Kittens need the proper care to get them off to a good start.

We recommend testing all new cats and kittens for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Similar to HIV in people, these viruses suppress the immune system, resulting in opportunistic infections. Infected felines fail to thrive, lose weight, and commonly die prematurely. There is no cure for infected cats. Cats often do not show any symptoms in the early stages of kitteninfection. A simple blood test is available that yields a quick answer while you wait.

The doctor will also discuss:


Vaccinations are typically started at 7-8 weeks of age. Boosters are necessary at three- to four-week intervals until at least 15-16 weeks of age. We use tiny needles to minimize discomfort. Proper vaccinations are critical to prevent life-threatening infectious disease. All of the feline vaccines we use are adjuvant-free, which are the safest available. Common vaccinations include:

FVRCP: Often referred to as "Distemper vaccine" for simplicity. Includes Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Herpes), Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper). Once kitten series is completed, boosters are required at one year of age, then every three years.

Rabies: Rabies vaccination is required by Indiana law. Kittens should be vaccinated at 12-16 weeks of age and
then boostered at one year of age. Annual boosters are required.

Leukemia (FeLV): Recommended only for those cats who go outdoors unsupervised or who live with an FeLV-positive cat in the same household. Two-shot series required the first year, then annual boosters required.

Vaccinations are available for various other feline diseases, although we do not recommend their routine use. Please speak with the doctor about vaccination protocols.

At Westside, we follow the most up-to-date recommendations from veterinary experts regarding vaccinations. The doctor will discuss the diseases for which your pet may be at risk and will customize an appropriate vaccination schedule for your pet. We follow the current recommendation of giving the Distemper vaccine (DHPP for canines and FVRCP for felines) every 3 years once the puppy/kitten series is completed and after a 1-year booster is given.

Heartworm Disease and Prevention:

Heartworm Disease is a serious parasite spread to both dogs and cats by the mosquito. While infection can be fatal, heartworm is easily prevented by giving monthly preventative medication. Preventative should be given from May to December and can be started in kittens as young as 6-8 weeks of age. There is no treatment for cats who do get the disease, so prevention is important! A recent study found that 1/3 of heartworm-positive cats were housed exclusively indoors. Two choices are available:

Heartgard for Cats: Flavored tablet given once monthly. Prevents heartworm and kills intestinal hookworms.

Revolution: Topical liquid applied to the back of the neck once monthly. Prevents heartworm and kills adult fleas and their eggs. Also kills ear mites and intestinal roundworm and hookworm.