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Vaccinating Barn Cats

Posted by lhvs on October 30, 2014

If you own a barn or live near one you know the joys and difficulties of having outdoor cats. Barn cats can help a lot the with control of pests like mice and rats. They can also be great companions for you and your family. But did you know that if they are not properly taken care of they may become a risk to you, your family and your other pets.

When your barn cats are hunting they can pick up parasites from their prey or other animals and their waste. If they do become infected with parasites they can pass them along to other animals and people. Parasites also can make animals sick, and in worse cases cause severe anemia and death. So it is very important to keep all of your pets dewormed, including your outdoor pets. Some dewormers come in chewable or topical forms to make it easier for owner to give to their pets.

Vaccination may be one of the most important things you can do for your outdoor cats (all outdoor pets really). Vaccination helps to prevent serious and sometimes deadly diseases, like rabies. Rabies is fatal to both animals and humans if signs are shown. It is transmitted from the bite wound of an infected host. By law, you are required to rabies vaccinate any animal indoor or outdoor that you feed. 

Another important vaccine is FVRCP+C; which stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, + 2nd strain of Calicivirus. Feline Panleukopenia (distemper) is a fatal disease in cats. Feline Viral  Rhinotracheaitis and Feline Viral Calicivirus (respiratory viruses) are diseases that cats can normally recover from within one to two weeks but will most likely have continued issuses from the virus for the rest of their lives.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is an extremely dangerous virus for cats. This virus causes cats to have a low immune system that can lead to other infections or diseases and death. FeLV is called the "friendly cat disease" because it is extremely contagious from cat to cat, it only takes a sneeze from an infected cat onto another cat to spread the virus. EVERY cat should be tested for this virus before being introduced to your current cats. Every cat that is outdoor, goes outdoor, sneaks outdoor, or has access to screened porches or windows should be vaccinated against FeLV.

Barn cats tend to share food dishes, bathroom areas, and each other for warmth and companionship, so if one cat is infected with a disease it is highly likely that all or at least the majority of them have the disease as well. Vaccination and periodic deworming will help to keep these beloved pets and your family safe.

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