Vaccinations for Maine Coon: what and when to do

16 July 2022

Some owners mistakenly believe that it is not necessary to vaccinate domestic cats. After all, a pet does not come into contact with its relatives, does not walk on the street and does not have other opportunities to pick up an infectious disease. Indeed, compared to their free-living counterparts, the domestic cat is less at risk of infection. At the same time, the situation in the house is far from sterile and the cat can easily become infected through contact with shoes or other wardrobe items of its owners who have been on the street. Well, if the animal is accustomed to independent walks, takes part in exhibitions or is taken out to the country in the summer, then disputes about the need for vaccination generally lose their meaning.

Vaccination is an effective and inexpensive method of preventing the most common and dangerous diseases for cats. Timely vaccinations can not only save the life and health of your pet, but also save on expensive treatment in case of infection.

What are the dangers of infectious diseases
All vaccinations are divided into mandatory and recommended. It is mandatory to vaccinate against the following diseases:

Panleukopenia (distemper). A dangerous, difficult to treat, viral disease that affects the digestive organs, respiratory organs and heart, as well as general dehydration of the body. With untimely provision of veterinary care, death occurs in 90% of cases. The disease is especially dangerous for kittens and for animals of advanced age.

Rhinotracheitis. The cause of the disease is the feline herpes virus (FHV-1). When the disease is observed fever, nasal congestion, tracheitis (damage to the upper respiratory tract), conjunctivitis. The disease is difficult to diagnose, often flows into a chronic form, and the herpes virus persists in the cat’s body even after treatment. The chance of death is between 5% and 20%.

Calcivirosis. One of the most common dangerous viral diseases. Infection occurs through direct contact with a sick animal, from mother to kittens, while walking while sniffing the secretions of other animals, by air, and also through human shoes or clothing. The main symptoms of the disease are fever up to 40 ° C and above, the appearance of sores on the oral mucosa, conjunctivitis, excessive salivation, coughing and sneezing, bad breath, pneumonia. The disease does not pose a danger to humans, but in cats in 30% of cases it leads to the death of the animal.

Rabies. A fatal disease characterized by damage to the brain (meningoencephalitis) and spinal cord. It is dangerous not only for animals, but also for humans.
Owners who truly care about the health of their pet also vaccinate against the following diseases:

Feline chlamydia. The causative agents of the disease are intracellular parasites (chlamydia). The mucous membrane of the eye (conjunctivitis), the respiratory tract, the digestive organs and the genitourinary system are affected. There is a small risk of human infection.

What vaccinations are given to cats and when
In newborn kittens, immunity is developed due to the substances contained in colostrum, but it lasts no more than 16 weeks. The first vaccination is recommended for a kitten when it reaches 8-10 weeks of age. At this age, the baby is given a vaccine against calcivirosis, rhinotracheitis and panleukopenia. Rabies vaccination is carried out at the age of at least 12 weeks and, in most cases, is carried out simultaneously with the revaccination, carried out 3-4 weeks after the first vaccination. It is recommended to use the same brand of drug as the first time.

The timing of vaccination may vary slightly depending on the recommendations of the manufacturer of a particular type of vaccine. Within two to three weeks after vaccination, the baby’s contacts with the outside world should be limited, not taken for walks, not transported in public transport and not allowed to contact other cats, since the development of active immunity begins no earlier than 10 days after the administration of the drug .

Annual cat vaccination
Adult cats are also susceptible to the diseases listed above, as well as kittens. The vaccines used provide stable immunity for one year, therefore, repeated vaccinations should be performed no later than 12 months after the previous vaccination throughout the life of the animal.

Basic rules for vaccination
To achieve the maximum effect of vaccination and ensure maximum protection of the animal, the owners should adhere to a number of recommendations:

10-12 days before vaccination, deworming and getting rid of parasites (fleas and ticks) should be performed. Otherwise, the weakened body of the animal may develop an insufficient amount of antibodies to maintain immunity.

Follow the vaccination schedule. With each vaccination, a mark on the date of vaccination is entered in the pet’s veterinary passport and a label of the applied vaccine is pasted.
If any health problems are detected in the cat (signs of a cold, lethargy, lack of appetite, indigestion, fever, inflammation of the mucous membranes, and others), vaccination is postponed until the animal recovers and can only be performed after examination by a veterinarian. Weakened and emaciated animals are also not subject to vaccination.

In the case of a planned surgical intervention, vaccination is carried out no later than three weeks before the operation, and no earlier than three weeks after.

At least two weeks must have elapsed since the last dose of antibiotics.

It is not recommended to vaccinate kittens younger than 8 weeks, as well as during the period of teeth change (at the age of 4-7 months).

It is forbidden to vaccinate cats during pregnancy and lactation.

Only high-quality vaccines should be used, while paying attention to the date of manufacture and storage conditions (live and killed vaccines should be stored at a temperature of 4-8 ° C).
Owners are required to closely monitor changes in the behavior of the animal after vaccination. In case of allergic reactions, lethargy, prolonged refusal to drink, you should contact your veterinarian. It should be borne in mind that a slight decrease in cat activity in the first few days after vaccination is quite normal.

During the procedure, the cat must be in a calm state. The owner can take the animal in his arms, calm him down with stroking and voice. It is also allowed to carry out the procedure in a home environment familiar to the cat.

After vaccination, the owners must provide the cat with high-calorie, but easily digestible food, enough to drink and create a comfortable microclimate in the room (protect the cat from drafts and prevent hypothermia).

You should not save and vaccinate a cat on your own. It is recommended to entrust the choice of vaccine and the implementation of the necessary procedures to a professional, in this case the veterinarian is fully responsible for the quality of the drug and compliance with storage conditions. In addition, most modern veterinary clinics offer a veterinarian home visit service, which allows owners to save their own time and not put the animal under stress during transportation.

When choosing a vaccine, you should pay attention to the presence of a certificate issued by the authorized body of veterinary supervision, and instructions translated into Russian. The following drugs have proven themselves well: NobivacTRICAT and NobivacRabies (Netherlands), Quadricat (France), as well as the Russian vaccine “Multifel-4”.

Subject to all recommendations and the use of high-quality drugs, side effects after vaccination are observed in no more than 0.5% -1% of animals. The most common complications include:

Allergic reaction to the components of a particular drug. Allergy symptoms (salivation, shortness of breath, involuntary defecation, inadequate behavioral reactions, and others) appear within a few minutes after the injection, so it is worth observing the pet’s condition for 15-20 minutes and not leaving the clinic immediately after vaccination. If an allergic reaction is detected, the veterinarian will prescribe the necessary antihistamine.

Vaccination of an already infected animal (incubator) at a time when the external symptoms of the disease have not yet manifested. Such cases are extremely rare, but can lead to a complication of the disease and even death of the pet. To avoid infection before vaccination, you should observe a two-week quarantine, and also ask the veterinarian to conduct a complete examination of the pet.

The appearance of a bump or redness at the injection site. This reaction of the body is quite normal and should not cause concern to the owners. After a few days, redness, induration or bump will disappear without a trace.

Serious complications are extremely rare, the risk of their occurrence cannot be compared with the risk to the health of the animal in case of refusal to vaccinate.

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