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Vaccines for Cats

As a gold level certified cat friendly practice, Beaver Brook Animal Hospital,  follows the vaccine guidelines developed by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) ( Although there are a number of vaccines available for cats, we carry and recommend only three for our patients. All of the vaccines we use are made for cats only and are non-adjuvanted. We believe they are the safest, most effective vaccines. We give these vaccines to our own furry family members, following the same guidelines outlined below.

The AAFP recommends all cats be vaccinated against Rabies and Distemper (FVRCP). They recommend the feline leukemia vaccine for kittens  and for at-risk cats (i.e. cats that go outside, and cats exposed to Feline Leukemia positive and untested cats). Other available vaccines are not recommended by AAFP or our hospital. Please visit their website for further information: 

Rabies Vaccine

Our hospital uses the Merial PUREVAX® feline annual rabies vaccine to protect cats against the rabies virus. This vaccine is approved and safe to give to cats as young as 12 weeks of age. Unlike the older multi-species 3-year adjuvanted rabies vaccine, this vaccine is not adjuvanted, reducing the risk for vaccine reactions.  We are excited to announce that Merial has released a 3 year Feline PUREVAX which we now carry.

Note: This vaccine is required by state law for all cats 3 months and older.

Rabies virus is a fatal infection typically transmitted through bite wounds, open cuts in the skin or onto mucus membranes (i.e. saliva). There is no treatment available once your cat is infected with rabies. This virus has very real and serious human and pet implications.

Indoor Cats: What Pet Owners Need to Know

Some cat owners feel indoor cats do not need to be vaccinated against rabies. All cats, including indoor cats, are required by state law to be vaccinated against rabies. Consider the following:

  1. There is a small, but real potential for rabies to enter your household. Wildlife such as bats, raccoons or skunks may bring the virus into your house and expose your cat to rabies.
  2. There is a legal liability should an unvaccinated cat bite or scratch a person.
  3. Rabies is a fatal disease for both humans and pets. In 2011, there were 195 documented cases of animals with rabies in Connecticut; 7 of them cats. Two of these cats were in Hartford county.

FVRCP (Distemper) Vaccine

Our hospital uses a non-adjuvanted feline FVRCP vaccine to protect cats against three highly contagious viruses, which are easily passed between cats: feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus and feline panleukopenia. The initial kitten series includes vaccine administration every 3-4 weeks with the last vaccine administered after 16 weeks of age. The vaccine is administered again at 1 year of age and then every 3 years.

§         Feline Herpesvirus (Feline Rhinotracheitis)

Clinical signs are associated with upper respiratory infection signs such as sneezing and discharge from the eyes and/or nose. This virus can become latent (inactive) in some cats. These “carrier” cats may have long-term infections that reactivate in times of stress or with treatment that suppresses the immune system.

§         Feline Calicivirus

Clinical signs include respiratory signs (sneezing, eye discharge, nasal discharge), oral ulcers, anorexia, and joint pain (lameness or stiffness). 

§         Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper Virus)

This virus most commonly attacks the intestine, bone marrow and brain and can cause severe disease, including death. Clinical signs may include severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, fever, lethargy and anorexia. The immune system is often compromised, resulting in secondary infections. This virus is very resistant in the environment and may survive for over a year.

FeLV (Feline Leukemia) Vaccine

Our hospital uses the Merial PUREVAX® FeLV vaccine to protect cats and kittens against the feline leukemia virus. The AAFP has recommended vaccinating all kittens against FeLV in their first year of life. After the initial kitten series (2 vaccinations 3-4 weeks apart), this vaccine is only administered to cats that spend any amount of time outdoors or are exposed to FeLV positive or untested cats on an annual basis. A FeLV test is performed prior to vaccination in naïve (unvaccinated) pets.

Feline leukemia is a significant cause of illness and death in cats. The feline leukemia virus is spread through mutual grooming, sharing food or water dishes, or biting. Survival time for cats infected with FeLV ranges from 6 months to 3 years after infection. Clinical signs associated with a viral infection are not specific and may include immune-mediated diseases, tumors, bone marrow disorders including anemia, and secondary infections.

What You Need To Know About Vaccine Reactions

We use the safest vaccines currently available to the veterinary profession. We have chosen the above vaccines and follow the current AAFP Vaccine Guidelines (1) to protect our patients, (2) give only the number of vaccines necessary for protection, (3) to minimize the chance and number of side effects to our patients. Even with safe protocols, a few cats may still have a vaccine reaction. Below is a summary of possible reactions and signs to watch for. If your cat has had a vaccine reaction in the past, please let us know and we will tailor a specific vaccine program for your cat to help avoid such reactions in the future. Please call us if you notice any of these reactions.

Mild vaccine reactions, if they occur, may last for a couple of days after the vaccination and may include:

  •  Decrease in activity
  • Mild pain or soreness at the injection site
  • Mild decrease in appetite
  • A small lump at the injection site

Severe vaccine reactions may occur within a few minutes to a few hours after vaccine administration. If you notice any of these severe vaccine reactions, veterinary attention is required IMMEDIATELY.

  • Vomiting / Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face
  • Profound lethargy



  Our Hospital Location
60 Beaver Road
Wethersfield, CT 06109
Phone: (860) 757-3346
Fax: (860) 757-3525

  Hospital Hours:
Monday 9:00 - 6:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 - 6:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 - 6:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 - 6:00 PM
Friday 9:00 - 6:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 - 2:00 PM
Sunday - Close

In case of Emergency

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