Fel-O-Vax, a core vaccine which protects cats from numerous infections is out of stock, thus raising concerns among veterinarians. The manufacturing company promises to take steps to solve the issue.
Since the past few months, a core cat vaccine, Fel-O-Vax, has been unavailable in Indian markets.
The vaccine which is manufactured by Pfizer and protects cats from a host of viral infections, is considered essential by veterinarians.
Reiterating the importance of Fel-O-Vax, Dr Deepa Katyal, a companion animal vet practitioner from Mumbai said, “Around 40-50 per cent of cats die due to respiratory trouble. In India, as opposed to the practice of having pedigree dogs, most people adopt stray cats. These cats are more exposed to infection and therefore, this vaccine is essential to protect them.”
The viral infections that the vaccine protects against are incurable. Cats usually are given two doses in the first year, followed by booster shots every year.
Dr Idrees Ahmad Malik, a veterinary surgeon at Blue Cross, Hyderabad says, “There is no substitute for this vaccine. For the past four months we have been putting in orders for it, but it is neither available at wholesale nor at retail shops. The
distributors said they will inform us when they get some fresh stock. Until then, we have no choice but to not give
Prashant, who works at Nutan pet shop in Himayat Nagar, confirmed that the shops were also out of stock.
“The Fel-O-Vax stock has not come in for about 5-6 months. There seems to be some problem, but we are not sure what it is.”
The problem is not restricted to Hyderabad. Dr Wasim, a senior consultant at CUPA, Bangalore said, “This is an all-India problem. The government authorities have stopped the licence to import the vaccine since the last few months. There appears to be some
internal issues with the company. Another company, Virbac Animal Health, is also trying to get into the market, but nothing has happened so far.” Dr Katyal added that her sources have indicated there was some issue over pricing and import of the vaccine.
When asked whether there were alternative methods of importing the vaccine, Dr Wasim said, “It can’t be ordered online. The main problem is the lack of a proper cold chain while importing them. By the time the product comes through customs, it would have degraded and be rendered useless.”
Some veterinarians, though, have managed to find a solution. “We had run out, but now we have made alternative arrangements,” said Dr Anjaneyulu at Animal Care Clinic, Hyderabad. But the relief is temporary.
“I have some in stock, so I’m not too worried. I also can get it through friends and other sources. But after a while, there will be difficulties. The cold chain is a problem. It isn’t easy to import vaccines privately,” added Dr Katyal.
When asked whether they had approached the government over the issue, Dr Katyal said, “We haven’t approached the government. Only the (pharmaceutical) company which makes these vaccines can do that. If the situation continues, the vet practitioners’ associations will have to do something.”
A Pfizer spokesperson said, “Pfizer is taking steps to
mitigate a temporary supply interruption of Fel-O-Vax cat vaccine in the Indian market. We understand that veterinarians and pet owners rely on this important cat vaccine and Pfizer is working with the
competent authorities to minimise the duration of the
“This supply interruption does not impact the quality or integrity of the finished product. The company is keenly aware of the importance of
Fel-O-Vax to pet owners and is committed to resolving the issue as quickly as possible.”
Types of vaccines
- Rabies: Provides protection from rabies.
- FVRCP: Provides protection from Feline Viral Rhinotra cheitis, a respiratory disorder.
- FELV vaccine: Provides protection against feline leukaemia.
- FIE: Feline infectious enteritis (a gut infection) caused by the feline parvovirus.
- FHV-1 and FCV: Provides protection against cat flu.
- Feline chlamydophilosis vaccine: Protects the cat from bacterium that causes conjunctivitis.