Our last blog was all about canine vaccinations and how important they are. Well, it’s only fair to emphasize just how important feline vaccines are as well. We emphasize three vaccines here at MVH for cats. They are: rabies, FeLV, and FVRCP. The rabies vaccine works the same way as it does for dogs. If you want a refresher on the rabies vaccine check out our last post on canine vaccination.
FeLV is the Feline Leukemia Virus, this virus is the second leading cause of death to cats after trauma. The virus commonly causes anemia or lymphoma, but because it suppresses the immune system, it can also predispose cats to deadly infections. FeLV is passed from one cat to another through saliva, blood, and to some extent, urine and feces.Grooming and fighting are the most common ways for infection to spread. Kittens can contract the disease in utero or through an infected mother’s milk. The disease is often spread by apparently healthy cats, so even if a cat appears healthy, it may be be infected and able to transmit the virus. Vaccinating against this disease is a great idea for cats that are at a high risk of exposure, such as those who go outside or live in shelters or catteries.
FVRCP is an acronym for the mainstay of cat vaccines. It is also known at the feline distemper vaccine. The FVR stands for feline rhinotracheitis virus (feline herpes virus This is a virus is an extremely common cause of infectious respiratory diseases and often results in chronic life-long, infection with intermittent recurrences causing respiratory and sometimes eye disease. It is spread easily through airborne respiratory secretions and direct contact with a carrier cat or contaminated objects. Unvaccinated cats are most susceptible as well as the very young and the very old.
The C stands for Calicivirus, another common virus that causes an infectious respiratory disease, as well as mouth sores that can result in severe pain. It is spread by direct contact with an infected cat or by contact with contaminated objects. The virus is very resistant to disinfectants and easily persists in the environment. Unvaccinated and inadequately vaccinated cats of all ages are at risk
Finally, the P stands for Panleukopenia
This causes a severe, highly infectious and sometimes fatal disease of the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system and the nervous system. The disease is named for the characteristic severe decrease in white blood cells, the body’s defense against disease. The virus is very persistent in the environment. It spreads by direct contact with infected cats or by contact with viral particles in the environment. Unvaccinated and inadequately vaccinated cats of all ages are at risk.
Again, it is extremely important for all pets to be vaccinated. Even if your cat is an indoor cat, there is always the small possibility that something could go awry and your feline friend could make it outside and around other cats that could potentially carry one or all of these viruses. Feel free to call us if you have any more questions, or ask us about testing for FelV.