What are all these letters and vaccinations about anyway? FVRCP, FELV, FIP,... and on and on - what is my cat getting? Do they need these vaccinations? Read on, and we'll talk about all those letters.
First of all, yes, vaccinations are important. We prevent many diseases and deaths with good vaccination programs. Also, passing of contagious diseases (such as Rabies) to humans has been practically eliminated by effective vaccination programs.
Keep in mind though, as important as vaccinations are, many other diseases can and do affect our pets, so your #1 method of insuring a long and happy life for your pet is the annual wellness examination! Because our pets age 7 years for every one human year, annual physical examinations are extremely important!
Now, let's talk about the diseases we vaccinate for:
Distemper (panleukopenia) is a viral disease that can sauce vomiting, diarrhea, and death. It is commonly included in a kitten's core vaccines.
Respiratory Viruses include Rhino and Calici virus disease. These diseases are common in kittens and often seen in adult cats. Because many kittens infected will have relapses their entire life, early vaccination is important. Signs include runny eyes, sneezing, and plugged nostrils - signs similar to human flu (but this is not contagious to humans). This is a core vaccine
Feline Leukemia is a devastating viral disease of kittens and adult cats. This virus requires close contact such as grooming or fighting, and is usually fatal. This is not considered a core vaccine, because single, indoor cats are not at risk. However, it is very important for outdoor cats, or cats in multicat households!
Rabies is a virus disease that affects all warm-blooded mammals (including dogs, horses, and humans). It is caught after exposure to an infected animal - usually a rabid fox, coyote, skunk, or bat. Vaccination is required for all dogs in Arizona, and definitely recommended for all cats because of the potential spread to its owner!
Bordetella is a "kennel cough" of cats. It usually causes sneezing and mild respiratory disease. It is extremely important for cats that run outside, are in a multicat household, or that are boarded in a boarding kennel.
F.I.P. is a viral disease that almost always is fatal after clinical signs occur. Although a vaccine is available, it's effectiveness is questionable. It is recommended by some Veterinarians, and not by others. Discus this with your Veterinarian.