Cats - "Purrrrfectly" Adorable

Cats make wonderful pets. It is important to bring your new kitten as well as your older cat to the veterinarian for vaccinations and health check- ups. Vaccinations are available to prevent many cat diseases. Prevention costs less than treatment, and makes your cat healthier. Without a vaccination program, many cats will come down with a serious or even fatal disease. Vaccinations help prevent diseases by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that help fight viruses and bacteria that cause diseases. The protection provided by a vaccine gradually declines after a pet is vaccinated, so it is important to provide regular boosters for your pet. Nursing animals receive antibodies from their mother's milk that aid in protection from disease during the first months of its life. However, these same antibodies can also decrease the effectiveness of a vaccine. During the first few months of life, maternal antibodies gradually decrease. This is why veterinarians give a series of vaccine doses from 6-16 weeks of age. If maternal antibodies are present, later doses will stimulate the animal's own antibodies to be formed against the disease. Kittens should be weaned and be in good health for a vaccination program to be effective.

Feline Vaccinations given at Animal Care Hospital

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: Also known as "feline AIDS" for many years, this disease has no immunological link to human aids. However, just as in the human HIV infections or feline leukemia infections, there are no cures once a cat has become FIV positive.

A vaccine is available and does not provide a cure from the disease, but does provide about 85% protection against it. Vaccinated cats will show positive (+) test results on the IDEXX snap test (be sure to let us know if your cat has been previously vaccinated for FIV).

We test cats at Animal Care Hospital using the IDEXX combination feline leukemia/FIV/Feline Heartworm snap test.

Feline Leukimia (FeLV): This virus can attack the cat's immune system (thereby weaking it) or cause cancer somewhere in the body. FeLV vaccinations are given three weeks apart, followed by a yearly booster. The IDEXX FeLV snap test is recommended before initial vaccinations are given if the cat is a stray or its history of vaccinations is unknown.

Feline Panleukopenia: Also called feline distemper, panleukopenia is a virus that can affect many parts of a cat's body, causing fever, appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weakness, tremors, and incoordination. Death can occur within a week. Vaccinations for panleukopenia should be started at 6-8 weeks of age, and given every 3-4 weeks until 16-18 weeks old, then yearly thereafter.

Rabies: All warm blooded animals can become infected with rabies. Mississippi State Law recomends the three-year rabies vaccine. In accordance with American Animal Hospital Association and the AVMA's National Rabies Council we recommend annual rabies boosters due to the active rabies that have been reported in Mississippi in the past 3-4 years. We use a three-year rabies vaccine (at no additional charge as opposed to the one-year vaccine) to provide added protection of your dogs and cats, but still recommend annual booster for both dogs and cats.

Feline Respiratory Disease: These diseases are easily spread from one cat to another by coughing and sneezing. Affected cats may have runny eyes, discharge from the nose, inflamed eyes, fever, and sores on the nose or mouth. Two viruses are responsible for the majority of respiratory diseases- feline rhinotracheitis (a herpes virus), and feline calicivirus. Vaccinations should be started at 6-8 weeks of age and given every 3-4 weeks until 16-18 weeks old, then yearly thereafter.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis: FIP is caused by a virus. The risk of this disease is low, with cats in catteries and shelters being at higher risk. Instead of a shot, nasal drops are instilled into a cat's nose for the vaccine. The first dose is given at 16 weeks of age, with a booster 3 weeks later. It is then boostered once a year.

General Information

Nutrition and parasite control are very important for cats as well: Cats should only be fed cat food, since dog foods do not offer cats the essential amino acids they need. A fecal exam should be done on kittens at each visit and annually for older cats to check for intestinal worms. Cats can get heartworm disease, too, and one heartworm can kill a cat. Therefore, it is VERY important to start your kitten or older cat on a heartworm prevention program since there is no treatment for this disease in cats.

It is very important to have your cat spayed or neutered: It lessens the chance of them catching diseases, lessens their chances for some types of cancer, and lowers the excess cat population, as well as making them healthier overall.

Geriatrics: Older cats ( >6 years) are prone to age related diseases. They can develop heart disease, arthritis, poorly functioning liver and kidneys, metabolic diseases, and weight problems. It is very important that older cats receive an annual geriatric exam/workup in conjunction with their annual vaccinations. We recommend senior profiles (CBC, chemistry panel, urinalysis, and thyroid function) for all cats over 6 years of age.


406 E. Railroad Street
Long Beach, MS 39560
(228) 868-9479

Hospital Hours

Monday: 7:30am - 4:00pm
Tuesday: 7:30am - 4:00pm
Wednesday: 7:30am - 4:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am - 12:00pm
Friday: 7:30am - 4:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am - 12:00pm
Sunday: Closed


Until 10pm: Call (228) 234-8374
After 10pm: Call (228) 392-7474


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