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Got Vaccine? Check for Green

Lime-green plastic tags on cats indicate FIV vaccination, not infection

Lime-green plastic tags on cats indicate FIV vaccination, not infection

Fel-O-Vax FIV, the first USDA-licensed vaccine developed to protect cats against the potentially deadly feline immunodeficiency virus, was released by Fort Dodge Animal Health in 2002. The vaccine is a three-shot series with an annual booster.

The development was a great leap forward for kitties’ health, but it may present some complications for shelters handling cats with unknown histories. Currently available diagnostic tests cannot distinguish between an FIV-infected cat and a cat vaccinated with Fel-O-Vax.

To deal with this issue, Fort Dodge has introduced a vaccination tag that vets can attach to the collars of cats who have received the vaccine. If FIV testing is part of your shelter’s protocol for choosing animals for adoption and euthanasia, staff should keep an eye out for cats bearing the tag on entry; the tag is bright green and should be easy for even harried surrender desk staff to spot and make a note of.

Risks for FIV infection are highest for cats allowed outdoors unsupervised, and cats who arrive at the shelter without collars won’t get the benefit of the green tag alert—two more reasons for cat owners to keep their felines indoors and properly identified.

For more information about the FIV vaccine, visit or call Fort Dodge at 800-685-5656.


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