What is the FVRCP cat vaccine?

At Veterinary Associates, our veterinarians believe that prevention is the key to ensuring a long and healthy life for your cat. This is why our vets in Grenada recommend that all cats receive the FVRCP vaccine. The FVRCP vaccine is essential in protecting your cat's health.

Core Vaccines to Protect Your Cat

The FVRCP vaccine is one of two core vaccines for cats. Core vaccines are shots strongly recommended for all cats, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor. The other core cat vaccine is the Rabies vaccine, which is not only recommended but required by law in most states.

It's important to understand that even if your cat stays indoors, they can still be at risk of contracting infectious diseases. Viruses that cause feline conditions can survive on surfaces for a year, which means that even a short moment outside can put your cat in contact with the virus and lead to serious illness.

Conditions That The FVRCP Vaccine Protects Against

The FVRCP vaccine is an excellent way to safeguard your cat from three dangerous and infectious feline ailments. It protects against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR), Feline Calicivirus (C), and Feline Panleukopenia (P).

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 causing problems during pregnancy.

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

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

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.

Cats infected with feline calicivirus (FCV) may exhibit symptoms such as congestion in the nasal passage, sneezing, eye inflammation, and discharge from the nose or eyes that may be clear or yellow. In some cases, cats may also develop ulcers on their tongue, palate, lips, or nose, which can be quite painful. The infection may also lead to 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 still, 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. Although 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 symptoms such as dehydration and shock through intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing care.

When Your Cat Should Recieve The FVRCP Vaccination

For optimal protection against FHV, FCV, and FPL, it is recommended that your cat receives their initial FVRCP vaccination at around 6-8 weeks old, followed by booster shots every three to four weeks until they reach 16-20 weeks old. After this, your kitten will need a booster shot when they are just over a year old and then every three years throughout their life. This will help ensure the best possible safeguard for your feline friend.

For more information about when your cat should receive vaccines visit our vaccination schedule.

Risk of Side Effects from The FVRCP Vaccine

It is uncommon for cats to experience side effects from vaccines, but when they do occur, they are usually mild. Some cats may have a slight fever and feel slightly unwell for a day or two. It's normal for there to be some swelling at the injection site. However, in rare cases, cats may experience more severe reactions.

These reactions can happen before leaving the vet's office or up to 48 hours after vaccination. Symptoms of a severe reaction may include hives, swelling around the lips and eyes, itchiness, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and breathing difficulties. If your cat displays any of these severe symptoms, contact your vet immediately or go to 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 Grenada vets today to book an appointment for your feline friend. Our Veterinary Associates vets can help you to give your cat their best chance at a long and healthy life.