What Does a Distemper Shot Do for a Cat?

what does a distemper shot do for a cat

Getting your beloved cat pet vaccinated against several viruses is your utmost responsibility, making you a reliable and trusted pet owner. Unfortunately, many people ignore the basic needs of their cat pets, like on-time vaccinations, neutering/spaying, etc. In addition, you must remember that petting does not include only feeding and bathing the pet; you have to make sure that your pet remains healthy as long as it lives naturally.

If your cat is unhealthy, undeniably, it becomes a nuisance for you to control its mood swings and sedentary behavior. Besides, if your beloved cat becomes sick, you would not like it owing to the affection you share with your pet. Therefore, vaccination is an integral part of your cat’s life, and you have to be extremely careful about protecting your cat from deadly viruses that can cost its death.

This article briefs about the ‘feline distemper vaccine’, against which diseases it provides the protection, what it does for your cat, and much more. So, let’s get started!

What is the feline distemper vaccine?

The distemper vaccine is also available for dogs. Therefore, you must give your cat the feline distemper shots. The alternative name of the vaccine is the DHPP, which is the short form of the viruses against which it protects.

However, the feline distemper vaccine combines feline panleukopenia virus, rhinotracheitis–causing virus, and calicivirus. If you neglect to get your cat vaccinated against these viruses to save your money, it would cost you a lot later if your cat catches any of the mentioned viruses. In addition, all of these pathogens are highly contagious and result in harmful illnesses. Therefore, your cat must receive the feline distemper shots on time to stay healthy!

Let’s have a look at the picture of the diseases produced by these viruses.

Feline parvovirus (feline panleukopenia)

The feline panleukopenia (parvovirus) causes a life-threatening condition in cats, called ‘feline panleukopenia.’ If your cute kitten, which is around 2-4 months of age, has got the virus and you have not to get it vaccinated with distemper, there is a high chance that you will lose your pet to death. The mortality rate in unvaccinated cats is sky-rocketing.

The feline parvovirus is similar to the canine one, attacking the intestinal system of your pet. Primarily, the target of the virus is the cells that divide at a faster rate than usual, like those of the intestine, developing fetus, bone marrow, etc.

Since feline panleukopenia is mainly an intestinal tract disease, the signs and symptoms include; bloody diarrhea and vomiting. The blood loss leads to anemia of your cat. Moreover, your cat becomes dull and lethargic owing to extreme blood loss and nutrient loss.

The term ‘panleukopenia’ means fewer white blood cells. The white blood cells are paramount to the immune system. Since the virus attacks bone marrow, the number of white blood cells also starts to decline, which leads to weak immunity. In addition, as a result of inefficient defense mechanisms, your cat gets exposed to several other contagious illnesses.

Feline rhinotracheitis/calcivirus

If you have not taken your kitten for vaccination, you observe a few respiratory-related signs and symptoms that are not normal. Would you please visit a vet? Probably your pet has got the feline rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, or maybe both. Most of the time, these viruses work in combination to cause upper respiratory tract infection in your cat.

These viruses are highly contagious that spread from the infected cat through airborne droplets, secretions, or contaminated objects. The signs and symptoms of the disease may vary from mild to severe. However, usually, your cat catches sneezing, cold, cough, nasal discharge, eye discharge, conjunctivitis (red eye), etc.

Moreover, if your cat has caught any of these viruses, they become the carriers as long as they live, which is a worse consequence since they will keep on shedding the virus to other healthy cats around. Therefore, to prevent all the unwanted scenarios from happening, you must get your cat vaccinated against the mentioned viruses on time.

How do feline parvovirus and rhinotracheitis/caicivirus spread?

If you own an unvaccinated kitten, keep in mind that it is highly susceptible to catch the mentioned viruses. Therefore, we advise you to get your kitten vaccinated with the core vaccines per the vaccination schedule.

The feline parvovirus is highly contagious and spread through fluid secretions like blood, urine, stool, and nasal secretions of the infected cat. Humans cannot catch the virus, but people who handle infected cats might become the source of infection as their clothes or hands can carry the viruses. Besides, if your cat somehow comes in direct contact with the infected cat, it would surely catch the virus.

Coming to the feline rhinotracheitis and calicivirus, they spread through contaminated objects like the feeding bowls of the infected cat. If your cat comes in contact with the eyes or nose of the infected one, it will get the infection (if not vaccinated.)

Feline distemper vaccine schedule

Vaccinating your cat against deadly illnesses depends on factors like your cat’s age, health, dietary lifestyle, and, above all, your vet’s recommendation. However, given below is the general vaccination schedule for feline distemper shots;

  • 1st feline distemper shot around 8-9 weeks of age.
  • 2nd shot is around 3-4 weeks later after the 1st
  • 3rd shot is around 3-4 weeks later after the 2nd

There is no 4th shot for the feline distemper vaccine. However, if your vet suggests, you can get your cat booster doses of the vaccine 6-12 months after the 3rd shot.

Feline distemper vaccine side effects

There are no major side effects reported with the feline distemper shots. However, your cat might feel tired and dull after the vaccination. Moreover, it might feel slight pain at the injection site, for which you can give it the basic analgesics. Rarely, a few cats might have allergic reactions to the distemper vaccine; if any such thing happens, you must visit your vet as soon as possible.

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In conclusion

Undoubtedly, like humans, cats are also vulnerable to catch deadly illnesses. Therefore, it is your first and foremost duty to get your cat vaccinated with important vaccines on time to prevent it from getting sick and making other healthy cats sick. In this article, we have tried our best to brief you about the feline distemper shot and what it does for your cat. We hope it will prove helpful!

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