How Core Pet Vaccinations Help to Keep Your Cat Healthy
There are two core vaccinations that your cat should always have. One of these is the FVRCP vaccine. Your pet's core vaccinations are shots that are strongly recommended in the Brentwood area, 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 in many states, it's legally required.
Even if your cat stays inside, there is still a chance of them developing the conditions listed below. This is because 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 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.
What does the FVRCP vaccination protect against?
The FVRCP vaccine effectively protects your kitty companion from three highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases. These diseases make up the name of the vaccine. 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 diseases in cats. This disease most commonly impacts pregnancy in cats and can cause issues with their windpipe and nasal passage.
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.
This condition can never be cured and will only become dormant for periods of time.
Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
This condition is the main cause of respiratory infections in cats and oral diseases that can cause serious discomfort and potential complications.
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:
- Loss of appetite
- High fever
- Severe diarrhea
- Nasal discharge
FPL commonly affects the immune system which can result in cats developing secondary infections. This condition is known to affect cats regardless of their age but precautions should taken around kittens as it can be fatal for younger cats.
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 is the FVRCP vaccination given to cats?
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 six to eight weeks old and then have a booster shot every three or four weeks until they are about 16 to 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.
If you would like to learn more about the timing of your cat's vaccinations at Brentwood Veterinary Clinic, take a look at our vaccination schedule.
What is the cost of the FVRCP cat vaccination?
The cost of FVRCP cat vaccinations in Brentwood will vary depending on the brand of vaccine your veterinarian uses and the veterinary clinic itself. Your vet can provide a cost estimate for the vaccination.
What are the potential side effects of pet vaccinations?
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 there to be 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 or pet vaccinations clinic, although they can appear up to 48 hours following the vaccination.
The symptoms of a more severe reaction may include:
- Swelling around the lips and eyes
- 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.