The sooner you visit the veterinarian, the better. Kittens should be immunized at an early age. Your veterinarian will start your kitten on a vaccination schedule and will advise you when boosters are necessary. Make sure your pet gets a regular veterinary checkup every year or as recommended by your veterinarian.
When you take your kitten to the vet, you should know what to expect. Some of the common diagnostic tests your veterinarian may want to perform include fecal examinations to check for internal parasites and blood tests to check for diseases.
During the physical exam, your veterinarian will feel your kitten's abdomen, listen to her chest, check the condition of her coat, look in her ears for infection and ear mites, and inspect her mouth for tartar buildup or gum disease. Discussing nutrition at every exam is important because the right kitten food can make a real difference in your kitten’s health.
Kittens should begin vaccinations as early as 6 weeks of age. As soon as you get your new kitten, schedule a visit with your veterinarian to begin her vaccination program.
The following diseases are preventable by immunization:
- Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper): Viral disease that causes vomiting and diarrhea, and is often fatal.
- Upper Respiratory Infections (URI): Group of highly contagious viral and bacterial diseases that can cause repiratory infections with cold-like symptoms and can progress to pneumonia, as well as a variety of chronic problems.
- Feline Leukemia (FeLV): Potentially deadly virus that inhibits the immune system and causes debilitating diseases, including various types of cancer.
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): Potentially fatal virus contagious among cats that affects the immune system.
- Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP): Potentially lethal virus that typically affects young cats and causes profressive wasting, fever, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
- Rabies: Contagious viral disease transmitted by saliva of an infected animal, typically raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Even when no injury is apparent, report your pet's contact with an unfamiliar or wild animal to your veterinarian immediately.