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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 33254
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Why would recently vaccinated kittens at 9 weeks old develop

Customer Question

Why would recently vaccinated kittens at 9 weeks old develop within 10 days of their jab symptoms of herpes 1? Cough, conjunctivitis, runny nose? Isn't the vaccine suppose to protect them? Is that a possible reaction to the vaccine? What would be their immunological status now? Will they get worse at jab two or carriers? Will antibiotics help them for now?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
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While FHV-1 can certainly cause those symptoms, we also need to be concerned about Chlamydophila (previously called Chlamydia) and Mycoplasma. To answer your question directly, however, kittens are exposed to FHV-1 prior to the onset of vaccination against FHV-1 in the great majority of the time. Early vaccination (from around 4-6 weeks of age) is particularly important in high-risk situations or where maternal derived antibody status is questionable. Vaccination is still important because it can reduce the severity of disease in exposed kittens although it doesn't necessarily prevent infection.

Cats will remain seropositive forever. Even vaccinated cats can become carriers and pass infection to others but they should still be given the two jabs. Antibiotics are of no value against FHV-1. Seriously affected cats can be treated with the systemic antiviral drug famcyclovir.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.