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What is the FVRCP cat vaccine?

Our vets in Groton believe that prevention is critical to helping your cat live a long, healthy life. This is why we recommend that all cats receive the FVRCP vaccine. In this post, we'll explain how this shot protects your cat's health. 

Core Vaccines to Protect Your Cat

The FVRCP vaccine is one of two core vaccines for cats. Regardless of whether your feline friend spends most of their time indoors or outdoors, it's strongly recommended that they receive core vaccines. The Rabies vaccine is the other core vaccine, and it is not only recommended by required by law in most states. 

While you may believe your indoor cat is safe from infectious diseases such as those listed in this post, the viruses that cause these serious feline conditions can survive for up to a year on surfaces. This means that if your indoor cat is able to sneak out the door for even a minute, they will be at risk of coming into contact with the virus and falling seriously ill. 

Conditions That The FVRCP Vaccine Protects Against

The FVRCP vaccine is extremely effective at protecting cats against three highly contagious, life-threatening feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (the FVR part of the vaccine's name), Feline Calicivirus (represented by the C), and Feline Panleukopenia (the P at the end of the vaccine 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 our feline friends. This disease can affect a cat's nose and windpipe, in addition to causing problems during pregnancy. 

Symptoms of FVR include inflamed eyes and nose, fever, sneezing and discharge from the eyes and nose. While these symptoms may be mild in healthy adult cats and start to clear up after approximately 5 to 10 days, they can last for 6 weeks or longer in more severe cases. 

In senior cats, kittens and immune-compromised cats, symptoms of FHV-1 can persist and worsen, leading to severe weight loss, depression, loss of appetite and sores inside your cat's mouth. In cats that are already ill with feline viral rhinotracheitis, bacterial infections may occur. 

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.

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 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.

How much does the FVRCP cat vaccine cost?

The precise cost of this vaccine can vary depending on a number of factors. Please contact your Groton vet to find out how much your cat's shot will cost. 

When Your Cat Should Receive 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.

For more information about when your cat should be receiving their vaccines see our vaccination schedule.

Risk of 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 side effects will develop a slight fever and feel a little 'off' for a day or two. It is also not unusual for there to be a small amount of swelling at the injection site.

While you may notice your cat sneezing after the FVRCP vaccine, this too, is usually mild. 

In some very rare cases, a cat may have a more extreme reaction to the FVRCP vaccine. 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.

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

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