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Bergmann, Michele; Schwertler, Stephanie; Speck, Stephanie; Truyen, Uwe and Hartmann, Katrin (2019): Antibody response to feline panleukopenia virus vaccination in cats with asymptomatic retrovirus infections: a pilot study. In: Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 21, No. 12: pp. 1094-1101

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Objectives Currently, there are only a few studies on how immunocompromised cats, such as cats infected with feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), respond to vaccination. Therefore, this study measured feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) antibodies in retrovirus-infected cats within a period of 28 days after FPV vaccination, and compared the immune response to that of non-infected cats. Methods Eight asymptomatic retrovirus-infected cats (four FeLV, four FIV), and non-infected age-matched control cats (n = 67) were vaccinated with a commercial FPV modified live virus (MLV). Pre- and post-vaccination antibody titres were measured by haemagglutination inhibition (HI) on days 0, 7 and 28. An HI titre > 1:40 was defined as protective. An adequate response to vaccination was defined as a four-fold titre increase or higher. Comparison of the immune response of retrovirus-infected and non-infected cats was performed. Results Pre-vaccination FPV antibody titres > 1:40 were present in 100% (n = 8/8;95% confidence interval [CI] 62.8-100) of retrovirus-infected and in 77.6% (n = 52/67;95% CI 66.2-86.0) of non-infected cats. An adequate response to vaccination (titre increase > four-fold) was seen in 1/8 retrovirus-infected cats (12.5%;95% CI 0.1-49.2) compared with 22/67 non-infected cats (32.8%;95% CI 22.8-44.8). In cats with high pre-vaccination titres (> 1:160), a four-fold titre increase or higher was observed in 1/8 retrovirus infected cats (12.5%;95% CI 0.1-49.2) compared with 4/42 non-infected cats (9.5%;95% CI 3.2-22.6). None of the eight retrovirus-infected cats developed illness or vaccination side effects after vaccination with MLV against FPV within the 28 days. There were no significant differences between groups: for pre-vaccination titres;for at least four-fold titre increases following vaccination in either all cats or the cats with high pre-vaccination titres;and concerning adverse effects. Conclusions and relevance All retrovirus-infected asymptomatic cats had pre-vaccination FPV antibodies indicating protection against panleukopenia. Response of retrovirus-infected cats to vaccination was similar to the response of non-infected cats.

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