The key defense against your cat developing a serious illness is prevention, which is what makes vaccines so important to feline health. In this post, our Laguna Beach veterinarians discuss the benefits of the FVRCP vaccine for cats and how it protects them.
Core Vaccines to Protect Your Cat
The FVRCP is one of a few core vaccines for cats.
Some owners might think that their indoor cat is exempt from the risks of viruses, but the reality is that they are just at risk of being exposed to harmful bacteria as cats who spend some time outdoors.
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, 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:
- Inflamed eyes and nose
- Ocular and nasal discharge
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), while others lead to symptoms such as 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 Receive The FVRCP Vaccination
To provide your cat with the best protection possible against the serious conditions explained above, they should receive their first FVRCP vaccination at around 6-8 weeks old and then receive 2 more booster shots at intervals of 3-4 weeks. 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 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 have a reaction to the FVRCP vaccine 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.
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.