Feline Distemper Vaccine

"Feline distemper vaccine has proven to develop a long lasting solid immunity in healthy cats. Inactivated and modified live vaccine (MLV) is the most modern and effective form of feline distemper shot. It is administered via IM (intramuscular) or IV (intravenous), depending upon the prescription and commercial preparation. Kittens should be inoculated with a first dose at age of 9 – 11 weeks, with re vaccination 1 – 2 times in 2 – 3 weeks. Revaccination after age of 13 weeks is never recommended. A booster dose is recommended annually by manufacturers, but most veterinary authorities around world recommend a booster dose every 3 years. Available modified live vaccine is thought to be most advanced form of vaccine, but can be controversial."

Inactivated Feline Distemper Vaccine:

Modified live vaccine (MLV) is an inactivated form of biological preparation, which contains attenuated virus, which has no capacity to generate a feline distemper pathogenesis (the vaccine cannot cause the disease itself). This vaccine has been proven to be effective. In recent years the cases of feline distemper have been significantly reduced due to use of the vaccine. Feline distemper still exists, but is now uncommon.

Dose and Schedule for Feline Distemper Vaccine:

Distemper vaccine is one of the more controversial vaccines in history of vaccine development. Many controversies are associated with it, most of which are due to the dose rate and the recommended schedule of vaccination. This is fortunate since the debate has led to research studies that has improved our understanding of cats with distemper.

Distemper vaccine enhances the immune response for disease, and it may be administered intra muscular (IM) or intra venous (IV) at a dose rate of 1mL in kittens who are preferably age 9 – 11 weeks. Kittens that are less then 4 weeks of age should never be inoculated with cat distemper vaccine, while kittens 9 weeks of age are most suitable to be vaccinated.

Revaccination should be done 1 – 2 times, 2 – 3 weeks apart. Many researchers and manufacturers recommend revaccinating kittens for at least 3 times, 1 – 2 revaccinations have been proven in field studies to be optimal. Moreover, kittens should not be revaccinated after the age of 13 weeks. This will potentially cause clinical feline distemper infection in such cats.

A booster dose is controversial amongst manufacturers and veterinary authorities. Manufacturers recommend a booster dose annually, while veterinary professionals and researchers consider the appropriate interval for a booster dose to be every three years. A feline distemper shot is a potentially strong and effective vaccine which can result into long lasting immunity.

Safety Measures for Feline Distemper Vaccine:

  1. Kittens less then 4 weeks of age should never be vaccinated for feline distemper; it can interfere with natural immunity. 
  2. Pregnant queens should not be vaccinated for feline distemper; it can cause abortion or fetal mummification. 
  3. Commercial feline distemper vaccine contains gentamycin as preservative, so should not be used in pregnant queens. 
  4. Feline distemper vaccine can cause side effects or a reaction such as false feline distemper fever or a severe anaphylactic shock, therefore a shot of initial antidote, epinephrine is highly recommended prior to inoculation. 
  5. Only healthy cats should be vaccinated. The vaccine can cause a reaction or becomes inactive if administered to depressed, parasitized or malnourished cats.

Precautions for Distemper Vaccine:

A homeopathic remedy made to protect the feline immune system is now available for added support for cats with distemper or who may be exposed to distemper. Panleuk-Free, can help to alleviate feline distemper symptoms such as nausea and vomiting while helping the gastrointestinal system to heal. Note that for feline distemper, conventional approaches such as those prescribed by a veterinarian are an essential part of treatment. In cats that respond, homeopathic approaches may help promote a faster recovery and lessen the long term impact of the disease. Be sure to consult your veterinarian.


The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health (Home Edition)

“Feline Panleukopenia Vaccine – Fellocell ® - FPV” An Introductory Brochure for Veterinarians (Pfizer Animal Health, USA. 2009) Published under Licence.


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