Athens Veterinary Clinic

16 Pomeroy Rd
Athens, OH 45701


Athens Veterinary Clinic Feline Vaccination Guidelines

Core Vaccines – These are highly recommended and/or required by law 

FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis/Herpesvirus 1, Calicivirus, Feline Parvovirus/Panleukopenia)- This is the standard vaccine that you think of when it comes to cats. Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus are two of the major contributors to upper respiratory infections in cats. Panleukopenia (also referred to as parvovirus) causes the body to stop making red blood cells and white blood cells causing severe anemia and immune suppression. Kittens born to previously infected mothers commonly have a neurologic condition called cerebellar hypoplasia- a malformation in the brain that causes constant tremoring. Kittens receive their first vaccine at 6-8 weeks and are vaccinated every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. After initial vaccines, additional boosters are good for 3 years.

Rabies- Rabies is a well-known fatal disease that is transmitted by wild animals (raccoons, bats, foxes, etc). Rabies is often required by local government for licensure. Proof of rabies vaccination is also required prior to interstate and/or international travel. Any unvaccinated animal that bites a human is required to be held in quarantine to assess for signs of rabies. If an animal exhibits strange behavior in quarantine, it is euthanized to examine its brain for the virus. Rabies vaccine is administered to animals 12 weeks and older. It is boostered the following year and is good for 3 years.

Non-Core Vaccines - These are risk-based vaccines based on the activity of the cat

FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus)- Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are two fairly common viruses among stray and feral cat populations. These diseases are very contagious (especially FeLV) and once contracted, are not curable. Both conditions cause severe immune suppression and FeLV commonly causes a type of blood cancer called leukemia. It is highly recommended to test all new cats for both FeLV and FIV prior to bringing into contact with existing cats in a household. While FIV vaccines are considered ineffective and not recommended, all cats that in multi-cat households, are indoor/outdoor or are boarded frequently should be vaccinated for FeLV. The FeLV vaccine is offered as a combination vaccine with FVRCP and the cat receives 2 doses 3-4 weeks apart for initial vaccines. FeLV must be boostered yearly afterwards- there IS NOT a 3 year vaccine approved for use in cats.

Bordetella (Bordetella bronchiseptica)Like dogs, cats can develop what is colloquially known as "kennel cough." Clinically, this appears as coughing, sneezing, nasal/eye discharge -this is thought to be a contributor to feline upper respiratory infections. This vaccine is administered intra-nasally and is generally not recommended unless the cat is in a high risk area (ex: rescues and humane societies). This vaccine is not carried at Athens Veterinary Clinic.

Feline Chlamydia (Chlamydia felis)- Chlamydia is a contagious bacteria among cats that can cause eye discharge and eventually corneal ulcers if left untreated. This vaccine has been known to have higher adverse reactions (~3% of all vaccinated cats) and is therefore not recommended unless the cat is in a high risk environment. This vaccine is not carried at Athens Veterinary Clinic.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (Feline Coronavirus)- Coronaviruses are fairly common in cats, but are rarely symptomatic. FIP is a particularly bad strain of a coronavirus that causes many vague symptoms: lethargy, inappetence, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, eye infections, etc. Not all cats show the same symptoms and there is no current diagnostic test that can differentiate the harmless strains from the harmful strains of this virus. Treatment is usually unsuccessful. This vaccine has not been shown to produce long-lasting immunity and is therefore not currently recommended. This vaccine in not carried at Athens Veterinary Clinic.