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No matter how skillful (and insistent) your cat may be at expressing his wants and needs to you, some of the most pressing dangers to his health could easily go unnoticed by both of you -- including the ever-present threat of diseases. Microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria can imperil your cat before his immune system has had time to build the proper defenses. That's why cat vaccines are so critical -- and why we make a point of providing them here at West Market Veterinary Hospital in Greensboro NC.
Why do cats need vaccines? Your cat's immune system is actually quite remarkable in its ability to ward off dangerous foreign organisms. When it encounters a threat, it manufactures "soldiers" called antibodies to seek out and destroy the germs. The weakness of this system is that it requires an initial exposure to set things in motion -- and tragically, an initial exposure can be a deadly one where some diseases are concerned. Kittens receive some second-hand antibodies from their mothers through milk, but only until they're weaned, at which point they're vulnerable to infection.
Vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies even in the absence of those dangerous germs. These substances are inert versions of a particular microorganism. They bear enough resemblance to the active germ to prompt a response from the immune system, which produces antibodies that can defend against the real thing. The body can then re-create this protection as long as the vaccine is still potent.
Our Greensboro veterinarians can start protecting your kitten through vaccinations from around the age of 6 weeks. We administer a package of core vaccinations, the vaccinations considered most crucial against everyday disease threats. Your kitten will be vaccinated for panleukopenia, rabies, feline calicivirus, and rhinotracheitis (also known as feline herpesvirus type 1). Except for the rabies vaccinations, all three of these vaccines are grouped into a single DHPP injection. These injections need to be repeated every few weeks until Week 16 to ensure strong protection. Booster shots every 1 to 3 years can then make sure your cat is fully protected for life.
Some cats may need protection above and beyond what they get from core vaccinations. Depending on your cat's environment, we may also recommend non-core or elective vaccinations against Bordetella, feline leukemia or other communicable diseases.
Whether your cat needs core vaccinations, non-core vaccinations or booster shots, our Greensboro clinic is ready to help your cat stay healthy. Call (336) 292-4753 for an appointment!