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What Vaccines Do Bengal Kittens Need?

When bringing home a new kitten of any breed, you will want to make sure they receive all the proper vaccinations to keep them healthy. Bengal kittens are no different, and it’s important as a new owner to find out what vaccines Bengal kittens need before you bring yours home.

Bengal kittens need the same basic vaccines as any other kitten, including rabies, FVRCP, and FeLV. These vaccinations are all recommended by veterinarians and any reputable breeder will have already given them their first dose before putting the kitten up for adoption.

This article will further explore these essential vaccines, as well as some not so necessary vaccinations that could potentially cause more harm than good. Additionally, we will discuss how often vaccines should be given and the potential dangers of not vaccinating your kitten.  

What Vaccines Do Bengal Kittens Need?

Before we jump into the different vaccines Bengal kittens need, it’s also important to understand the basics of what vaccines are and how they interact with your Bengal’s immune system. Much like young human children, certain vaccinations early in life will prevent them from contracting some seriously harmful illnesses.

When a vaccine is injected into the body, in most cases, a small amount of the virus that the vaccine is meant to prevent is introduced. This small amount of a virus is altered so that it will not infect the body, but it will allow your Bengal’s immune system to produce antibodies to build resistance to that virus.

Initial Immunity

Initially, prior to their first vaccines, Bengal kittens will begin building their immunity through their mother’s milk. Just like with human babies, a mother’s milk will introduce the first line of defense into their young’s immune systems. This includes passing on essential nutrients and vitamins to build strong healthy bodies.

FVCRP

Bengals will usually nurse for the first 6-8 weeks of their lives, and at the same time they will receive their first dose of the FVRCP vaccine. This vaccine is what is known as a combination vaccine and helps build anti bodies against multiple diseases. FVRCP is meant to protect against Panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, and calici virus.

Another booster of the FVRCP vaccine will be given every 3-4 weeks until your Bengal reaches four months old. After they reach four months of age this vaccine will only have to be given annually. In many states you can personally buy this vaccine and administer it subcutaneously (under the skin). It is suggested to have your vet to teach you how to do it properly before attempting it yourself.

Rabies

A rabies vaccine is another shot your Bengal will receive and is mandatory under law in the United States as well as several other countries. Kittens can receive a rabies vaccination as young as three months old. Most breeders will usually administer a one-year rabies vaccine, and after that you can opt to get a three-year vaccine administered by your vet.

FeLV

While it is not mandatory, administering a FeLV vaccine against Feline Leukemia is still strongly suggested, especially if you plan on taking your Bengal for walks or letting them outside in a catio. If your Bengal came from a shelter with little to no background, it is also recommended that they are vaccinated from FeLV.

Feline Leukemia is generally contracted when another cat who has it or is a carrier inflicts a puncture wound to another uninfected cat. In the event your Bengal escapes your house and gets into a fight with another stray who is FeLV positive, the vaccine can significantly increase your Bengal’s chances of resisting the virus.

Most breeders will test their Bengals kittens for Feline Leukemia because mothers can pass it onto their kittens and it’s a way to ensure their health before adopting them out. However, they more than likely will not vaccinate them against the virus and you will probably have to request it from your vet.

Vaccination Schedules For Bengal Kittens

For Bengal kittens, their vaccination schedule will be a bit more frequent compared to their adult life. More frequent boosters of vaccines in the first 4-5 months of your Bengal kitten’s life help ensure that they develop a strong resistance to diseases.

As discussed in the previous section, the FVRCP vaccine is given several times after your kitten reaches about six weeks of age. Altogether your kitten will receive roughly 3-4 doses of the vaccine in their first year of life. After one year, you will only need to administer the vaccine once per year.

Doing It Yourself

If you are confident in your ability to administer the vaccine yourself it is available in most states at your local pet store. The vaccine must remain chilled and should be purchased and brought home as soon as possible and stored in the refrigerator until ready for use.

Once ready to administer, follow the instructions listed on the vaccine. You will basically be filling a syringe with a solution that is then mixed with the powdered form of the vaccine. Once mixed, you will fill the syringe and administer subcutaneously, which just means under the skin. To properly learn this technique, talk with your vet.

If you are uncomfortable with administering the vaccine yourself you can still schedule a regular vet visit and have it administered there. This is a matter of choice and whether or not you’re comfortable doing it yourself. For some, the vet’s office is more convenient, and they don’t have to be the “bad guy” sticking their Bengal with the needle!

The Rabies Vaccine

Rabies vaccines are administered once your Bengal kitten is at least three months old, but unlike other vaccines it is only administered once in your kitten’s first year. Today the rabies vaccine comes in two varieties: a one-year and three-year vaccine. Most will opt to get the three year for convenience, but most shelters and breeders will opt for the one-year option to save money.

If you choose to get the FeLV vaccine for your Bengal, which is recommended, you should expect to revaccinate annually to maintain their resistance. Unlike the FVRCP vaccine you cannot administer it yourself as it is intermuscular, and only a trained vet or technician can administer it.   

Rabies In Bengal Kittens

The rabies vaccine is mandatory by law in the United States and several other countries, and neglecting to do so can not only put your Bengal at risk from the virus, but it can also get you in trouble with the law. If you are caught having an unvaccinated animal and they scratch or bite someone, under law your Bengal can be taken away and possibly euthanized.

This isn’t meant to scare you, as it is rare that this would happen to your Bengal. However, you should want to protect your Bengal from the possibility of contracting the virus. In many states you can find resources for free vaccinations if you ever feel your budget cannot cover your Bengal’s annual or three-year booster.

How Rabies Is Transmitted

The virus itself is contracted through the saliva of another infected animal, usually resulting from a bite or scratch. While a bite is more likely to transmit the virus, animal’s claws will generally have traces of saliva and can be as equally dangerous. Once infected with the virus, your Bengal’s survival rate is ultimately zero. This is why it is so important to make sure they are vaccinated.

Even if you keep your Bengal indoors, they could still be at risk if they are not vaccinated. The law aside, there is always the possibility of wildlife breaking into your home, such as squirrels or racoons. Even more common would be mice or rats which can also carry the virus.

Your Bengal could also give you the slip and dart out an open door or window. Accidents do happen, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. If they do manage to escape, the vaccine will prevent them from getting the virus from a wild animal or other stray cat.  

Vaccines Bengal Kittens Don’t Need

Chlamydia

Vaccines against Chlamydia, while available for kittens and adults, are not highly recommended as they can cause more harm than good. Most often this vaccine is only recommended on a case-by-case basis, and can be based on environment and risks of contraction.

FIP 

The FIP vaccine is also rarely recommended if at all. This vaccine is meant for Feline Infectious Peritonitis, which is a fatal disease if contracted. However, there is no real evidence to prove that this vaccine is effective against the disease. In most cases, if a veterinarian recommends this vaccine, it is because your kitten is at high risk, which is uncommon in itself.

Other Vaccinations

Other vaccinations that exist but are not recommended include ring worm, yellow fever, giardia, and Bordetella.These are generally not recommended because they prove to either be ineffective or have adverse side effects. With that said, of those diseases listed there are other treatments if your cat becomes infected.

The best advice is to trust your veterinarian, as they will know what vaccinations your Bengal will most need and which ones they don’t need. Before purchasing or adopting a Bengal, be sure to ask your vet which vaccination your breeder or shelter should have administered.

Any reputable breeder will have given at least the first round of vaccinations for your Bengal kitten. Most shelters will also provide first vaccinations as well as testing for FeLV before sending them home. It is always recommended to get a full medical record and health guarantee to ensure that your Bengal is healthy.   

Final Thoughts

Bengals kittens need the rabies, FVRCP and FeLV vaccines. Some, like the rabies vaccine, are legally required, while others are just advised for the health of your kitten. Most breeders will administer the kitten’s first dose before putting them up for adoption, but you need to keep them up to date.