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Gehrig, Anne-Claire; Hartmann, Katrin; Guenther, Felix; Klima, Andre; Habacher, Gabriele and Bergmann, Michele (2019): A survey of vaccine history in German cats and owners' attitudes to vaccination. In: Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 21, No. 2: pp. 73-83

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Objectives Vaccination is the most important measure for prevention of feline infectious diseases. Cat owner compliance with vaccination recommendations has been investigated in the UK but not in other European countries. The aim of the present study was to determine cat owners' attitudes towards vaccination in cats in Germany, to identify factors that are associated with the vaccination status of their cats and to compare the results with those of the UK survey. Methods The survey was conducted using an online questionnaire and was aimed at respondents throughout Germany. Respondents under 16 years of age, cats that were less than 9 weeks old and veterinarians were excluded. A total of 920 questionnaires were evaluated, and information about cats and respondents was assessed with respect to the current vaccination status of the cats using a linear logistic regression model. Results The majority of cats (77.9%;n = 717) were vaccinated according to current guidelines;only 5.4% (n = 50;95% confidence interval [CI] 5.00-9.00) of cats had never received a vaccine. Having visited a cattery, a cat show or travelled abroad in the past 12 months (n = 96/773;odds ratio [OR] 6.95;95% CI 1.65-52.19) had the highest positive impact on the vaccination status of cats. In addition, detailed veterinary advice about vaccination had a positive impact (n = 275/773;OR 2.09;95% CI 0.67-6.25) on the attitude of owners towards vaccinating their cats. Conclusions and relevance A history of travelling abroad or visiting cat shows or a cattery, and thus regulatory requirements, had the greatest positive impact on the current vaccination status of the cats. Veterinary consultation on preventive measures, including vaccination, is crucial for protecting the cat population against infectious diseases.

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