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Cat Medicine and Vaccines, From Will Draper, DVM

11/19/2010

  • Anne Wingo:

    Dr. Will, all my cats are inside cats. And I know as kittens they had all their vaccinations as they were supposed to.

  • Will Draper, DVM:

    Yeah, kittens get a series of vaccinations, kind of similar to what kids get. We generally start them around 6-7 weeks of age and they get vaccines every three weeks until they are close to 15, 16 weeks of age. And it’s a great topic to  touch on as to whether you vaccinate an indoor cat in the same manner that you would an outdoor cat. Outdoor cats are just, of course, prone to more diseases and viruses than indoor cats.

  • Anne:

    Do I need to continue to have them seen and the vaccines done, since they are strictly inside?

  • Will:

    Well, they should certainly be seen on a regular basis. An annual visit, there are things other than vaccines that are important for that visit; having their teeth checked, checking their coat, checking their eyes, ears, things of that nature.

    Now, an indoor cat is just not going to be as exposed to certain things, like a big one is feline leukemia, that an outdoor cat will. So a lot of vets now are advocating against over-vaccinating.

    With the feline leukemia vaccine, there have been studies and actual proof that that actual vaccine can cause illness in cats. So you don’t want to give that to a cat unless they absolutely need it.

    Most vets will talk to a client prior to the visit, and get a history -- kind of a window of the lifestyle of that cat -- to cater a particular vaccine protocol to that cat. So indoor cats, in my practice for instance, get rabies [vaccines], which all cats have to have legally. And generally will get a distemper vaccination up to a certain age. But we don’t always give leukemia vaccinations, because they don’t necessarily need it like an outdoor cat would. Unless your indoor cat also lives with an outdoor cat, in which case they should be vaccinated for everything the outdoor cat should be vaccinated for.

  • Jamie Albright:

    Do you need to use flea control on your indoor cat if you have a dog that goes outdoors?

  • Will:

    Well, even without the dog, fleas will come in your house just like they are outside. So it’s the same with the mosquito and heartworm prevention. Mosquitoes can come indoor or outdoor. So cats and dogs should be protected against fleas and heartworms, whether they are indoor or outdoor.  So I recommend to my clients -- and I do with my own pets -- I give them all of my pets year-round flea and heartworm prevention, dogs and cats.  And fortunately now, a lot of the products combine it all in one, so it’s more affordable and you don’t have to do two or three things every month. So it’s just an ounce of prevention that’s worth it.

    You do not want to have a bad flea problem in your house. It is terrible.

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