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.
Although you may believe that your indoor cat is immune to infectious diseases like those listed below, the 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.
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 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 and cause problems 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.
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 already ill with 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 cats' upper respiratory infections and oral disease.
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 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 virus that affects the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and cells lining your cat's intestines. Depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, nasal discharge, and dehydration are all symptoms 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 a booster shot every three or four weeks until they are around 16-20 weeks old to provide the best possible protection against FHV, FCV, and FPL. Your kitten will require another booster when they are just over a year old, and then every three years for the rest of their lives.
For more information about when your cat should receive vaccines visit our vaccination schedule.
Risk of Reactions from The FVRCP Vaccine in Cats
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. Your cat may also have some mild sneezing after the FVRCP vaccine.
More extreme reactions can occur in extremely rare circumstances. Symptoms usually appear before the cat leaves the veterinarian's office, though 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 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.