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An Urban Experience
M. Day1
1WSAVA, Vaccination Guidelines Group, Cheddar, United Kingdom
Chairman, WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group
Global FELINE Vaccination Guidelines
Guidelines for feline vaccination are produced by the American Association of Feline Practitioners [1], the European Advisory Board on Cat Diseases [2] and the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) [3, 4]. The fundamental principle of these guidelines, as encapsulated by the VGG, is that ‘We should aim to vaccinate every animal with core vaccines. Non-core vaccines should be given no more frequently than is deemed necessary.’
The WSAVA guidelines suggest that we should aim to vaccinate MORE animals. This relates to the phenomenon of ‘herd immunity’. Herd immunity suggests that where
a minimum percentage (for example 75%) of a herd
of animals is vaccinated, it is difficult for an infectious disease outbreak to occur. The ‘herd’ for a small animal practitioner is the population of cats living within his or her practice area – and our aim should be to have as many of these animals vaccinated as possible, in order to reduce the chances of disease outbreak in the herd.
In order to apply the principles of vaccination guidelines, it is firstly necessary to understand the definitions
of ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ vaccines. CORE vaccines
are those that all animals should receive to protect
them against diseases of global significance or where legislation may dictate [i.e. canine rabies]. The use
of NON-CORE vaccines is dictated by geographical location, lifestyle and exposure risk. Some vaccines are NOT RECOMMENDED because there is little scientific justification for their use.
Core vaccines for the cat are those that protect against feline parvovirus (FPV), feline calicivirus (FCV) and feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV). In rabies-endemic countries, rabies vaccination is also considered core for cats, even if not dictated by legislation. Non-core vaccines are those for which use is dictated by geographical location, lifestyle and exposure risk. Non-core vaccines for the cat are those
that protect against feline leukaemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), Chlamydia felis and Bordetella bronchiseptica. Vaccines against feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) are currently not recommended for use.
WSAVA guidelines provide generic advice to practitioners, but it is impossible to ensure that the guidelines are tailored to best fit the local situation in each of the 86 WSAVA member countries. The VGG encourages national associations to adapt and modify the guidelines for local use where appropriate. This process might involve altering the classification of a vaccine. For example, in the UK, FeLV vaccine is often considered core for the cat and administered routinely to kittens.
Core Vaccination of Kittens
Core vaccination of kittens (FPV, FCV, FHV) begins at
8-9 weeks of age, with a second vaccine given 3-4 weeks later and a third vaccine given at16 weeks of
age or older. The 26 or 52 month fourth vaccine is also an integral part of the kitten programme. Increasing evidence suggests that maternally-derived antibody (MDA) may persist for up to 20 weeks in some kittens [5], which underpins the current advice that the third kitten vaccine be given at 16 weeks of age or older. Where rabies is endemic, kittens should receive 1 dose of vaccine at 12 weeks of age, but the VGG suggests that in a high-risk situation (i.e. in an endemic area with recognized clinical cases), a second dose of vaccine may be given 2-4 weeks later.
Core Vaccination of Adult Cats
Most FPV vaccines now carry a licensed duration of immunity (DOI) of 3 years; however, most vaccines against FCV, FHV and non-core products all have a 1-year DOI. A product with licensed 3-year DOI also against FCV and FHV has recently become available. Rabies vaccines (including one non-adjuvanted product) also have a 3-year DOI in many countries. Selecting products with extended DOI allows reduced frequency of administration of that component in a fashion consistent with the legal ‘summary of product characteristics’ (SPC). Guidelines may still advise triennial revaccination with products carrying a 1-year licensed DOI. For the cat, there are field serological data that show persistent seropositivity for 4 or more years post core MLV vaccination [6] and one experimental challenge study that shows immunity for a minimum period of 7.5 years following vaccination of kittens with killed adjuvanted trivalent vaccine [7].
WSAVA guidelines therefore recommend that adult cats receive MLV core FPV vaccine no more frequently than every 3 years. The frequency of administration of MLV core FHV and FCV vaccines depends on individual

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