Pet Health

FVRCP Vaccine for Cats: What Cat Owners Should Know

Everything cat owners need to know about the FVRCP vaccine including why it's important, where you can get it and the cost.

5
min read

The FVRCP vaccine is one of the most common vaccinations given to cats. It was developed in the 1970s and is a combination vaccine that prevents several different viruses in cats. The FVRCP vaccination protects against a wide array of feline diseases, including Feline Rhinotracheitis (the ‘FR’ portion of the vaccine), Calicivirus (the ‘C’ component), and Panleukopenia (the ‘P’ portion). And, we’re going to talk about why your cat needs it.

In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know about the FVRCP vaccine, including why cats need it and the specific diseases it prevents. Then, we’re discussing the true importance of this vaccine and how you can ensure your cat is up to date.

What is the FVRCP Vaccine?

As we mentioned above, the FVRCP vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against three different diseases that cats can get. Like the rabies vaccine, FVRCP is considered a core vaccine, which means that all cats should receive it as part of their regular healthcare routine. The first dose of this vaccine is typically administered to kittens and continually boosted throughout a cat’s life. 

Why do cats need the FVRCP vaccine?

The FVRCP vaccine is recommended by all veterinarians, and including in the list of core vaccines for cats. This vaccine is recommended for all cats, indoor and outdoor, and is required for social activities, like cat boarding. It’s also helpful for preventing many of the most common diseases that cats get, including:

Feline panleukopenia (FPV)

FPV is a highly contagious virus that can cause diarrhea and vomiting in cats. Before regular vaccination programs, it was a leading cause of death in cats. Nearly all kittens and adult cats come into contact with FPV at some point in their life. It can be through the infected urine, stool, or nasal secretions from infected cats, or from being bitten by a flea that bit an infected cat. Vaccination is the only protection against this virus. 

Calicivirus

Like FPV, Calicivirus is a highly contagious virus in cats. It causes an upper respiratory infection and leads to symptoms, like sneezing, nasal congestion, discharge and swelling in the eyes and nose, and even fever. Cats with calicivirus also often develop ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue, which often causes anorexia. 

Rhinotracheitis 

Feline rhinotracheitis is caused by the herpes virus. Like the herpesvirus in humans, feline rhinotracheitis is highly contagious, and cats who have been infected will be carriers for the rest of their lives. Rhinotracheitis is another type of respiratory infection that typically causes symptoms like nasal congestion and sneezing, excessive discharge from the eyes (which can lead to squinting), and even corneal infections. 

How often do cats need the FVRCP vaccine?

Because cats can contract FVRCP at any age, the vaccine is typically administered as part of the traditional 6-8 week kitten vaccinations. Veterinary experts then recommend that kittens receive three additional booster shots (one every three-ish weeks) until they are 20 weeks old. Your cat will then receive a booster one year later. 

Adult cats should receive a booster vaccine against FVRCP once every three years.  

Why is the FVRCP Vaccine Important?

As we mentioned above, the viruses included in the FVRCP vaccine used to be a major killer of domesticated and wild cats. Vaccination is the single most important thing you can do for your cat. That’s because vaccines cause an immune response in your cat, helping to protect them from the serious illnesses caused by these viruses. And, the FVRCP vaccine is responsible for boosting your cat’s immune system against three!

Are there any cats that should not receive this vaccine?

The FVRCP vaccine is a core vaccine, meaning it is recommended by all cats, even those who never go outside. The viruses that cause these diseases in cats can even be picked up in your vet’s office, so your cat must have some protection. 

If your cat has had a severe reaction to the FVRCP reaction in the past (incredibly rare), consult with your veterinarian about the safest way to continue administering this important vaccination. 

Where Can I Find the FVRCP Vaccine?

Your vet is your best bet for getting this important shot. If you know there will be an appointment coming up soon or if you need another round of shots before then (up to 6 months after the last vaccination), call ahead and see if they have what you need in stock before making an appointment.

You might also want to ask about any other shots that are recommended by your vet but not covered by basic insurance plans; these could cost anywhere from $10-$50 each depending on where you live and how many vaccinations are needed per visit.)

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Conclusion

The FVRCP vaccine is one that you don’t want to skip out on. This preventative form of medicine really could mean the difference between serious illness and a happy, healthy life for your kitty. It should be administered as one of the primary kitten vaccines and should be boosted every three years in adult cats. Do you remember the last time your cat received their vaccine? Contact your vet today to ensure they are up to date and keep them protected for life. 

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