Not sure if there is a more appropriate place to post this question as I am new to this forum.

As a successful foster kitten program, we try to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and knowledge there is out there - as we know - things are always changing. After doing some thorough research, on many reputable places, it seems like organizations are split 50/50 on this issue. There’s also a disconnect between what information is out for animals, in hospital, vs shelter or rescue animals.

We are the primary rescue taking kittens, from our local shelter, each year. On average, we place and adopt out around 400 kittens each year in our program. Since our kittens are so young and come from a vulnerable shelter setting, we want to make sure our protocol is the best for them.

1. We start vaccinating at 4 weeks / 1 pound like many other shelter or high risk rescues.
(I have found a mix of information arguing between 4-6 weeks)

2. We vaccinate every 2 weeks due to the fact that our kittens are at higher risk. Every foster home is different. Some only take one litter at a time or some take multiple (but don’t combine kittens until healthy enough / cleared to do so.)
In hospital, they recommend every 3-4 weeks. In shelter, they recommend every 2 weeks. What would be best for us?

3. If we continue starting to vaccinate at 4 weeks and vaccine every 2 weeks, sometimes our kittens get more than a 4 shot series - and instead can get 6-7 vaccines. Is there harm in over vaccinating?

4. I can’t find any research to indicate if it’s safe to stop a series of vaccines PRIOR to 16 weeks as long as the kitten has had at least a 4 shot series. Everything I have found states how important to vaccinate until age 16 weeks. This is what we currently do. However, again, 4 weeks starting, vaccinating every 2 weeks up until age 16 weeks = 7 shots sometimes.

A little more background - our kittens get fixed at 2 pounds. As long as they are healthy, they are free to be adopted out. Typically the kittens, who don’t get adopted right away, are the ones with a bunch of vaccinations.

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

  • January 14, 2020 at 07:40 AM

    At our rescue we do:

    FVRCP shots should be given to kittens at 4 weeks of age. A booster shot should be given 3-4 weeks after the first
    shot. A 2
    nd booster should be given another 3-4 weeks after that, for a total of 3 injections in 9-12 weeks.
    • Kittens over 12 weeks only need a series of 2 shots

  • January 14, 2020 at 04:19 AM

    At Thundering Paws in Dripping Springs, TX, we also vaccinate beginning at 4 weeks/1 pound for the entire litter, that is, if everyone in the litter weighs a pound, and every 2 weeks thereafter. We mitigate this rule if we have a runt who isn't gaining and has to be supplementally fed. We do this until 16 weeks.

    We put kittens in a foster program and ask our fosters to follow these rules, have vet techs at the shelter to administer the vaccines, and have staff and volunteers to keep up with the schedule.

    Dripping Springs is just down the road from Austin, and we follow the Austin Pets Alive protocols.