat more susceptible to serious infections. The signs are similar to Rhinotracheitis and ulcers may be seen on the tongue and in the mouth.
  • Feline Panleukopenia (Distemper) - A widespread and highly contagious disease of cats that results in loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Some adult cats may recover, but it is often fatal in both kittens and cats.
  • Feline Chlamydia (pneumonitis) - An upper-respiratory infection caused by bacteria. It is extremely contagious and may recur when the cat is ill or stressed. It causes mild to severe conjunctivitis, excessive tearing, sneezing, heavy salivation and coughing.

There are also vaccinations that protect our cats from the following diseases:

  • Feline Leukemia (FeLV) - Infection with this virus is a major cause of serious disease and death in cats. It decreases the ability of the immune system to respond to infection. A cat may be infected and appear healthy while spreading the disease to healthy cats. Effective FeLV vaccinations are available to protect uninfected cats. If a cat is infected with FeLV the vaccine will not enhance or cure the disease. A blood test is available to determine the FeLV status of your cat.
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) - FIP is second only to Feline Leukemia Virus infection as a killer of cats and kittens. The virus is transmitted through saliva, urine and feces and can persist in the environment for several weeks. Symptoms of FIP can include a swollen abdomen, fever, weight loss, loss of coordination, paralysis and eye lesions. There is no treatment for FIP, and virtually all cats showing signs of the disease will die.
  • Rabies - A fatal infection of the central nervous system that can affect all mammals, including man. The virus is transmitted from animal to animal and animal to man primarily through the bite of an infected animal. Routine vaccination is the key to controlling this dreaded disease.

FIV, What Is It & How Can I Protect My Cat From It?

FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. FIV attacks a cat's immune system. It belongs to the same subfamily of viruses as the virus that causes human AIDS. It is not communicable to humans. This virus can lie dormant in cats for years before signs of illness appear. FIV is spread primarily through biting. There is no vaccine for FIV, but blood tests can determine if your cat is infected. Protect your pet from FIV by keeping your cat indoors, neutering male cats to reduce the urge to roam and fight, and having new cats tested for FIV before allowing your cat to be exposed to the new cat. Outdoor cats that fight should be tested annually for this disease. Currently the only available vaccine for FIV has not been proven to be effective and causes cats to test positive for FIV if they have been vaccinated. Pet Network does not carry the vaccine for FIV.

Additional Information For Kitten Owners

One Set of shots does not protect your young pet!

Your kitten will need to get a series of vaccinations to build protection from deadly diseases and to replace the protection that it got from its mother. Vaccines prevent disease, they do not cure disease. Vaccinations should not be given when your pet is ill.

To keep your kitten safe, please keep your pet away from unknown or ill animals and areas where unknown or ill animals may have been within the last 6 months. This isolation should continue until 10 days after the final vaccinations in the kitten series have been given. (Vaccines may take up to 10 days after administration to provide protection.)

Your kitten should begin its vaccination series between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Your kitten should be vaccinated and de-wormed every 4 weeks until it is at least 16 weeks old. If your kitten is over 16 weeks old when it begins its vaccination series, your pet will need at least 2 sets of vaccinations, given 2-4 weeks apart.

After the initial kitten series has been given, your pet will need to get vaccinations once a year to continue to be protected.

Pet Network recommends that kittens are spayed or neutered 10-14 days after they have completed their vaccination series. This allows the vaccinations to be effective before your pet is placed in a stressful situation where it may be exposed to animals that are ill.

Click Here To View Our Recommended Kitten & Cat Initial Vaccination Series Schedule

Internal Parasites (Worms) & Your Cat

The two most common worms seen in cats are Tapeworm and Roundworm.


  • Almost all kittens have roundworm. Roundworm sheds in cycles and may or may not be detected in a fecal exam. Most adult cats do not get roundworm. Roundworm is often not seen but may be present in your pets stool or vomit and resembles spaghetti. Pet Network recommends that all kittens under 6 months of age be treated for roundworm. It is treated with Strongid-T, a yellow, liquid oral medication.


  • Tapeworm is carried by fleas. A pet may get tapeworm by ingesting a flea or eating a flea infested animal. Tapeworm sheds in cycles and may appear to go away without treatment, only to return a week or more later. When tapeworm sheds, small rice-like segments are visible in your pets stool or around their anus. You may also notice dehydrated segments that look like sesame seeds in or around your pets bedding. Tapeworm is treated with a medication called Droncit. It comes in an injectable form and a pill form. The treatment will kill any tapeworm in your pet, but does not prevent your pet from getting Tapeworm again. The most effective way to prevent tapeworm is by regularly applying flea control, such as Advantage or Frontline to your pet. This will not prevent animals that hunt and eat their pray from getting tapeworm, but will prevent the most common transmission of tapeworm from a flea to your pet.

Pet Network does not recommend the use of over-the-counter de-wormers for your pet. In general they are not effective against tapeworm and if not dosed properly may be dangerous or even fatal to your pet.

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