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Vaccination against leukemia in cats: What you need to know and when to vaccinate? How much does it cost?

Additional vaccinations are those that are recommended for a particular animal if there is a high risk of contact with a specific infectious pathogen but are no longer obligatory. A vaccination against leukemia in cats is one example of such a vaccine.

This service is available in Pethelp packages. Package prices start at 89 PLN/month.


Leukemia in cats – what do you need to know about it?

Cat leukemia is an infectious disease caused by the FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus), which belongs to the Retroviridae family. Infection is most commonly transmitted through direct contact with an affected cat. The virus enters the cat's body through the mucous membranes and then moves through the blood vessels to the spleen and bone marrow, where it multiplies rapidly and impairs the immune system. The disease progresses in a variety of ways; approximately 33% of cats acquire chronic viremia, which leads to death within 3–4 years, either directly from the virus or indirectly via susceptibility to other diseases. 33% of cats will fight the infection and develop immunity to the virus, while the remaining 33% will not become infected after being exposed to the virus. The type of virus, the animal's immune status, age, environmental factors, and whether the animal has antibodies to FeLV all influence the progression of the infection.

When should cats be vaccinated against leukemia?

Kittens can be vaccinated between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks. The vaccination is provided in two doses, with the second administered 3–4 weeks after the first. In the case of outdoor cats or cats that may have been exposed to the virus, the cat should be vaccinated once a year.

Adult cats are also vaccinated twice, with a 3–4-week interval between the first and second doses. Cats afflicted with the leukemia virus should not be vaccinated. The veterinarian determines the precise vaccination dates following a clinical evaluation of the patient.

Feline leukemia virus vaccination – contradictions

Vaccination is not recommended due to the cat's poor health condition and a positive FeLV virus test result. If your pet is lethargic, has an infection or inflammation, or has been diagnosed with immunological deficiencies, vaccination should be avoided. In this case, you should take your pet to the veterinarian for an examination to determine the safety of the leukemia vaccination and to schedule another vaccination date.

This vaccination should not be given before the kitten is 6-7 weeks old. Maternal antibodies protect the majority of animals after birth. These antibodies destroy the antigens in the vaccine and prevent post-vaccination immunity from developing. Kittens that are separated from their mothers may be more susceptible to diseases at a young age; therefore, each case should be carefully evaluated by a veterinarian.

If you have observed any unusual medication reactions in your cat or suspect that they may occur, please notify your veterinarian at your visit!

What happens during the leukemia vaccine visit for cats?

Vaccination includes a vaccination qualifying visit, one dose of the vaccine, and vaccine administration. During this visit, the veterinarian will perform a clinical examination on the cat and assess its immunological condition. If there are no contraindications, the doctor will provide the appropriate dose of medication. Any commercially available product may be used by the veterinarian. The service provides injectable formulations containing antigens from the FeLV virus.

After the vaccine, the veterinarian will ask you to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes to check for any potential allergic reactions. Swelling, which may or may not be in the area of the body where the preparation was injected, redness, scratching, or sudden weakening of the pet may suggest an inappropriate reaction to vaccination. If any of these symptoms appear, inform the veterinarian as soon as possible.

The visit should conclude with the veterinarian entering the following information in the pet's health book:

  • The date of vaccination;
  • the identification data (name, initials, or code) of the person administering the vaccination;
  • the vaccine label, batch number, expiry date, producer’s name
  • and the location and route of vaccine administration.

Please keep in mind that protective immunity develops approximately 21 days after vaccination!


Do you have any other questions?