Risk assessment variables when determining an individualized vaccination plan from the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines .
The decision to vaccinate, even with core vaccines, should be based on a risk-benefit assessment for each cat and for each vaccine antigen. Benefits of vaccination should be balanced against the risk of adverse events, likelihood of exposure, and disease severity. Every effort should be made to ensure that cats are healthy before vaccination. However, concurrent illness (including retroviral infections) does not necessarily preclude vaccination.
2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines resources related to the guidelines for veterinary teams.
FAQs from the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines .
References for the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines .
The Task Force believes that there is currently insufficient research to justify recommending a single vaccine type. Since injection site sarcomas are a risk, the Task Force recommends vaccination in the lower distal limbs to facilitate clean margins if surgical amputation is required.
For the purpose of creating specific, individualized vaccination recommendations based on risk of exposure, the Task Force has identified and defined the following feline populations based on their environment and lifestyle. The guidelines begin by discussing pet cats and then discuss a number of feline populations that are considered to be at relatively high risk of infectious disease exposure—namely, shelter cats, trap-neuterreturn/ trap-neuter-release cats, cattery cats, and foster cats.
Vaccines, including those from different manufacturers that are licensed to protect against the same pathogen, should not be assumed as equivalent. Differences in processes and technology used to produce vaccines, as well as additives such as adjuvants, and vaccine route of administration influence efficacy, safety, and duration of immunity. Vaccines may be inactivated, attenuated live, or recombinant.
Active immunization, achieved through proper vaccination, plays a critical role in the control of infectious diseases, both for individual cats and for the cat population as a whole. Some vaccines also reduce the potential for spread of zoonotic infections to humans (e.g., rabies). The benefits of routine, widespread vaccination are clear: the incidence of serious disease caused by pathogenic organisms, such as feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), can be reduced dramatically when widespread vaccination is practiced. However, the quality of vaccine-induced immunity is influenced by the patient’s environment, the characteristics of the vaccine, the pathogen, and the patient’s immune competence. Accurate prediction of the outcome of vaccination or the likelihood of exposure to a pathogen is impossible. Therefore, it is important that veterinarians inform cat owners that vaccination is not a guarantee of protection.
Core vaccines are for all cats with an unknown vaccination history. The targeted diseases cause significant morbidity and mortality and are widely distributed. In general, vaccination for core diseases results in good protection.