The FVRCP vaccines protects Kitty from a host of diseases. While the F stands for feline, the VR is for viral rhinotracheitis, a herpes virus causing upper respiratory ailments. The C is for calicivirus, usually affecting the eyes, nose and mouth. P is for panleukopenia, better known as feline distemper.
The FVRCP intranasal vaccine protects cats against what veterinarians refer to as "the distemper complex." However, your cat still needs an injectable version of the vaccine, which can be given at the same time as the intranasal type. That's because the modified live virus used in the intranasal vaccine might not provide adequate protection against panleukopenia. If you're concerned about reactions at injection sites and the possibility of sarcoma, speak with your vet.
While kittens generally receive this vaccine between the ages of six and eight weeks, kittens in animal shelters may receive it as early as four weeks, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine's shelter medicine vaccination protocols. Kittens in shelters need this early protection due to the prevalence of various diseases in the shelter environment. Your vet administers the FVRCP intranasal vaccine via a 0.2 millimeter dose delivered into both nostrils. Only healthy cats or kittens should receive the vaccine.
Side effects for the intranasal FVRCP vaccine are generally mild. Kitty might sneeze for a few days, a reaction to the intranasal application. He might seem depressed or even throw up, and could develop sores on his nose or mouth. On rare occasions, cats develop the actual diseases the vaccine is supposed to protect them from, because the intranasal vaccine contains live virus. If Kitty vomits a great deal, has trouble breathing or experiences a high fever, take him to the vet as soon as possible.
If your cat receives the FVRCP vaccinations along with annual boosters, he won't suffer from the pneumonia caused by feline viral rhinotracheitis. Panoleukopenia, often fatal, resembles the deadly parvo virus in dogs. The mortality rate in kittens is as much as 90 percent. He'll avoid the calicivirus, with the oral ulcers and eye sores it entails. While calicivirus isn't as deadly as the other two diseases the FVRCP protects against, in worst-case scenarios it causes pneumonia and can kill kittens and immune-suppressed or aged cats.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.