Our vets at Seattle recommend that all cats receive the FVRCP vaccine. Wondering how the FVRCP vaccine helps protect your cat's health? We'll explain.
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.
It's important to note that even indoor cats can be at risk of contracting infectious diseases. The viruses that cause these illnesses can survive on surfaces for up to a year, which means that if your indoor cat escapes outside for even a brief moment, they could potentially come into contact with the virus and become seriously ill.
Conditions That The FVRCP Vaccine Protects Against
The FVRCP vaccine is an extremely effective way to protect your kitty against 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (that's the FVR part of the vaccine name), Feline Calicivirus (represented by 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 and cause problems during pregnancy.
Symptoms of FVR include fever, sneezing, inflamed eyes and nose, and discharge from 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.
In kittens, senior cats, and immune-compromised cats, symptoms of FHV-1 may persist and worsen, leading to depression, loss of appetite, severe weight loss, and sores inside of your cat's mouth. Bacterial infections often occur in cats that are already ill with 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.
Symptoms of feline calicivirus (FCV) include nasal congestion, sneezing, eye inflammation, and clear or yellow discharge from the infected cat's nose or eyes. Some cats will also develop painful ulcers on their tongue, palate, lips, or nose due to FCV. Often cats infected with feline calicivirus suffer from loss of appetite, 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 prevalent and severe virus in cats that can harm their bone marrow, lymph nodes, and intestinal cells. If your cat has FPL, they may exhibit symptoms such as depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, nasal discharge, and dehydration. It is essential to seek veterinary care if you suspect your cat may have 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. Hence, 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 safeguard your cat against FHV, FCV, and FPL, it is advisable to administer their first FVRCP vaccination around 6-8 weeks of age. They should receive booster shots every 3-4 weeks until they reach 16-20 weeks old. Moreover, your kitten will require a booster shot when they are slightly over a year old, followed by additional boosters every 3 years for the remainder of their life. Following this vaccination schedule will help provide optimal protection for your furry companion.
For more information about when your cat should receive vaccines visit our vaccination schedule.
Risk of Side Effects from The FVRCP Vaccine
It is uncommon for cats to experience side effects from vaccines. However, if they do occur, they are typically mild. A slight fever and feeling unwell for a day or two are the most common side effects. It is normal for there to be some swelling at the injection site.
In extremely rare cases, some individuals may experience more severe reactions. These symptoms may appear before leaving the veterinarian's office or up to 48 hours after vaccination. Symptoms of a severe reaction may include hives, swelling around the lips and eyes, itchiness, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.
If you notice any of the serious symptoms of a reaction in your cat, such as those listed above, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Alternatively, take your cat to the nearest emergency animal hospital as soon as possible.
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.