Vaccination strategies

For kittens, primary course vaccination for calicivirus and herpesvirus is indicated from 9 weeks of age. This is timed to coincide with the decline in antibodies received from the mother's first milk (the so-called maternally-derived antibodies), which might otherwise interfere with vaccination. Two doses are given three to four weeks apart, and to maintain maximum protection annual boosters are recommended.

A vaccine for Bordetella bronchiseptica may also be used, and is particularly suited for young kittens at risk. The vaccine is administered as drops in the nose. Because maternally-derived antibodies interfere less with the effectiveness of nasal vaccination, the vaccine may be administered earlier, from 4 weeks, and its safety has been shown in this age group. Four weeks of age is actually the most appropriate timing for administration to kittens in an at-risk breeding environment, since it falls prior to the time of highest risk of disease.

Annual re-vaccination against Bordetella is advised when adult cats are considered at risk; this would include those remaining within or visiting a multi cat environment including breeding, boarding and rescue catteries, cats visiting shows, as well as individuals that live with dogs. The risk of Bordetella disease in cats kept alone, or in groups of three or less, is low and revaccination of these individuals would not be advised unless exposed to the above risks.