At Colonial Park Animal Clinic our vets believe that prevention is the key to helping your cat live a long and healthy life. That's why our Harrisburg vets recommend that all cats receive the FVRCP vaccine. Here's how the FVRCP protects your cat's health.
Core Vaccines to Protect Your Cat
The FVRCP vaccine is one of two core vaccines for cats. Core vaccines are shots that are strongly recommended for all cats regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor cats. The other core vaccine for cats is the Rabies vaccine which is not only recommended but actually required by law in most states.
Although you may believe that your indoor cat is immune to the infectious diseases listed below, the viruses that cause these serious feline conditions can live on surfaces for up to a year. That means that even if your indoor cat sneaks out the door for a minute, they are at risk of contracting the virus and becoming seriously ill.
Conditions That The FVRCP Vaccine Protects Against
The FVRCP vaccine is a highly effective way to protect your cat from three highly contagious and potentially fatal feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (the FVR part of the vaccine name), Feline Calicivirus (the C), and Feline Panleukopenia (the P at the end of the vaccine name).
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1)
Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR, feline herpesvirus type 1, or FHV-1) is believed to be responsible for up to 80-90% of all infectious upper respiratory diseases in our feline friends. This disease can affect your cat's nose and windpipe as well as cause problems during pregnancy.
Symptoms of FVR include fever, sneezing, inflamed eyes and nose, and discharge from the nose and eyes. In healthy adult cats, these symptoms may be mild and begin to clear up after about 5-10 days, however in more severe cases symptoms of FVR can last for 6 weeks or longer.
FHV-1 symptoms may persist and worsen in kittens, senior cats, and immune-compromised cats, resulting in depression, loss of appetite, severe weight loss, and sores inside your cat's mouth. Bacterial infections are common in cats suffering from feline viral rhinotracheitis.
Even after the symptoms of FVR have cleared up the virus remains dormant in your cat's body and can flare up repeatedly over your kitty's lifetime.
Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
This virus is a major cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats.
Feline calicivirus (FCV) symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing, eye inflammation, and clear or yellow discharge from the nose or eyes of an infected cat. Due to FCV, some cats will develop painful ulcers on their tongue, palate, lips, or nose. Cats infected with feline calicivirus frequently experience appetite loss, weight loss, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, squinting, and lethargy.
It's important to note that there are a number of different strains of FCV, some produce fluid buildup in the lungs (pneumonia), and still, others lead to symptoms such as fever, joint pain, and lameness.
Feline Panleukopenia (FPL)
Feline Panleukopenia (FPL) is a highly contagious virus that damages bone marrow, lymph nodes, and the cells lining your cat's intestines. Depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, nasal discharge, and dehydration are all symptoms of FPL.
Cats infected with FPL frequently develop secondary infections as well, due to the weakened state of their immune systems. Although this disease can attack cats of any age it is often fatal in kittens.
There are currently no medications available to kill the virus that causes FPL so treating cats with feline panleukopenia involves symptoms such as dehydration and shock through intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing care.
When Your Cat Should Recieve The FVRCP Vaccination
To provide your feline friend with the best possible protection against FHV, FCV, and FPL your cat should receive their first FVRCP vaccination at around 6-8 weeks old then have a booster shot every three or four weeks until they are about 16-20 weeks old. After that your kitten will need another booster when they are just over a year old, then every 3 years throughout their lifetime.
For more information about when your cat should receive vaccines visit our vaccination schedule.
Risk of Side Effects from The FVRCP Vaccine
Side effects from vaccines are unusual in cats, and when they do occur they tend to be very mild. Most cats that do experience side effects will develop a slight fever and feel a little 'off' for a day or two. It is not unusual for there to be a small amount of swelling at the injection site.
More extreme reactions are possible in extremely rare cases. In these cases, symptoms usually appear before the cat leaves the vet's office, but they can appear up to 48 hours after the vaccination. Hives, swelling around the lips and eyes, itchiness, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and breathing difficulties are all symptoms of a more severe reaction.
If your cat is displaying any of the more severe symptoms of a reaction listed above, contact your vet immediately or visit the emergency animal hospital nearest you.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.