Preventive care is crucial to the lifelong health and happiness of our feline friends. This is why our vets in Mandeville vets recommend the FVRCP vaccine to help protect your cat from a number of serious diseases that can cause severe and potentially life-threatening diseases.
Preventive Care With Core Vaccinations
When it comes to core vaccinations for cats, the FVRCP is one of two. Core vaccines are shots that are strongly recommended for all cats regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor cats. The only other core vaccination that your cat should receive are rabies shots which are required by law in many different states.
While you may believe your indoor cat is safe from infectious diseases such as those listed below, the viruses that cause these serious feline conditions can live up to a year on surfaces. This means that all it takes is for your cat to slip out the door even a single time or for another animal to make their way in and you could have to manage an unfortunate kitty illness.
What diseases can be prevented with the FVRCP vaccine?
The FVRCP vaccine is an extremely effective way to protect your kitty against 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases. These three diseases make up the letter in the name of the vaccine. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis which covers the FVR in the name, Feline Calicivirus is represented by the C, and Feline Panleukopenia comes in with the P at the end of the name.
(FHV-1) Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
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 primarily affects the nose and the windpipe making breathing more difficult and can cause severe complications in kitties that are pregnant at the time of infection.
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.
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.
While you may see a reduction in the symptoms of FVRCP as the virus becomes dormant, your cat will never be 'cured'. This virus invades the body for life once it is contracted.
(FCV) Feline Calicivirus
FVC is one of the main causes of respiratory disorders and oral diseases in our feline friends.
There are a number of symptoms that your cat may experience with FCV including 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.
One thing to know is that there are different strains of FCV and that each strain will cause a different set of symptoms. Some produce fluid buildup in the lungs (pneumonia), and others lead to symptoms such as fever, joint pain, and lameness.
(FPL) Feline Panleukopenia
Feline Panleukopenia (FPL) is an extremely common and serious virus in cats that causes damage to bone marrow, lymph nodes, and the cells lining your cat's intestines.
Symptoms of FPL include:
- loss of appetite
- high fever
- severe diarrhea
- nasal discharge
Cats infected with FPL frequently develop secondary infections as well, due to the weakened state of their immune systems. While 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 managing the symptoms such as dehydration and shock through intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing care.
At what age should a cat or kitten have their 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 be receiving their vaccines see our vaccination schedule.
Are there any common side effects with the FVRCP shots?
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 also not unusual for there to be a small amount of swelling at the injection site.
In some very rare cases, more extreme reactions can occur. In these situations, symptoms tend to appear before the cat has even left the vet's office, although they can appear up to 48 hours following the vaccination. The symptoms of a more severe reaction may include hives, swelling around the lips and eyes, itchiness, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.
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 to 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.