Kitten Care 3 :: Dental, Health Indicator Chart and Vaccination Schedule
 

This page focuses on oral health, a kitten's teeth eruption schedule, a health indicator chart, and a vaccination schedule.
 
 

TEETHING SCHEDULE
 

DECIDUOUS TEETH (PRIMARY)
(In Weeks)
Incisors
Canines
Premolars
2-4
3-4
3-8
These are usually all in by 8 weeks of age

 
 

PERMANENT TEETH (SECONDARY)
(In Months)

Incisors
Canines
Premolars
Molars
3-4.5
4-5
4-6
4-5

These are usually all in by 5 months of age.

DENTITION IMAGE
    I = Incisors
    C = Canines
    P = Premolars
    M = Molars

 

KITTEN'S ORAL HEALTH

Kittens are born edentulous (no exposed teeth). However, the nutrition they receive from the mother can affect oral development. The queen should receive a high quality growth/lactation food during nursing to ensure adequate milk production and meet ongoing needs.

Cats, like people, are dyphyodont, erupting decidious (temporary) and permanent teeth. The decidious teeth will begin to erupt at about 3 weeks of age. Eruption times for the permanent teeth are influenced by breed, environment, nutrition, hormones, and season. Most kittens can be allowed access to soft food at this age.

Full decidious dentition should be present in kittens by 6 weeks of age. The permanent tooth bud will already be formed, so it is essential to dental health that kittens receive appropriate nutrition during the early weeks of development. This is also the ideal time to train a kitten to accept oral hygiene. Handling the mouth, introducing a brushing device, and gently applying oral hygiene products should be part of kitten socialization. By about 7 months of age, the permanent teeth are fully present.

NOTE: Like humans, your kitten may experience discomfort and pain while she is in her early teething stages. You may find her chewing on undesireable objects and oftentimes, she may use you as a chewing toy. Be pateint with her during these stages, and provide her with soft, rubber chew toys, provide a high quality kitten food, and start early on with regular vet check-ups to ensure good oral health.

If you should ever notice your kitten having an extremely difficult time eating, or that she doesn't eat, or that pain seems to overwhelm her, please have her checked with your vet immediately.

Sometimes, teeth can grow in a way that promotes overcrowding, an overbite or other oral problems that make it difficult on your kitten. Getting an early start on her oral care and working with your vet can ensure optimum future oral health.
 
 

INDICATORS OF GOOD AND POOR NUTRITIONAL STATUS
 

Body Area/System Good Nutrition Poor Nutrition
Appearance Alert, responsive to environment Listless, apathetic, cachexia
Coat Shiny Dull, hair easily lost, greasy, scales
Oral Cavity Pink mucous membranes, no swelling or bleeding, no gum disease Pale mucous membranes, red mucous membranes, gums that bleed easily, exposed toothroots, loss of teeth
Eyes Clear, pink membranes, no discharges, no prominent blood vessels Pale membranes, dry eyes, discharges, red membranes, prominent blood vessels
Ears Clean, no discharge Discharges, excessive scratching, mites, dirty, wax buildup
Abdomen Concave Swollen, pot-bellied appearance, hard to the touch, doughy, crackly
Muscles Firm Flaccid, sore, wasting
Skeleton No abnormalities Conformation problems, early arthritic changes, lameness, fractures or breaks
Gastrointestinal Function Normal appetite, normal stools Anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, worms/parasites
Attitude and Behavior Bright, alert, responsive, playful, active Listless, depressed, lethargic, sickly, noticeable weight loss or gain

NOTE: Using this guide can help you keep a daily monitor of your kitten (and adult cat). Should you notice any visible or drastic changes in any of the above, please contact your vet immediately. Other medical conditions that cause these changes should be ruled out first. Remember, at the first sign of illness or problems, seek veterinary attention immediately.
 
 

VACCINATION SCHEDULE FOR KITTENS
 

Disease Age At 1st Vaccination
(weeks)
Age At 2nd Vaccination
(weeks)
Revaccination Intervals
(months)
Calicivirus Infection 8 - 10 12 - 16 1 annual, then every 3 years
Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) 16* 19 - 20 * 12*
Feline Leukemia Virus
(FELV)**
8 - 10 11 - 14 12**
Feline Panleukopenia
(Distemper)
8 - 10 12 - 16 1 annual, then every 3 years
Pneumonitis
(Chlamydiosis)***
8 - 10 12 - 16 12***
Rabies 12 52 12 or 36
Viral Rhinotracheitis
(Herpes)
8 - 10 12 - 16 1 annual, then every 3 years
Feline Bordetella
Bronchiseptica (FeBb)
4 - 8 * - - - * - - - *
Dermatophytosis
(Ringworm)
Insufficient data Insufficient data Insufficient data
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) Insufficient data Insufficient data Insufficient data

In the case of FIP and Bordetella and Ringworm, these non-core vaccinations are usually only given to kittens and cats in multi-cat environments, catteries, or those environments where exposure and risk are known or suspected. Revaccination intervals, where warranted, will be determined by your veterinarian.

** FELV is considered a non-core vaccination, however some panel members of the AAFP suggest FELV as a core vaccination consideration for high risk cats. High risks may include mutli-cat environments, outdoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, ferals and strays, households with an FELV infected cat, or known or suspected exposure. All new kittens and new adult cats with unknown vaccination history should be tested for FELV/FIV and vaccinated accordingly.

***CORE vaccinations include Panleukopenia, FVR (rhinotracheitis), Calicivirus, Rabies. See above for FELV reference. NON-CORE vaccines include FIP, FIV, Chlamydia, Bordetella, Giardia and Ringworm. The non-core vaccinations are generally not recommended, unless exposed cats are at high risk or for those cats in catteries, new kittens or adults with known or suspected exposure. Currently, there is a new vaccine for FIV, but it's efficacy is unknown and further research is needed to evaluate risks of vaccination and efficacy. See the AAFP site for statements.

NOTE: There is no one vaccination program for all animals; a program must be tailored to fit the needs of each individual patient. Your vet may have a vaccination protocol that may vary with other vets. Please discuss at length his protocols, and make your decisions based on your particular kitty's needs, her environment, and her health status.

Please remember that with any vaccination, risks are possible, but without vaccinations, the risks of serious and fatal infectious disease are an evident potential. Please discuss your questions and concerns with your vet so that you can make the best decisions for your kitten and adult cat. Also remember, anything you find on the internet should never be considered an alternative to your vet's recommendations or that of a professional in veterinary medicine. If you hear that some or all vaccinations are not necessary, take it upon yourself to be responsible to speak with your vet in greater detail about the risks and the benefits of vaccines and protocols.

-----------------------------------

For more information on the latest recommendations for feline vaccinations and vaccines, please visit the following:

American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP)
(You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files)

Sylvia's Journey of New Hope

For a complete guideline outlining vaccines, types, disease factors, risk assessment, vaccine intervals, etc, please see the VIN Protocol Page

Also see our Feline Health Glossary 3 for more information on vaccine protocols


 
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