Vaccination plays a vital role in protecting cats from infectious diseases, some of which are potentially fatal. Many diseases can be prevented through vaccination. A vaccination schedule prepared by your veterinarian can greatly contribute to good health and a longer life for your cat.
The most common type of polyvalent vaccine that cats receive is the PRC vaccine. It vaccinates against Feline panleukopenia, feline viral rhinotracheitis, and feline calicivirus.
Let’s talk a little about these 3 diseases and how can they affect cats.
Feline panleukopenia virus is a species of parvovirus that can infect all wild and domestic cats worldwide. It is a highly contagious, severe infection that causes gastrointestinal, immune system, and nervous system disease. The infection is highly contagious among unvaccinated cats. Free-roaming cats are thought to be exposed to the virus during their first year of life but they can get infected later in life also. An infected cat sheds large amounts of virus in all body secretions including feces, vomit, urine, saliva, and mucus during the acute phase of illness. The virus can be carried or transferred on an infected object like bedding, food dishes, fur, clothes, other objects that came in contact with an infected cat, but also by other animals, fleas, and even humans.
Clinical signs usually develop in 4–6 days after exposure, but can also show in 2 to 14 days. Primary signs include: anorexia, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting. Other signs include: fever, dehydration, abdominal pain, nasal discharge and conjunctivitis. Cats may also sit at a water bowl, but not drink. Cats suffering with this infection have a survival rate of about 50% when they receive all the necessary treatments.
The virus is extremely resistant to inactivation and can survive for longer than one year in a suitable environment.
Feline viral rhinotracheitis is an upper respiratory or pulmonary infection of cats. This is very contagious and can cause severe disease, including death from pneumonia in young kittens. Young unvaccinated kittens are more likely to make get this infection but adult cats can get it also.
FVR is transmitted through direct contact only. The virus is shed in saliva and eye and nasal secretions. Most disinfectants, antiseptics and detergents are effective against the virus. The virus can survive up to 18 hours in a damp environment.
Initial signs of FVR include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, fever and loss of appetite. These usually resolve within four to seven days with the proper treatments, but secondary bacterial infections can cause the persistence of clinical signs for weeks. Corneal ulceration can also appear at an infected cat.
Feline calicivirus – Feline calicivirus infection is a common respiratory disease in cats. The virus attacks the respiratory tract (nasal passages and lungs), the mouth (with ulceration of the tongue), the intestines and the musculoskeletal system. It is highly communicable in unvaccinated cats. Cats typically acquire feline calicivirus (FCV) after coming into contact with other infected cats,
Signs of FCV include fever, conjunctivitis, nasal discharge, sneezing, and ulceration of the mouth especially on the tongue.
The best thing that you can do for your cat is to prevent all these diseases is to vaccinate your cat. The most simple vaccine for cats will protect your cat and it might save the cat’s life.