Live virus or Inactivated (killed) virus?
With cats most of these vaccines have options for a ‘live virus’ vaccine or an ‘inactivated virus’ vaccine. The ‘live’ virus vaccine implants in your cat a live, but attenuated virus but does not cause them to get the disease. This attenuated virus then multiples in the recipient and requires the cats immune system to respond and produce antibodies to fight off the virus thus producing immunity to the disease.
The immunity produced is excellent, however some cats occasionally respond badly to the ‘live’ virus especially in more sensitive breeds such as Persians, Orientals, Chinchillas etc. The ‘inactivated’ vaccine on the other hand, is a virus that has been killed and when administered will similarly make the recipient respond by producing immunity to the vaccine. The negative aspect of the ‘killed’ vaccine is that it cannot multiply in the patient and does not stimulate the immune system to the same level as a ‘live’ vaccination thus resulting in lower levels of immunity (but still is effective).
The great benefit of ‘inactivated’ vaccines is that they are far less likely to result in reactions than the ‘live’ vaccine. At our Vet Clinics we mainly use the ‘inactivated’ vaccinations for cats but have the option to use a “live vaccine” if requested . We currently recommend that the vaccines be given every 12 months.
Can I test my dog’s or cat’s level of immunity?
If you are concerned about vaccinations in your dog or cat we can have their immunity levels tested in what is called a ‘Titre Test’. This relatively simple test involves taking a blood sample from your pet and sending it to a laboratory for testing or using in-house test kits.
The main limitation of Titre Testing is the fact that the cost of the test maybe a little more expensive than actually giving the vaccine. If you would prefer to have your pets immunity tested in preference to routine vaccination, we are more than happy to arrange for this.