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October 15, 2020

AAHA, AAFP release new feline vaccination guidelines

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New guidelines on feline vaccination stress understanding by veterinary professionals of individualized feline risk factors such as life stage, environment, and lifestyle to determine a proper preventive health care plan for each cat.

On Sept. 1, the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners released the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines as an update to the 2013 AAFP Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel Report.

Dr. Amy E.S. Stone, chair of the task force that prepared the guidelines and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, said the new guidelines keep the concept of core and noncore vaccines but “further define feline patient populations to determine their specific risk for disease exposure. It is no longer just indoor cats versus outdoor cats.”

Feline vaccination

She continued: “The new guidelines provide new information on the timing of feline vaccines for the best protection of cats from preventable infectious diseases. These help practitioners determine the best individualized infectious disease prevention strategy for their feline patients from the most current evidence available.”

Dr. Stone said the guidelines add information about how to time vaccines to overcome the challenges of high maternal antibodies in kittens; a table on possible uses of in-clinic serologic testing to diagnose diseases and, in certain cases, to determine when to vaccinate; and an update exploring the evidence regarding feline injection-site sarcomas.

Online resources include a lifestyle-based vaccine calculator. Dr. Stone said the calculator is a great conversation starter for veterinarians and pet owners. The calculator allows veterinary teams to enter the vaccination routes and types they use in practice. The online resources also include FAQs and tips for client and staff education.

The 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines were published in the September/October issue of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.