Our records indicate it's time for your cat or kitten to receive an FVRCP vaccine. What's this? Alphabet soup? Actually, it's veterinary "shorthand" for a very important vaccine for cats and kittens:
"F" stands for Feline. In other words, this vaccine and the diseases it protects against are of concern to cats only.
"V" stands for Viral. All the diseases this vaccine protects against are viruses.
"R" stands for Rhinotracheitis. Whew! That's a mouthful! Rhinotracheitis is a viral infection that affects cats much like a cold or flu affects humans. Infected cats run a significant fever, loss of appetite, sinus congestion, sneezing, and ulcers of the mouth and corneas. Uncomplicated infections of Rhino are usually no more severe than a cold for a human. However, even mild infections can become life-threatening if secondary bacterial infections develop and descend into the lungs.
Rhino is highly contagious and very common. Cats who have recovered from it will periodically shed the virus throughout their lives in times of stress. Unsuspecting cat owners can carry the virus from an ill or viral-shedding cat to their homes. This is a common way that feline upper respiratory infections are transmitted.
Treatment consists of fluids, antibiotics, nebulization (a process to humidify the air and keep the nasal passages moist), and eye medications.
Vaccines are quite effective to help protect cats & kittens against Rhino. Kittens should receive 3 vaccinations, 4 weeks apart. Vaccine-induced disease resistance is not long-lasting, so all cats should be re-vaccinated annually.
"C" stands for Calicivirus. Calici causes the same misery for our poor cats that Rhino does.
Kittens should be vaccinated 3 times against Calici, 4 weeks apart. Again, vaccine-induced immunity is short-lived, so the vaccine should be repeated annually in all cats.
"P" stands for Panleukopenia. It's called Panleukopenia because of how the virus will temporarily wipe out the infected cat or kitten's bone marrow of the precursor cells that produce white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Panleukopenia is a virus that usually causes clinical signs of severe gastroenteritis, with the primary signs of disease being loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition to the digestive tract signs, infected cats and kittens will be depressed, run a high fever, and be very weak. Kittens can die within 24 hours of onset of clinical signs. Without treatment, panleukopenia has a very high mortality rate.
Treatment consists of intravenous fluids, broad-spectrum antibiotics, injectable medications to control vomiting, intravenous nutritional support and blood transfusions.
Vaccinations offer excellent protection against Panleukopenia. Kittens normally receive a series of 3 vaccinations, spaced 4 weeks apart. An additional booster is then administered 1 year later. After that, the pet should be boostered every 1-2 years, depending on lifestyle and other factors.
Cats present a unique challenge, due to some health concerns found only in felines. Some cats (approximately 1 in 30,000) have an immune system that has a familial tendency to react to vaccines inappropriately. In these cats, the vaccine site is chronically inflamed post-vaccine, which can develop into a tumor. Because of this, the only FVRCP vaccine for cats used at Windmill Animal Hospital is the adjuvant-free vaccine, PureVax. This vaccine is licensed to be given annually.