AAFP Vaccination Guidelines
As with everything in medicine, there are new discoveries that occur as the result of ongoing research. One of the newest changes in veterinary medicine revolves around cat vaccination guidelines. The American Association of Feline Practitioners ( AAFP) is conducting ongoing research looking at the duration of immunity (how long the vaccinations protects against disease) of the most common cat vaccines. They are also looking at the most important vaccinations and risk factors for cats. It is through these efforts that the AAFP has recently announced new vaccine guidelines.
These new guidelines are designed to best protect your cat against various diseases, while at the same time giving them the fewest amount of vaccinations as possible.
To begin with, the AAFP has identified three groups of cats and designed vaccine protocols for each group. These groups are low risk, medium risk and high risk. There are not exact black and white lines to identify these groups, which makes a thorough history during the annual physical examination all the more important. Here is a general description of each group:
• HIGH RISK: This group includes any cat that spends extended time outside. These cats can be exposed to other cats in the area, making them prone to various diseases. They also tend to fight more often, which makes them vulnerable to additional diseases, such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.
• MEDIUM RISK: This is probably the hardest area to identify and classify cats. These are cats that have a moderate risk of exposure. They include multiple cat households, cats that are outside for short periods of time with their owners supervising them and cats that have access to screen doors and screened in porches/ windows. These cats are not likely to get into fights, but can come into contact with stray cats through the screens. Cats that often board during family vacations are also in this category.
• LOW RISK: These cats are the ones that have extremely limited access to other cats. They are at a very low risk for contracting diseases. The easiest example is a spayed or neutered cat that has been declawed on all four paws and lives in a single cat household within an apartment building.
The AAFP still feels that the most important aspect of feline care and preventive care is the comprehensive medical examination. This is in agreement with our practice philosophy of emphasizing the physical examination above all other aspects of care. The Orrville Veterinary Clinic is proud to be a trendsetter for animal care in the Orrville, Kidron, Apple Creek, Rittman, and Wooster areas. We are constantly remaining on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine and are looked to with respect by other veterinarians in the area. Please check out our additional articles that further explain the new guidelines.
Writting by Dr. Jeff Fink on behalf of Orrville Veterinary Clinic, Inc.