worldwide cat vaccination shortage

Worldwide cat vaccination shortage

There is currently a worldwide shortage of cat vaccines, and supplies are unlikely to be replenished until early 2024. Like other clinics in Australia, Lort Smith is currently out of supply.

There are still steps you can take to ensure your cat is protected and safe until supplies are replenished. Keep reading to learn how.

If your cat has been receiving regular annual vaccines, it will have ongoing immunity to the diseases it has been vaccinated against. Vaccines generally provide maximum immunity for 12 months, but it does not mean that after 12 months, the immunity will suddenly switch off.

While protection will wane a little over time, a delay of up to three months is unlikely to result in a significant reduction in levels of protection. It is anticipated that we should have regular supplies early in the new year to bring your cat back up to date.

To minimise risk, ensure your cat is entirely indoors, has no interaction with other cats, and is not exposed to cats of unknown vaccination status, such as stray cats.

Kittens are at the highest risk as their level of protection is very low after the initial protection provided by the mother’s antibodies.

Cats entering catteries are considered at moderate risk as they are challenging environments. If your cat is up-to-date with its vaccination course, there is no need to be concerned. However, if your cat’s vaccine booster is due at the time, please speak with your cattery.

For more information, read the FAQs below. To book a general health consult for your cat, please contact Lort Smith at 9328 3021.

Cat vaccination shortage FAQs

What is the situation with cat vaccines?

There is currently a worldwide shortage of cat vaccines available across all brands of vaccines. In Australia, regular supplies are not expected to be available until early 2024.


What happens now that supplies have run out?

As stated above, adult cats vaccinated regularly should have sufficient protection in their system until we have regular cat vaccines back in stock.

If vaccinated regularly, their protection will not suddenly stop at their 12-month due date. A delay of 2-3 months will not significantly decrease protection, and vaccination boosters can be recommended once regular supplies are reinstated.

For cats or kittens who have not been vaccinated, it is highly recommended that they be quarantined inside the home environment. Extreme care must be exercised if these cats are outside, as they would be vulnerable and at high risk should they come into contact with a cat that is infectious or a disease carrier.


My adult cat (18 months +) is due for its annual booster in November/December. What should I do?

If your cat has received regular boosters in the past few years, it will have sufficient immunity to help prevent it from the diseases we vaccinate for, including cat flu and feline enteritis. Immunity will not suddenly stop at the 12-month mark on its booster due date.

A delay of 2-3 months is unlikely to significantly reduce the protection level.

You may still book a general health check if you have any concerns about your pet, but we will not have the vaccines in supply to provide an annual booster.


What should I do if I have a kitten that needs vaccinations?

If your kitten has had its first vaccination and is under 12 weeks old, we recommend keeping it quarantined inside the house to avoid exposure to cats outside that may not be vaccinated. This is a standard recommendation for kittens.


I am going on holidays and my cat is booked into a cattery, what should I do?

If your cat has been having regular annual vaccines, it should have sufficient immunity for 12 to 15 months from the last vaccination. Please check with your cattery their specific requirements, as they may have changed with the worldwide shortage of vaccines.

There is also an option to do a blood test called a Feline Vaccination Titre. This blood test checks your cat’s antibody level of immunity to show it is sufficiently protected. The cost is approximately $414.80 + GST. It takes 30 days for the results to return as they are sent to the USA for processing.


I usually bring my cat in for an annual health check and annual booster, what should I do?

If your cat is due for its year vaccination booster, a delay of one or two months will not severely impact its protection.

However, if you would still like a check-up for your cat, particularly for elderly patients, we are happy to provide a general health check, but be aware that we cannot vaccinate at this check-up. Another appointment would be required for your cat’s vaccination booster later on.


Why can’t I book online for my cat to be vaccinated at Lort Smith?

Due to vaccine stock shortages, we have closed online bookings for cat vaccinations.

Any bookings for a cat vaccination made on our online booking system will be cancelled.


My cat has not had a vaccination for over two years, what should I do?

We can vaccinate your cat once normal supplies resume. In the meantime, it is recommended that you try to keep your cat safe by limiting access outside where there may be a risk of it coming into contact with potentially infectious cats that may not be vaccinated, such as strays.


What do I do if I find a stray or lost cat?

Lort Smith is not a pound and cannot hold stray animals. In response to the cat vaccination shortage, pounds are limiting or not accepting strays. This means that Lort Smith will not be accepting strays for transfer. If you find a stray animal, contact the local council where you found the animal for advice. If a lost animal is brought into Lort Smith, we will send it to either the Lost Dogs’ Home or the RSPCA. Refer to our section on lost and found pets for guidance if your pet is lost.