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When and how to vaccinate your adult cat

Vaccination is the only way of preventing death and unpleasant illness from a number of infectious viruses that are common in Hong Kong. Every adult cat should already have had a full course of vaccines as a kitten. This will ensure the best possible start in life. Booster vaccines are then given to maintain protection.

At HHVC we strongly advise that every cat is seen by the vet once a year so that her health can be checked and any necessary vaccines given. The first time will normally be 12 months after the last vaccine, when the cat is about 15 months old. After this the body check and vaccination visit is normally done once a year.

What vaccines are needed?

There are many vaccines available which may be used. Some vaccines (core vaccines) are advised for all animals and some only in special cases (none-core). This depends on the cat’s lifestyle and risk factors. We strongly advise every cat is vaccinated against the following viruses which cause a variety of diseases. Please note there is no such thing as a homeopathic vaccine!

The Core vaccines
Feline panlekopaenia (FPV) Diarrhoea, vomiting or sudden death!
Feline herpes virus (FHV) Cat flu, eye problems and facial skin lesions.
Feline calicivirus (FCV) Cat flu, tongue, mouth ulcers, can affect joints or other organs.

None core vaccines
Chlamydia A type of cat flu included in some types of cat flu vaccines.
Feline leukaemia/FeLV, Rabies Used in show cats or those going abroad.
Bordatella Used if infection is seen in a group of cats.
FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) Value of the FIP vaccine is in doubt.

What does the vaccine label and card show?

Every time we vaccinate your cat we will record this in the vaccine card to make a record of what has been given when. A sticker is peeled off the vaccine bottle and stuck onto the card. It records the vaccine batch, its expiry date and the vaccine brand and type of vaccine given. The name of the vaccine currently used at Hung Hom Veterinary Clinic, Tricat, means vaccination against 3 viruses, FPV, FCV and FHV.

Are booster vaccines necessary?

The actual duration of effect of a vaccine in an individual cat is not known. This may vary greatly depending on the cat, the type of vaccine used and what virus is vaccinated against. Some types of core vaccines are now licensed in some countries to be used every 3 years. Other types still need to be given once a year (herpes virus). To keep things simple and to follow the written advice given with the vaccines available in Hong Kong we advise that each cat has a booster vaccine and body check once a year.

Can a vaccine cause a reaction?

Many cats over the world have been vaccinated and the level of reactions is very low. A vaccine is a very effective medicine. It is designed to stimulate the cats own immune system, so when this happens the cat may feel unwell. Sometimes the cat will be tired or quiet for a day or so, but this will usually clear up quickly. On rare occasions a more marked reaction can occur. If other symptoms are seen after a vaccine call HHVC now!

Can a vaccine make a cat ill?

Millions of doses of these vaccines have been used over the years and they are recognized as being very safe. Vaccines are tested and manufactured under strict controls to prevent problems. There are concerns about tumour formation at injection sites. This has been seen in the US and less often in UK. It appears to be associated with some types of vaccine for rabies and FeLV. These vaccines are not core vaccines and are not given to the majority of our cats. If the vaccine is needed it is far more likely to benefit the animal by preventing disease then causing harm.


In Summary: At HHVC we strongly advise that every cat is seen by the vet once a year so that her health can be checked and any necessary vaccines is given.

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