Our vets in Fairfield, NJ believe that prevention is critical to helping your cat live a long, healthy life. That's why we recommend all cats receive the FVRCP vaccine to protect them from serious feline conditions.
Core Vaccines to Protect Your Cat
The FVRCP cat vaccine is one of two core vaccines your kitty should have. Core vaccines are shots that are strongly recommended for all cats, whether they spend most of their time indoors or outdoors. The Rabies vaccine is the other core vaccine for cats — it's not only recommended but actually required by law in most states.
The viruses that cause these serious feline conditions can remain on surfaces for up to a year, despite the fact that you may believe 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 time, they run the risk of contracting the virus and developing serious health problems.
In this post, we'll discuss conditions the FVRCP vaccine can protect your cat against and when your cat should receive the vaccination. We'll also explain cats' potential reactions to and side effects from the FVRCP vaccine, and what to do if they occur.
Conditions That The FVRCP Vaccine Protects Against
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (the FVR part of the vaccine name), Feline Calicivirus (the C), and Feline Panleukopenia (the P at the end of the vaccine name) are three extremely contagious and potentially fatal feline diseases that are successfully prevented by the FVRCP vaccine.
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 all infectious upper respiratory diseases in cats. The disease can impact your kitty's nose and windpipe in addition to causing issues 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.
For kittens, aging cats, and cats with compromised immune systems, the symptoms of FHV-1 may persist and worsen, resulting in an appetite loss, severe weight loss, mouth sores, and depression. Bacterial infections commonly happen in cats who already have Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, which worsens their condition.
Even after symptoms of FVR have cleared up, the virus stays dormant within your cat's body and may flare up repeatedly over your feline friend's lifetime.
Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
This virus is a major cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats.
Clear or yellow discharge from the nose or eyes of the infected cat is one of the signs of feline calicivirus (FCV), along with nasal congestion, sneezing, and eye inflammation. Some cats will also experience painful lip, nose, tongue, or palate ulcers as a result of FCV. 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 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. While 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 managing the 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, then have a booster shot every three to four weeks until they are about 16 to 20 weeks old. This will give your feline friend the best possible protection against FHV, FCV, and FPL. Your kitten will then require another booster when they are just over a year old, and they will require boosters every three years for the rest of their lives.
For more information about when your cat should be receiving their vaccines see our vaccination schedule.
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
Cats rarely experience vaccine side effects, and when they do, they typically have very minor effects. The majority of cats who do have reactions to or side effects from the vaccine experience a slight fever and a day or two of feeling a little off. After receiving the FVRCP vaccine, you might notice your cat sneezing. Additionally, a slight amount of swelling at the injection site is common.
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 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.