Kittens should have their first of 3 boosters around 6-8 weeks of age. At their first booster they will be vaccinated with a “core” vaccine. “Core” is a combo vaccine that protects against 3 viruses; panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, and calicivirus. They will need to come in for 3 sets of vaccines, spread out by 3-4 weeks between each booster.
There are some diseases that can severely affect your kitten’s health:
Panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper, affects your cat’s intestinal tract and bone marrow. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, severe dehydration, fever and death.
Rhinotraceitis and Calicivirus are viral infections and they produce flulike or “cold” symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and eyes, and fever. They can also cause ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue, or in the throat
If you have ever wondered why your kitten needs 3 sets of vaccines, here is the reason:
Kittens receive antibodies (small disease fighting proteins) from their mother, through the placenta and then from her milk. If there are high levels of maternal antibodies in the kitten’s bloodstream the effectiveness of the vaccine will be blocked. Once the level of antibodies is low enough the vaccine will work and the kitten will build immunity.
The part that makes this complicated is that there is a period from several days to a couple weeks that the antibodies are too low in numbers to provide protection of disease but too high for the vaccine to fully work. This is called the window of susceptibility and it can vary widely. This is why kittens need a series of vaccinations in hope we can have the kitten build immunity from the vaccines as soon as it leaves the window of susceptibility.
If you have any more questions about kitten vaccines please do not hesitate to contact us at North Hill Animal Hospital!