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risk assessment of the lifestyle of the cat. A low-risk
cat (e.g. a solitary, indoor only cat that does not visit boarding catteries) should only require triennial booster vaccination. In contrast, a high-risk cat (e.g. a cat in
an indoor-outdoor or multicat household or one that regularly visits boarding catteries) may benefit from annual FHV/FCV revaccination. Using product ranges that split-out FPV from the respiratory components, such a protocol is entirely feasible. The study supporting the licence of the 3-year FHV/FCV vaccine clearly shows protection from clinical disease (but not virus shedding) in vaccinated cats challenged after 3 years [8]. Rabies vaccination of adult cats may now be performed triennially using products with an appropriate licensed duration of immunity (DOI) of 3 years.
In most situations, MLV (‘infectious’) core vaccines are preferred over killed (‘non-infectious’) vaccines. The exceptions to this rule would be: (1) the rare requirement to vaccinate a pregnant queen, (2) vaccination of cats with known retrovirus infection, (3) vaccination of cats
in multicat households where there is no circulating respiratory virus, and (4) for rabies vaccination where 3-year DOI is required.
Non-core Vaccination
Non-core vaccines should be selected for the individual cat based on assessment of that particular animal’s
risk of exposure to the disease and assessment of the benefits of vaccination to that pet versus the risk of adverse reaction. Decision making for non-core vaccines would be facilitated by having available good quality data and disease distribution maps related to small animal infectious diseases. Unfortunately, with the exception
of rabies in the USA and Europe, such distribution
maps are not widely available. Some national schemes have been developed by industry or academic groups which allow practitioners to input cases of particular infectious diseases into a database that presents the information as disease distribution maps. Additionally, consideration must be given to the vaccine requirements of the individual animal, based on assessment of their lifestyle (e.g. indoor versus outdoor, travel and boarding frequency and location, solitary or multicat household). Vaccination is now an example of ‘individualised medicine’ and is no longer as simple as having a practice ‘vaccination protocol’.
For example, where non-core FeLV vaccination is selected for kittens, an initial dose is given at 8 weeks
of age, with a second 3-4 weeks later, followed by a 12 month booster. It is more important to vaccinate kittens against FeLV than it is adult cats, as there is development of some naturally acquired immunity in adult animals.
The VGG recommends that adult cats are revaccinated against FeLV no more frequently than every 2 or 3 years, depending on risk.
An Urban Experience
Minimize Adjuvanted Vaccines
Although it is now recognized that the feline injection site sarcoma (FISS) may be associated with a wide range of injectable or topical products it is clear that vaccines, and particularly adjuvanted FeLV, FIV and rabies vaccines, are one such risk factor in the transformation of local chronic inflammation to neoplasia. A number of strategies have been proposed to minimise the surgical consequences of any FISS that might develop in a cat. The WSAVA
has suggested vaccination into the skin of the lateral abdomen, while the AAFP continues to advise vaccination into the distal hindlimb for rabies and FeLV and the distal forelimb for other vaccines. A recent study has shown the efficacy of vaccination for FPV and rabies when vaccine
is administered into the distal tail, although there remain some concerns about this procedure [9]. Whichever anatomical site is chosen, basic principles should be to avoid the scruff of the neck, to rotate sites of injection and to record these sites in the medical record of the animal.
The Annual Health Check
All aspects of vaccination should fall under an annual
health check programme that reduces the emphasis
on vaccination as a reason for visiting the practice and considers holistically the overall health and wellbeing of
the pet. A discussion about which vaccines (or serological tests) might be offered in any one year is just one part of the annual health check. The importance of vaccination can be reinforced by using the VGG fact sheets. Vaccination
(or serology) should be appropriately invoiced so emphasis is placed on the professional consultation. The use of in- house serological testing can reliably inform the need for FPV revaccination as there is a strong correlation between seropositivity and protection [10]. Any seropositive adult cat does not require revaccination against FPV. This correlation is not as strong for FCV and FHV, as seronegative cats might still be protected by cellular or mucosal immunity.
1. Scherk MA, Ford RB, Gaskell RM et al. 2013 AAFP Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel report. J Feline Med Surg. 2013. 15: 785-808.
2. Hosie MJ, Addie D, Belak S et al. Matrix vaccination guidelines: ABCD recommendations for indoor/outdoor cats, rescue shelter cats and breeding catteries. J Feline Med Surg. 2013. 15: 540-44.
3. Day MJ, Horzinek M, Schultz RD, Squires. Guidelines for the vaccination of dogs and cats. J Small Anim Pract. 2016. 57:E1-E45.
4. Day MJ. Small animal vaccination: a practical guide for vets in the UK. In Practice. 2017. 39: 110-118.
5. Jakel V, Cussler K, Hanschmann KM et al. Vaccination against feline panleukopenia: implications from a field study in kittens. BMC Vet Res. 2012. 8: 62. 6. Mouzin DE, Lorenzen MJ, Haworth JD et al. Duration of serologic response to three viral antigens in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2004. 224: 61-6.
7. Scott FW, Geissinger CM. Long-term immunity in cats vaccinated with an inactivated trivalent vaccine. Am J Vet Res.1999. 60: 652-58.
8. Jas D, Frances-Duvert V, Vernes D et al. Three-year duration of immunity for feline herpesvirus and calicivirus evaluated in a controlled vaccination-challenge laboratory trial. Vet Microbiol. 2015. 177: 123-31.
9. Hendricks CG, Levy JK, Tucker SJ et al. Tail vaccination in cats: a pilot study. J Feline Med Surg. 2014. 16: 275-80.
10. Mende K, Stuetzer B, Truyen U et al. Evaluation of an in-house dot enzyme-
linked immunosorbent assay to detect antibodies against feline panleukopenia virus. J Feline Med Surg. 2014. 16: 805-11.

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