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What is the FVRCP cat vaccine?

Our veterinarians in Gilbert believe prevention is key to helping your cat live a long and healthy life. We recommend that all cats receive the FVRCP vaccine to protect them against serious feline diseases.

Core Vaccines to Protect Your Cat

The FVRCP vaccine for cats is one of two core vaccines your cat should receive. Core vaccines are highly recommended for all cats, whether they spend most of their time indoors or outdoors. Rabies vaccine is the other core vaccine for cats — it's not only recommended but also required by law in most states.

You may think your indoor cat is safe from infectious diseases like those listed below, but the viruses that cause these serious feline diseases can survive for up to a year on surfaces. This means that if your indoor cat sneaks outdoors, even for a short time, they risk contracting the virus and becoming seriously ill.

In this article, we'll look at the conditions against which the FVRCP vaccine can protect your cat and when he should be vaccinated. We'll also explain potential reactions and side effects of the FVRCP vaccine in cats and what to do if they 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 all infectious upper respiratory tract diseases in cats. The disease can affect your kitten's nose and windpipe, as well as causing problems during pregnancy. 

Signs of FVR include inflammation of the eyes and nose,  runny eyes and nose, fever, and sneezing. While these symptoms may be mild in adult cats and start cleaning up after 5 to 10 days, FVR symptoms can last for six weeks or longer in more severe cases. 

FHV-1 symptoms may persist and worsen in kittens, older cats, and immunocompromised cats, leading to loss of appetite, severe emaciation, sores inside the mouth, and depression. In cats already suffering from feline viral rhinotracheitis, bacterial infections often worsen 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 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. Cats infected with feline calicivirus often 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, causing damage to the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and 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 infected with FPL frequently develop secondary infections 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 is currently no medication capable of killing the virus responsible for feline panleukopenia. Treatment of cats with feline panleukopenia, therefore, consists of managing symptoms such as dehydration and shock with intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing care.

When Your Cat Should Recieve The FVRCP Vaccination

To offer your feline friend the best possible protection against FHV, FCV, and FPL, your cat should receive its first FVRCP vaccine at around 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by a booster shot every three to four weeks until 16 to 20 weeks of age. Your kitten will need another booster when she's just over a year old and then every 3 years for the rest of her life.

See our vaccination schedule for more information about when your cat should receive 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 

Side effects from vaccines are unusual in cats, and when they do occur, they tend to be very mild. Most cats that do experience reactions to or side effects from the vaccine will develop a slight fever and feel a little 'off' for a day or two. You may notice your cat sneezing after the FVRCP vaccine. It is also not unusual for a small amount of swelling at the injection site.

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 displays any of the more severe symptoms of a reaction listed above, contact your vet immediately or visit 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.

Is it time for your kitten or cat to have their shots? Contact our Gilbert vets today to book an appointment for your feline friend. 

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Contact us today to book your first appointment and find out the difference that caring, compassionate and knowledgeable veterinary service makes in your pet's health and happiness. 

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