Our veterinarians in Jackson emphasize the importance of prevention in ensuring your cat's long and healthy life. That's why we advise all cat owners to have their cats vaccinated with the FVRCP vaccine. This vaccine helps protect cats from serious feline illnesses.
Core Vaccines to Protect Your Cat
The FVRCP cat vaccine is one of two core vaccines that your cat needs. These vaccines are called "core" because they are highly recommended for all cats, whether they spend most of their time indoors or outdoors. The Rabies vaccine is the other core cat vaccine — it's not only recommended but required by law in most states.
While you may think your indoor cat is safe from infectious diseases such as those listed below, the viruses that cause these serious feline conditions can survive for up to a year on surfaces. This means if your indoor cat sneaks outside for even a short period of time, they risks coming in contact with the virus and falling seriously ill.
In this article, we will discuss the diseases that the FVRCP vaccine can shield your cat from and when your cat should get this vaccination. We will also explain potential reactions and side effects your cat may experience after receiving the FVRCP vaccine and what steps to take if these reactions occur.
Conditions That The FVRCP Vaccine Protects Against
The FVRCP vaccine effectively protects your kitty companion from three highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (the FVR part of the vaccine's name), Feline Calicivirus (the C), and Feline Panleukopenia (the P at the end of the vaccine's name).
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1)
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR, feline herpesvirus type 1, or FHV-1) is thought to be responsible for up to 80 to 90% of ll infectious upper respiratory diseases in cats. The disease can affect your cat's nose and windpipe and windpipe and can also cause problems during pregnancy.
Signs of FVR include inflamed eyes and nose, discharge from the eyes and nose, fever, and sneezing. While these symptoms may be mild in adult cats and start to clean up after 5 to 10 days, in more severe cases, FVR symptoms can last for six weeks or longer.
Symptoms of FHV-1 may persist and worsen for kittens, senior cats, and immune-compromised cats, leading to loss of appetite, severe weight loss, sores inside the mouth, and depression. In cats that are already sick with Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, bacterial infections often occur, leading to worsening health.
It's important to note that even after the initial symptoms of FVR have cleared up, the virus remains dormant in your cat's body and can flare up again at different times throughout their life.
Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
This virus is a major cause of cats' upper respiratory infections and oral disease.
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), and 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.
Cats with FPL often get other infections because their immune systems are weak. While this disease can affect cats of any age, it's often deadly in kittens.
There are currently no medications available to kill the virus that causes FPL, so treating cats with feline panleukopenia involves managing the symptoms, such as dehydration and shock, through intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing care.
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.
See our vaccination schedule for more information about when your cat should be receiving their vaccines.
FVRCP Cat Vaccine Cost
The cost of this vaccination will vary depending on the brand of vaccine your veterinarian uses and where you live. Your vet can provide a cost estimate for the vaccination.
Risk of Reactions & Side Effects from The FVRCP Vaccine
Vaccine side effects in cats are uncommon, and when they do happen, they're usually not serious. Most cats that experience a reaction to the vaccine might have a slight fever and feel a bit under the weather for a day or two. Sometimes, your cat might sneeze after getting the FVRCP vaccine, and there might be a little swelling at the injection site, which is normal.
In some very rare cases, more extreme reactions can occur. In these situations, symptoms tend to appear before the cat has even left the vet's office, although they can appear up to 48 hours following the vaccination. The symptoms of a more severe reaction may include hives, swelling around the lips and eyes, itchiness, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and breathing difficulties.
If your cat shows any of these severe symptoms, get in touch with your vet right away or head to 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.