Objective: To determine the effects of anesthesia and surgery on serologic responses to vaccination in kittens.
Design: Prospective controlled trial.
Animals: 32 specific-pathogen-free kittens.
Procedures: Kittens were assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups: neutering at 7, 8, or 9 weeks of age or no neutering. All kittens were inoculated with modified-live virus vaccines against feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), feline herpesvirus (FHV), and feline calicivirus (FCV) at 8, 11, and 14 weeks of age and inactivated rabies virus (RV) at 14 weeks of age. Serum antibody titers against FPV, FHV, and FCV were determined at 8, 9, 11, 14, and 17 weeks of age; RV titers were determined at 14 and 17 weeks of age.
Results: Serologic responses of kittens neutered at the time of first vaccination (8 weeks) were not different from those of kittens neutered 1 week before (7 weeks) or 1 week after (9 weeks) first vaccination or from those of kittens that were not neutered. In total, 31%, 0%, 69%, and 9% of kittens failed to develop adequate titers against FPV, FCV, FHV, and RV, respectively, by 17 weeks of age.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Neutering at or near the time of first vaccination with a modified-live virus vaccine did not impair antibody responses in kittens. Many kittens that were last vaccinated at 14 weeks of age had inadequate antibody titers at 17 weeks of age. Kittens may be vaccinated in the perioperative period when necessary, and the primary vaccination series should be extended through at least 16 weeks of age.