Until the age of 8 to 12 weeks, kittens are protected by their maternal antibodies received from their mothers. After this period it is important that a new protection is obtained by vaccinating your cat.
With vaccination a little piece of a weakened pathogen is injected into your pet. This ensures that your cat can build up immunity against this disease. If your cat later becomes infected with this disease, he will hardly get any symptom. His immune system will recognize the disease and your cat is protected against this pathogen.
Feline infectious enteritis (Feline panleukopenia)
This highly contagious disease is characterized by vomiting and diarrhea and has a fatal course in 90% of the kittens. This cat disease is caused by the panleukopenia virus. The cat can be infected thru the nose (inhalation) or the gastrointestinal tract (ingestion). The virus is found in all of the cat's secretions (saliva, vomit, tears, faeces). The cat can also be infected by indirect contact. This happens, for example, because the cat comes into contact with contaminated objects such as; food bowls, transport basket, floor, litter box and clothes. But fleas can also transmit the virus. The problem is that the virus can stay in the environment for a long time and is very resistant to most disinfectants. Even after a year it can lead to contamination. Fortunately due to the vaccinations, this disease becomes less common.
Chlamydiosis in cats is an infection of the eyes caused by the bacterium Chlamydophila felis. You can find this disease all over the world. People can also get infected with this, but the chance is very small. The disease is very contagious from cat to cat and occurs at all ages. Especially young cats and kittens living in groups are at high risk. The characteristics of this disease are; conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyes and eyelids), sneezing and discharge from the nose. Sometimes the lungs can also be involved. Fortunately, this disease is rarely fatal. The problem with this disease is that it is often very contagious and can cause a persistent problem in a household with several cats. The bacteria can be easily killed in the environment by disinfectants and will not survive long outside the cat.
Sneezing disease (Feline viral rhinotracheitis)
Cat flu is a highly contagious disease that causes cats to sneeze and have watery eyes. The animals have a reduced appetite and sometimes ulcers in the mouth or on the tongue. The disease can cause injuries of the airways and also of the eyes, in extreme cases it can evolve to death. It is a very common disease that causes about 90% of the respiratory diseases in the cat. Cats of all ages and breeds can get sneezing disease. As with other diseases, the chance of contracting sneezing disease is greater in animals that live in large groups. Cats that are used in breeding or cats that live in shelters and stray cats have an increased risk of getting the disease.
Unvaccinated cats, kittens, old cats and cats with reduced resistance are more likely to get seriously ill from sneezing disease. Due to poor appetite and dehydration, the general health of these animals can quickly deteriorate. In the worst case, animals can die from the disease. It occurs in cats of all ages and both sexes. Especially Caliciviruses and Herpes viruses cause this disease and even when a cat is cured, it remains a carrier and can infect other cats.
This disease, caused by a retrovirus, (Feline leukemia virus) is mainly caused by a decreased immunity and the appearance of tumors. It occurs worldwide but due to vaccination the presence of the virus in Europe has decreased. Contamination can occur in cats via the saliva (biting and licking), via the litter box and via the queens milk. The infection can also occur during gestation. If a pregnant cat is infected with leucosis, it usually leads to abortion or fading kittens.
A cat can remain infected with the virus or the body eliminates the leukemia virus. This differs from cat to cat. Most cats are able to eliminate the virus and become immune to the virus. Elimination of the leukemia virus can take months. If the FeLV virus is not eliminated, the virus remains in the bone marrow. Cats that are not able to eliminate the virus usually develop tumors of the lymph node later in life, or malignant lymphomas (tumors).
This common disease is sometimes confused with cat AIDS. It is specific to the cat and can not be transmitted to humans. The diagnosis can be made with simple blood tests. Vaccination against this disease is possible from the age of 9 weeks. Because the disease does not occur so often, this vaccination is not always applied by default. So inform our veterinarians if you want to vaccinate your cat against this disease.
Feline Immunodeficiency Syndrome (feline AIDS)
FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that affects the immune cells of the body. This reduces the general defense of the cat. The FIV virus is related to the HIV virus in humans that causes AIDS. That is why FIV is sometimes called cat AIDS. FIV is also specific to the cat and can not be transmitted to humans. Contamination happens by bite wounds and fighting. Every cat can become infected at any age. FIV occurs worldwide and occurs 3 times more often in unneutered males than with females. The virus is more common in unneutered males because these cats fight more and are therefore more likely to have infections. FIV also occurs more often in stray cats or in cats that get outside a lot. The symptoms have a varying course and we speak of different phases. The symptoms may differ from diarrhea, fever or anemia or an asymptomatic period. Slowly, this can take months to years, the cat will get more and more symptoms. Gum infections, upper respiratory tract infections, fever, eating less, skin conditions and swollen lymph nodes.
There is currently no vaccine against this disease and therefore the best prevention is to spay and neuter cats. The diagnosis can be made by means of a blood test. This test can be performed directly in our lab.
Rabies is a disease that is transmissible to humans and therefore it is subject to strict sanitary control. Rabies is one of the best known zoonoses. These are infections that can be transmitted from animals to humans through infected saliva or through bites or scratches. The disease is caused by the Lyssavirus and is usually deadly without fast treatment. After the onset of nerve symptoms she has a fatal course. In infected areas the vaccination of all cats is mandatory. In Belgium cats should only be vaccinated against rabies if they go abroad.