Cat vaccine shortage update | Village Vets
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Press release                               

A nationwide shortage of cat vaccines could have implications for feline health in Ireland, but veterinary practices are doing everything they can to mitigate concerns. 


Supply chain bottlenecks, caused by factories being repurposed to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines, are having serious effects on the industry, with production companies running out of surplus supplies, leaving many veterinary clinics with no stock at all. 


Cats should receive annual boosters to protect against cat ‘flu and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV), and with kitten season around the corner in February, existing supplies will have to be carefully managed to help support as many vulnerable cats as possible.


“Our aim is to keep cats healthy and protected to the best of our ability, and this might mean adjusting some cats’ vaccination protocol in order to protect them and to consider more vulnerable individuals,” said Dr Hannah Tymlin, veterinary surgeon at Just Cats Veterinary Clinic, a cats-only practice in Dublin.

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“We may reduce the frequency of FeLV vaccination in adult cats, and we might reduce the frequency of vaccination against cat 'flu for indoor-only cats. 


“Any adjustments will be made based on the risks faced by individual cats, and they will be discussed and planned with owners during health checks.” 


Cat 'flu is a serious annual issue, caused by a complex of viruses and bacteria that create serious respiratory disease and sometimes death, especially for kittens. 


FeLV is inevitably fatal in unvaccinated cats, and is present in Ireland.


Kitten season usually begins in February, and it is important that kittens are vaccinated against ‘flu and FeLV from nine weeks of age, with annual boosters thereafter. Without boosters, immunity will fade and cats will become susceptible to the diseases, as well as carriers to other cats.


It currently looks as though the vaccine shortage will last for another six months, but due to the worldwide, complex nature of the issue it is hard to predict. 


In the meantime, veterinary practices such as Just Cats & Village Vets will be doing everything they can to protect the health of our cats.