Vaccination Protocol for Cats

Vaccination Protocol for CatsAs with dogs, there are a number of available vaccines and specific risk circumstances for preventative medicine in cats. Also, there are core vaccines recommended for all cats and non-core vaccines recommended for cats with specific exposure risks. Your veterinarian should be consulted annually to assist with specific recommendations for vaccinations as the risk factors may change over your cats life and experiences. Vaccinations for cats should be restricted to those required to prevent fatal or non-treatable disease as there is significant risk for vaccine associated sarcomas to develop at vaccination sites.

Kittens should receive a series of three to four core vaccines (feline parvovirus (panleukopenia), feline herpesvirus-1 and feline calicivirus), three to four weeks apart, beginning as early as 6 weeks of age and completed at 16 weeks of age. Kittens should also receive a core rabies vaccination at not less than 12 weeks of age. All of these vaccinations should then be boosted at one year of age. After this initial protocol, vaccinations for adult cats should be administered only every three years (as long as the 3-year rabies vaccination is used).

Although feline leukemia virus vaccine is considered a non-core vaccine reserved for cats exposed to the disease, FeLV vaccination is recommended for all kittens, beginning after 8 weeks of age with one booster three to four weeks later. Kittens should be tested for FeLV prior to vaccination and only negative animals vaccinated. Other noon-core vaccinations (FIV, Chlamydophila felis and Bordatella bronchiseptica) should only be used for cats with specific risk of exposure. Generally, all of these non-core vaccines require annual boosters. If you have questions about appropriate vaccinations for your location and situation, contact your veterinarian.
[based on 2006 AAFP Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel Report published in JAVMA 229:9 Nov 2006]

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