No one likes getting shots, even your kitten. But a vaccine is simple way to give him protection against dangerous diseases and extend his life. Speak with your kitten's veterinarian to create a vaccination schedule for your furry friend.
Why Are Vaccines Important?
Vaccines protect your kitten from diseases by exposing his immune system to antigens that help your kitten develop antibodies to fight the disease if he is ever is exposed to it. Immunizations reduce the severity of a disease or even prevent it completely. The necessity of vaccinations is determined by your cat's age and lifestyle; inform your vet so your kitten receives the right vaccines. According to the ASPCA, vets recommend that all healthy felines receive core vaccinations.
Why Does My Kitten Need Two Rounds of Shots?
When your kitten is nursing, he gets antibodies from his mother's milk. These antibodies protect your kitten from many illnesses and support his developing immune system. Sometimes these antibodies can cause the first round of shots to be ineffective. For this reason, vets recommend that kittens get their first round of shots at 10 weeks and second round of shots at 14 weeks. After the second round of vaccinations, kittens will need boosters at one year and every three years after for all of their recommended vaccinations.
There are four “core” vaccines that are recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Feline distemper, feline herpes virus and feline calcivirus should all be administered at 10 weeks and again at 14 weeks. Since your kitten needs his rabies vaccine at 12 to 16 weeks, it is typically administered with his second round of shots. Speak with your veterinarian about local laws regarding the rabies vaccine and how often your kitten will need a booster.
Vaccinations are considered safe and an important part of your kitten's healthy development. Kittens can have mild pain at the injection site and in rare cases develop a reaction to the vaccine. If your kitten has a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or sluggishness, these could be signs of a reaction. According to The Cat Health Guide website, some researchers speculate that adjuvants -- additives in the vaccines that help increase effectiveness -- may cause cancer. Ask your vet if the vaccinations have adjuvants and if adjuvant-free alternatives are available. These side effects are rare, and, according to the ASPCA, the disease is often more dangerous than the small risk of side effects from vaccinations.