Taking your purring pal to the veterinarian is never a fun experience. She panics the whole time, growling and hissing at everyone, and then to top it off, she isn’t herself when she gets home. Her regular boosters, including distemper, may make her temporarily woozy.
What is Distemper?
Feline distemper, also known as feline panleukopenia, is a very contagious viral infection among kitties. This disease is kind of like an extreme flu, causing vomiting, high fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea and one extremely tired kitty. Adult cats may be able to survive, but sadly distemper often takes a fatal toll on young kittens.
Vaccine Side Effects
Side effects of the distemper booster are similar to most other vaccinations. Princess might be a little sore at the injection site, so be careful handling her. She may not feel like eating dinner the day of her vet appointment, but leave it out for her in case her appetite comes back. A mild fever and lack of activity are common for a day or two, although if she still hasn’t returned to her normal self after several days, it’s time to call your veterinarian.
Once in a great while, cats have allergic reactions to their vaccines. If her body doesn’t tolerate it, you’ll know within several minutes or up to an hour after the shot. She’ll start scratching, pawing at her face, foaming at the mouth, have difficulty breathing and may faint. Sarcomas are also possible, although equally as rare. These tumors form at the injection site and develop several weeks or months after she gets the vaccination. It’s normal for the jabbed area to feel a little swollen for a few days, however, if it continues to get hard and doesn’t go away, let your veterinarian know as soon as possible.
Feline distemper is often offered in an upper respiratory combination vaccine, so Princess only has to get stuck one time. As a kitten, she should get the first inoculation at 8 to 9 weeks of age, according to the Arizona Humane Society. She’ll get another dose around 11 to 12 weeks old and then a final distemper or combo shot at 14 to 15 weeks of age. After that she’ll need an annual distemper or combo booster, depending on which one your vet offers.
If you’re unsure of your kitty’s past and have no vaccination records, your veterinarian might give her two doses of the distemper or combination vaccine, each one at three weeks apart. From there she’ll be good to go for this particular vaccination until it comes time for her annual booster.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.