In general, guidelines for vaccination of cats have been strongly influenced by the appearance of vaccine-associated sarcomas in cats. Thus, there is clear evidence for minimizing the frequency of vaccination in cats. The recommendations below have been made in light of the AVMA/AAHA/AAFP/VCS task force recommendations on vaccine-associated sarcomas in cats. Risk factors for sarcomas should be discussed with cat owners at the time of examination. If a cat develops a palpable granuloma at the site of previous vaccination, the benefits vs risks of future vaccinations should be carefully considered. All vaccine-associated sarcomas should be reported to the vaccine manufacturer.
Feline Core Vaccines
The definitions of core and non-core vaccines described in the canine vaccination guidelines above also apply to the feline vaccines. The core feline vaccines are those for feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1), feline calicivirus (FCV), feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV – kittens and outdoor cats) and rabies.
Feline Herpesvirus 1, Feline Calicivirus and Feline Panleukopenia Virus Vaccines
For initial kitten vaccination (< 16 weeks), one dose of parenteral vaccine containing a killed or modified live virus (MLV) FHV1, FCV, and FPV is recommended every 3-4 weeks from 6-8 weeks of age, with the final booster being given no sooner than 16 weeks of age. For cats older than 16 weeks of age, two doses of vaccine containing killed or modified live virus (MLV) FHV1, FCV, and FPV given 3-4 weeks apart are recommended. After a booster at 6 months to one year, revaccination is suggested every 3 years thereafter for cats at low risk of exposure. It is recommended that these vaccines be administered on the right thoracic limb as distally as possible.
Feline Rabies Virus Vaccines
Cats are important in the epidemiology of rabies in the US. In general we recommend that kittens receive a single dose of killed rabies vaccine at 12-16 weeks of age. Adult cats with unknown vaccination history should also receive a single dose of killed rabies vaccine. For the killed rabies vaccines, a booster is required at one year, and thereafter, rabies vaccination should be performed every 3 years using a vaccine approved for 3-year administration. According to recommendations of the vaccine-associated sarcoma task force, rabies vaccines are administered subcutaneously as distally as possible in the right rear limb.
Feline Leukemia Virus Vaccine
A number of FeLV vaccines are available on the market. The whole inactivated viral vaccines have recently been shown to be highly efficacious based on the results of molecular detection methods for FeLV, even producing sterilizing immunity, although this was not found to be the case for an inactivated mixed subunit vaccine (Torres et al, 2009). We recommend vaccination of all FeLV-negative kittens and any FeLV-negative adult cats allowed to go outdoors or cats having direct contact with other cats of unknown FeLV status. Vaccination is most likely to be useful in kittens and young adult cats, because acquired resistance to infection develops beyond 16 weeks of age. Vaccination is not recommended for FeLV-positive cats and indoor cats with no likelihood of exposure to FeLV. Initially, two doses of FeLV vaccine are given at 2-4 week intervals, after which an annual booster or all cats and thereafter annually for outdoor cats. According to recommendations of the vaccine-associated sarcoma task force, parenteral FeLV vaccines are administered subcutaneously as distally as possible in the left rear limb.
Feline Non-Core Vaccines
Optional or non-core vaccines for cats consist of the vaccines for feline immunodeficiency virus, Chlamydia felis, and Bordetella bronchiseptica and are generally not recommended at this practice.
all of the FIV subtypes and strains to which cats might be exposed. The UC Davis VMTH drug room did not stock this vaccine, and its routine use in indoor cats is not recommended.
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