Source: Yahoo (Extract)
Posted: November 04, 2023

Vets are struggling to respond to a sudden shortage of cat vaccines that’s predicted to last until early 2024, with some fearing a pandemic could spread amongst Australia’s stray populations.

By Monday, some practices will run out of essential medicines used to prevent illnesses. They included flu and parvovirus — a highly contagious disease that destroys white blood cells and has a high mortality rate.

Most Australian clinics became aware of the problem less than two weeks ago. “Ordinarily you can order every day if you like and it comes in 24 hours. Most vets don’t stockpile it,” Sydney vet Dr Donna Schofield told Yahoo News Australia.

Why the cat vaccine shortage will be a problem for Australia

The good news for pet owners is most vaccinated adult cats will have enough immunity to withstand the spread until normalised supply resumes next year. But kittens remain vulnerable to disease.

The problem is expected to have devastating consequences for animal shelters, whose processes require them to vaccinate animals upon entry to prevent sickness from spreading amongst their closely housed animals.

RSPCA NSW and several smaller operators ceased cat admissions in October. “We’re managing currently, but we are taking it day by day,” RSPCA NSW chief veterinarian Dr Liz Arnott told Yahoo News Australia.

“We take it really seriously because if an outbreak spreads in a shelter, it would have very serious consequences… We lowered our intake so that we can properly vaccinate the ones that we have and then adopt them out.”

Another operator said he believed more temporary shelter closures are imminent and his charity is struggling.