FeLV vaccines are recommended for all cats at risk of exposure to the virus, such as cats permitted outdoors, cats residing in multiple-cat environments in which incoming cats are not tested prior to entry, cats living with FeLV-infected cats, and cats residing with cats in which FeLV infection status is not known. However, vaccination of ALL kittens is highly recommended because they may subsequently be at risk of FeLV exposure even if not currently at risk. Kittens are also more likely than adult cats to become persistently viremic if exposed. Vaccination is generally not recommended for shelter cats.
The following FeLV vaccine protocols have been approved by the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Canary pox virus – vectored recombinant (rFeLV); nonadjuvanted, transdermal
virus – adjuvanted, injectable
Because protection is not induced in all vaccinates, vaccination against FeLV does not diminish the importance of testing cats to identify and isolate those that are viremic. Therefore, the FeLV infection status of all cats should be determined. In addition, cats should be tested for FeLV infection before initial vaccination and when there is a possibility that they have been exposed to FeLV since they were vaccinated. There is no value in administering FeLV vaccines to individuals confirmed to be infected. Adverse events associated with vaccination include local swelling or pain, transient lethargy or fever, and granuloma formation.
AAFP, 2006; AVMA, 2004