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Orwigsburg vet, veterinarian in Orwigsburg,

Brunswick Veterinary Hospital


Loving Your Pets Like You Do!


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All cats should be vaccinated to prevent against harmful and potentially life-threatening diseases. The types of vaccines your cat should be given will vary based on the life style of your cat. If your cat lives in the house and does not come into contact with other cats, only the basic vaccines (FVRCP and Rabies) are necessary. If your cat spends time outside and around other cats, the proper precautions should be taken with the necessary vaccination (add feline leukemia).


Rabies is a disease nearly everyone has heard of. It is contracted when an animal is bitten by another animal that has been infected. The disease is carried in the saliva. Rabies vaccinations are required in Pennsylvania for cats that spend anytime inside. Even if you have an indoor cat, they should be vaccinated in case they get out, or by chance an animal (ie a bat) were to get into your house. In all cases an animal will need to be put down if it has been infected with rabies.  We use a safe recombinant Rabies vaccine for indoor cats as recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP).

Panleukopenia Virus

The more common name for this virus is “distemper”. It is a highly contagious disease which is why vaccination is recommended. Symptoms include fever, seizures, loss of appetite, vomting, diarrhea, and possibly death. Kittens are born with a natural immunity for the first few weeks of their lives. Vaccinations should start at around 6-8 weeks of age and there are a series of boosters every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is at least 14 weeks of age. Your adult cat should also receive a vaccination in 1 year, and then every 3 years  going forward.


Caused by the herpes virus, Rhinotracheitis is an upper respiratory infection that is highly contagious. The infection could prove to be fatal in young kittens, so the vaccination is highly recommended. The vaccine is included in the distemper vaccine- so an initial booster series is given until maturity, revaccination in 1 year, then every 3 years.


Calicivirus is a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. It is very contagious through contact with infected cats. Symptoms include fever, gum disease, mouth ulcers, sneezing, among others. More advanced forms of the virus are more severe and can cause fatality. Cats do not need to exhibit symptoms in order to transmit the disease to other cats. The contagious nature of this disease makes it important for your cat to receive a vaccination.  This is part of the distemper combination vaccine.

Feline Leukemia Virus

This is another virus that is spread through direct contact with an infected cat or contaminated fomites (food and water bowls, bedding). For this reason the vaccine is highly recommended for outdoor cats, or cats that are frequently in contact with other cats. Indoor, solitary cats are not at as high a risk to contract it. One third of all cats infected by feline leukemia will contract and die from the disease.  There is no cure once a cat is infected.  We now use a safer recombinant vaccine for feline leukemia, as it was thought that the original vaccines may have increased the risk of tumors at the injection site.  This newer vaccine is much safer and still very effective.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

This is a disease that has no cure and is fatal in most instances. The good news is that for households with only 1 or 2 cats only 1 in 5000 cats are affected. The vaccine for this disease has not proven to be very effective to this point, so most cats will not require this vaccination.  Diagnosis is difficult, as many cats will test positive for coronavirus without ever developing FIP.  Signs are non-specific but include lethargy, fever and sometimes fluid build-up in the chest and abdomen.


Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

FIV is tranmitted from queens to their kittens and via bite wounds, sexual intercourse, and fighting.  Neutering your cat will decrease risk, but all outside cats can contract this disease.  There is a vaccine for FIV but we currently don't recommend it, as vaccinated cats will test positive on the diagnostic test.  Symptoms are chronic infections, ulcers in the mouth, swollen joints and recurrent fever.  We do recommend annual testing for FIV in cats which are high risk- ie go outside.