Preventive healthcare recommendations for zoo felids include vaccination against primary viral diseases that affect domestic felids. Although associated with a more-substantial immune response in their domestic counterparts, use of modified live virus vaccines (MLV) in nondomestic carnivores can result in vaccine-induced viral disease. This case report details a feline herpesvirus and calicivirus outbreak in two black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) kittens and their dam following use of an MLV in the kittens. Clinical signs included anorexia, nasal discharge, sneezing, and tachypnea. Patient history, clinical signs, real-time polymerase chain reaction results, and histopathologic evaluation of tissues confirmed the diagnosis. Although unable to definitively prove that the disease observed in these cases was caused by the MLV, there is strong temporal and circumstantial evidence that this was the case. This outbreak of feline upper respiratory infection following vaccination with a multivalent MLV resulted in significant morbidity and mortality, serving as an important reminder that recombinant or killed vaccines are the safest choice for use in nondomestic species, particularly in kittens.
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