Red Light, Green Light: Feline Leukemia Vaccination

ArticleJanuary 20242 min readSponsored
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Sponsored by Elanco

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a retrovirus of domestic cats that can cause a variety of clinical diseases and conditions, including neoplasia, bone marrow suppression, and other related conditions (eg, anemia, pancytopenia, secondary infections).1

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) consider FeLV vaccination to be core in kittens and cats 1 year of age and noncore for low-risk adult cats.2,3; however, vaccine protocols vary based on a pet’s level of risk, highlighting the importance of individualized risk assessment based on a patient’s lifestyle. Vaccination against FeLV may be warranted in cats that carry risk for developing FeLV infection, including cats with outdoor access, cats living with known FeLV-infected cats, and cats in contact with other cats of unknown FeLV status.2-4 Vaccination against FeLV in an FeLV-positive cat is not recommended.1-3

Vaccination provides good protection against FeLV; however, protection against FeLV is not absolute,1 and vaccination is not without risk. In one retrospective analysis, adverse events associated with FeLV vaccination occurred in 37 out of 10,000 administrations,5 and risk increased with the number of vaccines administered per office visit.5 Limiting the number of vaccines administered can be achieved by utilizing combination vaccines such as Elanco’s TruFel™ vaccine, which allows for fewer needle sticks per visit and supports a Fear Free® experience. TruFel™ vaccines come in several combinations to fit many types of vaccine protocols; for example, the TruFel™ Ultra HC2P-FeLV vaccine combines vaccination against FeLV, viral rhinotracheitis, dual strain calicivirus, and panleukopenia virus. TruFel™ Ultra vaccine combinations are designed to reduce reactions associated with unwanted protein and debris, in addition to offering a smaller vaccine volume to provide faster and easier administration to the lower limbs.


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