Vaccinating against FIV
Here in the UK there is currently no vaccine against FIV,
but there is one in the USA.
FIV vaccine (the Fort Dodge vaccine) is not registered in
the UK. As far as we are aware it is only available in the
USA, Canada and Australia. The makers claim that it is 85%
effective (which is better than nothing), but reports say
that against some strains of FIV, it is far less
effective. (In the UK there is only one strain of FIV, but
in other parts of the world there are several)
Vets in the US apparently vary in their opinions, but most
who know about FIV are not too keen to give it for a
number of reasons, mainly due to the fact that a cat
vaccinated against FIV will thereafter test positive with
the ELISA test, as well as the IFA and Western blot.
Those who choose to vaccinate would be wise, in our
opinion, to microchip as well, so if the worst happened
and they ended up in a shelter, there is a good chance
that you will get them back intact.
University of Florida has worked on a project to produce a
new test, which will differentiate between a cat
vaccinated against FIV and one with the virus, but we have
not heard of any results of that project. – It will be
interesting to see whether what they come up with might
replace the elisa snap test.
Vaccinating FIV cats against other viruses
Here in the UK it is normal to vaccinate cats against
Enteritis, calicivirus, herpesvirus, and usually FeLV
(Feline leukaemia), but all are voluntary.
In other parts of the world there are other vaccines, some
of which are required to be given by law.
There are different views about the wisdom of giving these
vaccinations to an FIV cat, and particularly in question
are the annual boosters that are usually recommended.
There is a view that an FIV cat will be put at greater
risk whenever it has to deal with an infection - when its
immune system is put under strain. By giving vaccinations,
the cat has to use its immune system to raise a response,
which can increase the amount of virus in the system - so
should you vaccinate? There are different opinions, so you
need to discuss it with your vet before deciding.