At Statesboro Bulloch Regional Veterinary Hospital our vets believe that prevention is the key to helping your cat live a long and healthy life. That's why our Statesboro 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.
The viruses that cause these serious feline conditions can survive for up to a year on surfaces, despite the fact that you might think your indoor cat is protected from contagious illnesses like those listed below. As a result, if your indoor cat ventures outside for even a brief period of time, they run the risk of contracting the virus and falling gravely ill.
Conditions That The FVRCP Vaccine Protects Against
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (the FVR part of the vaccine name), Feline Calicivirus (represented by the C), and Feline Panleukopenia are three extremely contagious and fatal feline diseases that can be prevented with the FVRCP vaccine (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 can linger and worsen in kittens, elderly cats, and cats with compromised immune systems, which can result in depression, loss of appetite, drastic weight loss, and sores inside your cat's mouth. Infected cats with feline viral rhinotracheitis frequently develop bacterial infections.
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 a clear or yellow discharge from the cat's nose or eyes are all signs of feline calicivirus (FCV). Due to FCV, some cats may also experience uncomfortable ulcers on their tongue, palate, lips, or nose. Cats with feline calicivirus frequently exhibit lethargy, weight loss, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, squinting, and loss of appetite.
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 very prevalent and dangerous virus that affects cats and harms their bone marrow, lymph nodes, and intestinal lining cells. Depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, nasal discharge, and dehydration are among the signs 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
Your cat should receive their first FVRCP vaccination at around 6-8 weeks old, followed by booster shots every three to four weeks until they are about 16 to 20 weeks old, in order to give them the best possible protection against FHV, FCV, and FPL. Your kitten will require another booster shot when it is just over a year old and then every three years for the rest of its 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 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 may happen in some extremely rare circumstances. Although they can appear up to 48 hours after the vaccination, symptoms in these cases typically start to show up before the cat has even left the veterinarian's office. Hives, swelling around the lips and eyes, itching, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and breathing issues are just a few signs of a more serious 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.