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 required by law in most states.
The viruses that cause these serious feline conditions can survive up to a year on surfaces, despite the fact that you may 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 (represented by the FVR part of the vaccine name), Feline Calicivirus (represented by the C), and Feline Panleukopenia (represented by the P at the end of the vaccine name) are three highly contagious and potentially fatal feline diseases that can be prevented by giving your cat the FVRCP vaccine.
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.
Fever, sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose, as well as eye and nasal discharge, are all signs of FVR. The symptoms of FVR can last for up to six weeks in more severe cases, but they can also be mild in healthy adult cats and start to go away in about five to ten days.
FHV-1 symptoms can worsen and persist in kittens, senior cats, and cats with compromised immune systems, which can result in depression, loss of appetite, rapid weight loss, and mouth sores. When cats already have feline viral rhinotracheitis, bacterial infections frequently develop in them.
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.
Feline calicivirus (FCV) symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing, eye inflammation, and clear or yellow discharge from the nose or eyes of an infected cat. Due to FCV, some cats will develop painful ulcers on their tongue, palate, lips, or nose. Cats infected with feline calicivirus frequently experience appetite loss, weight loss, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, squinting, and lethargy.
It's important to note that different strains of FCV cause different symptoms. Some cause fluid buildup in the lungs (pneumonia), while others cause symptoms like fever, joint pain, and lameness.
Feline Panleukopenia (FPL)
Feline Panleukopenia (FPL) is a very common and serious virus in cats that damages bone marrow, lymph nodes, and the cells lining your cat's intestines. FPL symptoms include depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, nasal discharge, and dehydration.
Because of their weakened immune systems, cats infected with FPL frequently develop secondary infections. While this disease can affect cats of any age, it is often fatal in kittens.
Currently, no medications are available to kill the virus that causes FPL, so treating cats with feline panleukopenia involves managing symptoms such as dehydration and shock through intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing care.
When Your Cat Should Recieve The FVRCP Vaccination
To provide the best possible protection against FHV, FCV, and FPL, 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 about 16-20 weeks old. Your kitten will need another booster when they are just over a year old, and then every three years for the rest of their life.
For more information about when your cat should be receiving their vaccines see our vaccination schedule.
Risk of Side Effects from The FVRCP Vaccine
Cats rarely experience vaccine side effects, and when they do, they typically have very minor effects. The majority of affected cats will experience a mild fever and a day or two of a little 'off' behavior. Additionally, a slight amount of swelling at the injection site is common.
More extreme reactions may happen in some extremely rare circumstances. Even though they can appear up to 48 hours after the vaccination in these circumstances, symptoms 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 to 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.