Kittens are extremely vulnerable to disease – their immune system is essentially the antibodies their mother provided. It is vital to stimulate their immune system so when they are exposed to dangerous diseases, they are protected.
When should kittens get their first vaccination shots?
Vaccines begin at the age of 8 weeks of age. This age is because, before 8 weeks, the kitten still has antibodies in their system they receive from their mother to develop their immune system. If vaccinated too early, these antibodies will destroy the vaccine. If vaccinated too late, a mother’s antibodies may have dropped to a level that no longer protects your kitten from a disease. Occasionally, in outbreak situations, kittens may be vaccinated at an earlier age.
How often does my kitten need to be vaccinated?
Usually your kitten will have a series of 3 kitten vaccinations. The initial vaccines will be given at 8 weeks of age. It will then have repeat vaccinations, also known as boosters, at 12 weeks and 16 weeks. After all the kitten vaccines have been completed, we require them to come in one year from the date of their last kitten vaccines to booster all the vaccines again. This protocol is to ensure the immune system has a strong amnestic response and follows AAFP guidelines.
Does my kitten only need core vaccines?
We tailor vaccines to an individual’s lifestyle – you may hear about this approach as core and non-core vaccination. Core vaccines would be those vaccinations that all cats should get due to the high risk of infection or severity of an infection. Noncore vaccines are selected based on where your cat travels and what they do. Your kitten may need core vaccines and more – it is a decision you and your veterinarian can make together.