Leading Off: The feline vaccine guidelines are more accessible than ever

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Jul 01, 2008


Margie Scherk, DVM, DABVP (feline practice), is the immediate past president of the AAFP and an AAFP Feline Vaccine Advisory Panel member. She is also the editor of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
Over the past decade, we have seen a revolution in vaccination protocols. The first Feline Vaccination Guidelines, created in 1997 by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) advisory panel, caused an uproar. Since then, duration of immunity and frequency of vaccination have been evaluated by the Advisory Board on Cat Diseases in Europe. Other groups, including the American Animal Hospital Association, have evaluated similar parameters in dogs. We are now on the third revision of the Feline Vaccination Guidelines, and the amount of supporting data available to the advisory panel has become massive.

The most recent guidelines were published in November 2006 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. However, at 37 pages, most people will not survive reading this extensive document. Thus, the Feline Vaccine Advisory Panel has condensed the valuable information into a user-friendly table, making the guidelines more accessible to all practitioners.

The guidelines reiterate past recommendations for vaccines in adult cats and also present important new information concerning kittenhood vaccinations. Compared with adult cats, kittens are generally more susceptible to infection and typically develop more severe disease in response to infection by many of the viruses we discuss in the guidelines. New information has led to changes in protocols for panleukopenia, rabies, and feline leukemia virus vaccination for this age group.

We encourage you to download the user-friendly table from the AAFP Web site at http://www.catvets.com/professionals/guidelines/publications/?Id=176 and use it in your practice.

Margie Scherk, DVM, DABVP (feline practice), is the immediate past president of the AAFP and an AAFP Feline Vaccine Advisory Panel member. She is also the editor of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.