Why hasn’t vaccination brought cat ‘flu under control?

Although the vast majority of cat breeders and cattery owners recognise the importance of vaccination's role in preventative health care, it is a fact that a significant proportion of cats in the UK are unvaccinated. This is clearly a major reason for the continued incidence of feline respiratory disease..

Where feline calicivirus or herpesvirus is present in a breeding environment, young kittens can easily become infected before vaccination has a chance to be effective. In this situation it is possible to see disease in young kittens despite a comprehensive vaccination policy.

A further reason relates specifically to feline calicivirus infections. The nature of this virus is that it changes form readily. Unfortunately, it is generally recognized that none of the existing vaccines will protect against all calicivirus strains.

Finally, the unique conditions in catteries and breeding colonies may make them ideal situations for the spread of cat ‘flu, both within the population and from the outside. The role of Bordetella in this phenomenon has only recently been understood. Bordetella may be of particular importance in multi-cat environments; where kittens are bred or introduced it can pose a major threat.