Staying up-to-date on your cat's vaccines in order to keep them healthy and help them live a long and content life. Today, our Oakland vets explain what the FVRCP vaccine is and how it can help protect your cat's health.
Core Vaccines to Protect Your Cat
The FVRCP vaccine is one of two core vaccines for cats. These are are the shots that are strongly recommended for all cats, both indoor and outdoor. 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 safe from infectious diseases such as those listed below, the viruses that cause these serious feline conditions can live for up to a year on surfaces. That means that if your indoor cat sneaks out the door even for just a minute they are at risk of coming in contact with a number of viruses that can make them ill.
Your cat is also at a heightened risk if they spend any time in a boarding facility with other cats.
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 (FVR), feline calicivirus (C), and feline panleukopenia (P).
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1)
Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), also known as feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1), is responsible for a large majority (80-90%) of infectious upper respiratory diseases in cats. This disease affects the nose, windpipe, and can even cause complications 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 are usually mild and improve within 5-10 days. However, in more severe cases, FVR symptoms can persist for 6 weeks or longer.
Kittens, senior cats, and cats with weakened immune systems may experience prolonged and worsening symptoms of FHV-1. This can lead to depression, loss of appetite, severe weight loss, and mouth sores. Bacterial infections are common in cats already affected by feline viral rhinotracheitis.
Although FVR can be managed, it cannot be cured. Even after the symptoms have cleared, the virus remains dormant in the cat's body and can reactivate multiple times throughout their lifetime.
Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a significant contributor to upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats.
Symptoms of FCV include nasal congestion, sneezing, eye inflammation, and clear or yellow discharge from the cat's nose or eyes. Painful ulcers may also develop on the tongue, palate, lips, or nose. Infected cats often experience loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, squinting, and lethargy.
It's worth noting that FCV encompasses various strains, with some causing fluid accumulation in the lungs (pneumonia) while others lead to symptoms like fever, joint pain, and lameness.
Feline Panleukopenia (FPL)
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 depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, nasal discharge, and dehydration.
Due to their weakened immune systems, 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 ensure optimal protection against the mentioned serious conditions, it is recommended that your cat receives the first FVRCP vaccination at around 6-8 weeks old, followed by 2 additional booster shots spaced 3-4 weeks apart. Afterward, your kitten will need another booster when they reach just over a year old, and subsequently every 3 years throughout their life.
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 uncommon in cats, but when they do happen, they are usually mild. Some cats may experience a slight fever and feel a bit off for a day or two after receiving the FVRCP vaccine. It's normal for there to be a small amount of swelling at the injection site.
In extremely rare cases, more severe reactions can occur. These reactions typically occur before the cat leaves the vet's office, but they can also appear within 48 hours after vaccination. Severe reaction symptoms may include hives, swelling around the lips and eyes, itching, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
If your cat exhibits any of these severe symptoms, it's important to contact your veterinarian immediately or visit the nearest emergency animal hospital.
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.