Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Therapeutics: immunological preparation

Contributor(s): Linda Horspool, Claire Targett, Lauren Trepanier


  • Intended for the active immunization of healthy cats.
  • Successful vaccination depends on correct storage and administration of the vaccine and the animal's ability to respond.
  • Immunocompetence compromised by a variety of factors including poor health, nutritional status, genetic factors, concurrent drug therapy and stress. Ability to respond to vaccination is also influenced by age, maturity, presence of maternally derived antibodies, concurrent infection and environmental infection pressure.
  • In most cases an initial course of 2 injections with an interval of 3-4 weeks is required   Vaccination protocols   Feline vaccination  .

Vaccines available to actively immunize cats against:

  • Chlamydophila felis   Chlamydia disease  : to reduce severity of clinical signs of infection vaccinate from 8-9 weeks; last dose in primary course from 12 weeks.
  • Feline panleucopenia  Feline panleucopenia virus disease  : vaccinate from 8-9 weeks; last dose in primary course from 12 weeks.
  • Feline calicivirus  Feline calicivirus disease and feline herpes virus  Feline herpesvirus disease  : vaccinate from 8-9 weeks old; last dose in primary course from 12 weeks.
  • Feline leukemia virus  Feline leukemia virus disease  : (inactivated whole virus or gp 70 and FOCMA antigens or live, recombinant canarypox virus), vaccinate from 9 weeks; last dose in primary course from 12 weeks.
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica  Bordetella bronchiseptica infection  : vaccinate from 4 weeks (single intranasal vaccination) to reduce clinical signs of Bordetella bronchiseptica-associated upper respiratory tract disease.
  • Rabies  Rabies  : for the active immunization against rabies to reduce clinical signs and mortality. Single dose in animals older than 12 weeks. An adequate serological response (> 0.5 IU) can be measured 2-4 weeks after vaccination, depending on the product. Revaccination every 2-3 years, depending on the product used.
  • Animals for export must meet the requirements of the European Regulation on the animal health requirements for the non-commercial movement of pet animals (EC Regulation No. 998/2003). Details of the requirements can be found on the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural affairs website (  http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/quarantine/pets/regulation/eu_reg.htm ).
  • Tetanus  Tetanus  : active immunization is rarely indicated in small animals but can be administered when infection with Clostridium tetaniis expected; cats are particularly resistant to disease.
    Do not use live vaccines in pregnant animals.
  • Feline injection site-associated sarcoma(FISAS)   Feline injection-site associated sarcoma   is a serious problem in cats. No specific brands of vaccine or factors associated with vaccine administration have been significantly associated with FISAS.
  • Control and evaluation measures as recommended by the US-based taskforce include determination of risk groups, extending re-vaccination intervals, the use of single component products and the use of consistent, predetermined sites for vaccination.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Kirpensteijn J (2006) Feline injection site-associated sarcoma: Is it a reason to critically evaluate our vaccination policies? Vet Microbiol 117 (1), 59-65 PubMed.
  • Schultz R D (2006) Duration of immunity for canine and feline vaccines: a review. Vet Microbiol 117 (1), 75-79 PubMed.
  • Gaskell R M, Gettinby G, Graham S J et al (2002) Veterinary Products Committee working group report on feline and canine vaccination. Vet Rec 150 (5), 126-134 PubMed.
  • Miller E (1997) Immunosuppression--an overview. Semin Vet Med Surg (Small Anim) 12 (3), 144-149 PubMed.
  • Miller E (1997) The use of cytotoxic agents in the treatment of immune-mediated diseases of dogs and cats. Semin Vet Med Surg (Small Anim) 12 (3), 157-160 PubMed.
  • Beale K M, Altman D, Clemmons R et al (1992) Systemic toxicosis associated with azathioprine administration in domestic cats. Am J Vet Res 53 (7), 1236-1240 PubMed.

Other sources of information