Understanding Feline Vaccines

Some very important vaccines consist of:

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis Calicivirus Panleukopenia


 FVR: Rhinotracheitis

  • Highly contagious severe upper respiratory infection (caused by a feline type 1, herpes virus).
  • Most severe in young kittens and older cats and is one of the most serious upper respiratory diseases seen in the feline species.
  • The virus is airborne and very contagious in susceptible animals.


  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Discharge from the nostrils and eyes
  • High temperature
  • Little to no appetite
  • Dehydration and weight loss


  • Hospitalization, intravenous fluids and intensive care to help them get over the infection.

C: Calicivirus

  • Can cause a range of diseases, from mild infection to life-threatening pneumonia.
  • Most cases show only evidence of problems in the mouth, nasal passages and the conjunctiva (mucus membranes) of the eyes.
  • The disease is transmitted by direct contact with an infected cat or object (bowl, cage, blanket etc.).
  • The virus can survive eight to ten days in the environment. Carrier cats can pass the virus to the environment for up to a year.


  • Loss of appetite
  • Elevated temperature and lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Oral and eye ulcers and discharge from the eyes
  • May cause rapid death in young kittens and older cats


  • Treatment is based on the individual case. Mostly just symptoms are treated.
  • This is a lifelong virus that will come and go throughout the cat’s life.

P: Panleukopenia

(Also known as feline distemper and infectious feline enteritis, similar to parvovirus in dogs)

  • This is a highly contagious disease with a high mortality rate.
  • The disease is very resistant and may remain infectious in the environment for up to a year.


  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • A blood count usually shows a lowered number of white blood cells, a fact which helps in diagnosing the infection


  • Infected cats are usually hospitalized with intensive treatments such as intravenous fluids, antibiotics and supportive care.
  • Mortality rate may reach 90% in young kittens under six months, and may approach 50% in older animals.

FELUK: Leukemia

  • A disease that impairs the cat’s immune system and causes certain types of cancer.
  • Is responsible for the majority of deaths in household cats.
  • Usually seen between the ages of 1-6 years old.
  • Can be transmitted to other cats through transfer of saliva or nasal secretions.


  • Pale gums
  • Weight loss and/or loss of appetite
  • Poor coat condition
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulty


  • There is no cure for feline leukemia.
  • Secondary infections can be treated as they appear.


  • A viral disease that can infect all warm-blooded animals including humans.
  • Contracted by bite or scratch from an infected animal.
  • Rabies has been recognized and described since 2300 BC.
  • Incubation period between a bite from an infected animal and the appearance of symptoms can vary from ten days to one year or longer.
  • Death usually occurs within ten days from the first signs.
  • Rabies can only be diagnosed by direct examinations of the brain.
  • It is not possible to diagnose this disease in a living animal.


  • Following a bite or scratch from a rabid animal, the disease progresses in stages.
  • First stage – marked change in temperament; quiet animals become agitated and can become aggressive, while extroverts become nervous or shy.
  • Second stage – known as “furious rabies” – becomes increasingly nervous, irritable and vicious. Muscle spasms will often prevent swallowing and there is excessive drooling of saliva.
  • Third Stage – known as “paralytic stage” – usually occurs after seven days. Ultimately the animal will become comatose and die.


  • There is no treatment for Rabies.
  • If an animal is suspected to have rabies, it has to be kept in isolation to prevent escape and injuring someone else.
  • Your veterinarian is required by law to notify the animal disease regulatory authorities.


**Vaccines are very effective in preventing all of these diseases**

Written by CCR Julie