The FVRCPC vaccine for cats is often called the “cat distemper vaccine.” It is not the same thing as the distemper vaccine that dogs get, but it is just as important to help keep your cat healthy.
FVRCPC Vaccine for Cats
All cats should get a FVRCPC vaccine in their annual vaccines. This vaccine is sometimes called “cat distemper,” but it does not protect against the same diseases that the dog distemper vaccine does. The diseases the FVRCPC vaccine protects against are four common diseases that cats can get. Each letter stands for a disease that the vaccine protects your cat from.
FVR – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis is an upper respiratory disease caused by a herpes virus. This is a common disease in kittens. Cats with FVR infections will have a runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Once a cat is infected, the herpes virus stays in their body in a dormant stage. During times of stress or illness, the signs of the infection can show again. Some cats will develop chronic watery eyes after a FVR infection.
C – Calicivirus
Calicivirus causes another upper respiratory disease in cats, mainly in kittens. The signs are similar to Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes), but are usually less severe. Calicivirus can also cause sores in the mouth and on the tongue, making eating and drinking painful.
P – Panleukopenia
Panleukopenia is a very contagious viral disease caused by Feline Panleukopenia Virus. This is sometimes called “cat distemper,” since it can show similar signs to distemper in dogs, but it is a different disease. Cats with panleukopenia will be lethargic (tired), have a poor (or no) appetite, fever, vomiting, and severe diarrhea. This disease is difficult to treat, and is often fatal.
C – Chlamydia
Chlamydia is caused by a bacteria (not the same one that causes problems in people). In cats, a Chlamydia infection causes mainly eye problems, and can also cause upper respiratory problems. Eye problems associated with a Chlamydia infection include conjunctivitis (the pink parts of the eyelids get red and swollen), watery or thick white discharge from the eyes, and runny nose. Some cats may also may also sneeze, cough, or in rare cases have trouble breathing.
Your cat should be vaccinated with the FVRCPC vaccine beginning when he is a kitten. We recommend a FVRCPC vaccine every 4 weeks, beginning at 8 weeks old and finishing between 16-20 weeks old. Then your cat should be vaccinated every year with his annual physical examination.
Other Recommended Vaccines
In addition to an FVRCPC vaccine, your cat should also be vaccinated against rabies. By law, all cats must be vaccinated against rabies. Depending on your cat’s lifestyle, we may also recommend additional vaccines. Cats who go outdoors, or have any possible contact with other cats, should also be vaccinated against Feline Leukemia.