Vaccinations for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpesvirus-1), Feline Calicivirus, and Feline Panleukopenia Virus are often given as a combination vaccine, known as “FVRCP”. These vaccines are considered “core vaccines”, as they are the most important diseases of cats and young kittens. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), it is recommended that kittens be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks of age, and then every 3-4 weeks for 2 more doses. A booster should be given at 1 year of age, and no less frequently than every 3 years thereafter.”
The following is a brief explanation of the viruses:
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpesvirus-1):
Feline Herpesvirus-1 is a very infectious viral respiratory disease that often results in chronic, long-term infection with intermittent flare-ups. It is spread quite easily through respiratory/airborne secretions and by direct contact with an infected cat or fomites (contaminated objects). This disease is therefore very common in areas with many unvaccinated kittens housed in close proximity, such as rescues and animal shelters. Very young kittens, older cats, and all unvaccinated cats are considered to be the highest risk.
Feline Calicivirus is another very common viral respiratory infection, which often results in ulceration of the mucosal tissues of the mouth and oral pain. It is spread by direct contact with an infected cat or by fomites. Unvaccinated and inadequately vaccinated cats of all ages are at the highest risk.
Feline Panleukopenia Virus:
Feline Panleukopenia Virus is another very important viral disease in cats. It is often called feline distemper, although it is more closely related to the Canine Parvovirus. It is a highly infectious disease of the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, and nervous system. This virus often presents with severe lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. It causes a severe decrease in a kitten or adult cat’s white blood cell count, which makes it hard for the body to defend against disease. This virus can live in the environment for extended periods of time. It is spread by direct contact with infected cats or by fomites. Unvaccinated and inadequately vaccinated cats of all ages are at the highest risk.