Our veterinarians at Lafayette Companion Animal Hospital believe that the best way to help your cat live a long and healthy life is to prevent illness. Our Boulder County veterinarians advise that all cats get the FVRCP vaccine. The FVRCP protects your cat's health in the following ways.
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 required by law in most states.
Although you may believe that your indoor cat is immune to infectious diseases like those listed below, viruses that cause these serious feline illnesses can survive on surfaces for up to a year. That means that even if your indoor cat sneaks out the door for a brief moment, they risk contracting the virus and becoming seriously ill.
Please contact our veterinarians to get an estimate of the cost of the FVRCP vaccine for cats.
Conditions That The FVRCP Vaccine Protects Against
The FVRCP vaccine protects your cat against three highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (the FVR part of the vaccine name), Feline Calicivirus (represented by the C), and Feline Panleukopenia (represented by the P) (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 thought to be the cause of 80-90 percent of all infectious upper respiratory diseases in cats. This disease can cause problems in your cat's nose and windpipe, as well as during pregnancy.
Fever, sneezing, inflamed eyes and nose, and discharge from the nose and eyes are all symptoms of FVR. These symptoms may be mild in healthy adult cats and clear up after 5-10 days, but in more severe cases, FVR symptoms 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 mouth sores. 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.
Nasal congestion, sneezing, eye inflammation, and clear or yellow discharge from the infected cat's nose or eyes are all symptoms of feline calicivirus (FCV). FCV can also cause painful ulcers on the tongue, palate, lips, or nose in some cats. Loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, squinting, and lethargy are common symptoms of feline calicivirus infection.
It's important to remember that there are several different strains of FCV, some of which cause fluid buildup in the lungs (pneumonia) and others that cause symptoms like fever, joint pain, and lameness.
Feline Panleukopenia (FPL)
Feline Panleukopenia (FPL) is a virus that causes damage to your cat's bone marrow, lymph nodes, and the cells that line his or her intestines. Depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, nasal discharge, and dehydration are all symptoms of FPL.
Due to the weakened state of their immune systems, cats infected with FPL frequently develop secondary infections. Although this disease can affect cats of any age, kittens are particularly vulnerable.
Because there are currently no medications available to kill the virus that causes FPL, cats with feline panleukopenia are treated with intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing care to alleviate symptoms such as dehydration and shock.
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.
Risk of Side Effects from The FVRCP Vaccine
Reactions from FVRCP 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. A cat may also suffer from sneezing after the FVRCP vaccine.
More extreme reactions can occur in some extremely rare cases. Symptoms usually appear before the cat leaves the veterinarian'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 signs 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.