FVRCP Vaccine

The FVRCP vaccine is a combination vaccine, meaning it contains vaccines for multiple diseases in one injection. These are Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP). It is given in a series of 3-4 injections to kittens starting at 6-8 weeks of age, and then a booster is given 1 year after the final kitten shot. After that this combo shot is given every 3 years to most cats. FVRCP is considered a core vaccine, meaning that it should be given to all cats no matter what their lifestyle is. These viruses are all potentially airborne and can be transmitted via indirect contact, so even an indoor only cat can become exposed. The following should serve to better describe the diseases covered by this vaccine and explain why your NYC cat could be at risk. Rhinotracheitis - Rhinotracheitis is an upper respiratory disease of cats caused by herpesvirus-1. Most people and veterinarians commonly refer to this virus simply as feline herpes. Similar to other herpes viruses, once exposed a cat never gets rid of this virus and can either carry the virus without symptoms or “break” with symptoms during times of stress. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, ocular discharge and inflammation of the tissue around the eye. In fact, this virus is the most common cause of conjunctivitis in cats. Some cats can become lethargic and weak with loss of appetite. Cats with mild symptoms may recover from their symptoms without any specific treatment. Many cats with this disease will be treated with topical or oral anti-virals or antibiotics. Young or immunosuppressed cats can develop pneumonia, which can require hospitalization and even result in death. Feline herpes is spread via saliva or discharge from the eyes and nose. Cats become infected through direct contact with an infected cat or via indirect contact (i.e. contaminated objects such as food bowls, bedding and clothing). Cats from shelters, multicat households or those that board frequently are at greatest risk of exposure. Feline herpes can be transmitted to any domestic or wild cat, but cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs. Calicivirus - Calicivirus is another common respiratory disease in cats. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge and congestion, ocular discharge and conjunctivitis. This virus can also cause oral ulcers, stomatitis, lameness, pneumonia and fever. Calicivirus is spread via direct or indirect contact with contaminated bodily fluids (saliva, nasal and ocular discharge). Sick cats are generally treated with supportive care and antibiotics for secondary infections. Severe cases can require hospitalization. Calicivirus is seen more commonly in cats from multicat facilities, shelters and catteries. Young kittens are at highest risk of infection. The virus can be transmitted to any domestic or wild cat, but humans and dogs are not at risk of infection. Panleukopenia - Panleukopenia is a virus that can cause severe gastrointestinal disease in cats, most often young unvaccinated kittens. It is commonly referred to as feline distemper, although the disease more closely resembles parvovirus in dogs and is actually caused by a similar virus. Symptoms of panleukopenia include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. The onset of this disease can be quick and even cause sudden death in young kittens or senior cats. Treatment consists of intense supportive care due to the potential severity of the disease. Panleukopenia is spread via direct or indirect contact with secretions from an infected animal. The virus itself is very resistant and can persist for up to one year in the environment. Cats from shelters, rural areas or those who go outside are at greatest risk of infection. Minks, ferrets, raccoons and wild cats can all carry the virus and can act as a potential wildlife reservoir for this disease. Panleukopenia cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs.

FeLV Vaccine

FeLV stands for feline leukemia virus. This vaccine is recommended for cats that go outside. Indoor only cats are not at risk of infection with this virus unless they live with a FeLV positive cat. The virus itself is a retrovirus that causes immune deficiency and blood disorders. Infected cats are prone to infections and certain types of cancer (namely lymphoma and leukemia). Some cats can be asymptomatic carriers of this virus (FeLV). Others can live with the virus for quite some time before becoming sick. However, once they do become sick it is difficult to treat them due to their already weakened immune systems. Common symptoms include fever, decreased appetite, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes and weight loss. Treatment depends on the type and severity of illness. Cats become infected with FeLV through prolonged close contact with an infected cat or through a bite wound. Therefore outdoor cats or those that live with a FeLV positive cat are at greatest risk. The virus is not transmissible to humans or dogs. The veterinarians at The Vet Set can help you decide the right treatment for your cat.

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is considered a core vaccine, meaning that it should be given to all dogs and cats no matter what their lifestyle is. State law also requires Rabies vaccinations for all dogs and cats in New York. The following should serve to better describe this disease, why we vaccinate against it and explain why your NYC dog or cat could be at risk. The Rabies vaccine is first given to puppies and kittens around 3 months of age (12 weeks). A booster is then given one year later, and thereafter, a Rabies vaccine should be administered every 3 years to adult dogs. Adult cats receive Rabies vaccine boosters every 1-3 years depending on the type of vaccine used. Rabies is a virus that affects the central nervous system of mammals. Symptoms of Rabies in an animal include fever, excessive salivation, behavior change, muscle spasms and paralysis. In the early stages of the disease, wild animals may become unusually tame or less fearful of humans, while domestic animals may become more aggressive. The infected animal will then become progressively more sick and death occurs within 10 days. The Rabies virus is typically spread from an infected animal to a pet via bite wounds. However, transmission can occur from direct contact of infected saliva with mucous membranes (i.e. mouth, nose or eyes). The most common animals that spread the Rabies virus to domestic animals and humans in this country are the skunk, bat, raccoon, fox and coyote. Fortunately for us in New York City, many smaller mammals, such as rats, mice and squirrels, are unlikely to be infected with the Rabies virus. Rabies has been found in animals in all five boroughs, with the majority of these animals being raccoons. However, stray cats in the area have also tested positive for the Rabies virus. Despite advancements in modern medical care, Rabies remains nearly untreatable, especially once symptoms develop. Animals exposed to this virus will typically become sick within one to three months. However, in some cases it can take up to one year after exposure for a dog to become sick with the disease. Once symptoms appear, the affected animal declines rapidly and the virus eventually results in death. Because humans can also be exposed to the Rabies virus by infected wildlife or pets, the disease poses a significant public health concern. This is why vaccinating all dogs and cats is mandatory by law in New York State. It is also important that any animal bites are reported to the correct authorities. If a dog or cat bites you, contact the NYC Health Department. If a wild animal bites your dog or cat, call 311 to arrange for capture and testing of the animal. In this situation, it’s also important to call your veterinarian so that we can give a Rabies booster to your animal. In both of these cases the pet will need to be quarantined, either at home or at a veterinary hospital, to be sure it does not show symptoms of Rabies.

Bordetella Vaccine

Bordetella is a bacterium that causes upper respiratory infection in dogs. It is one of the more common causes of “kennel cough” and the vaccine is therefore often required by daycare and boarding facilities. Some groomers will also require the vaccine. Bordetella causes a dry cough, often with retching. The cough is typically described as having a “honking” sound. Most mild cases will resolve within one to two weeks without treatment. However, some dogs can develop secondary infections or pneumonia and require treatment. Bordetella, like the other causes of kennel cough, is highly contagious. It is easily spread through respiratory secretions in the air or via direct contact with an infected dog. If your dog is a regular at daycare, boarding facilities, dog parks, or groomers, the Vet Set recommends vaccinating her for Bordetella. The vaccine can be given in home yearly unless it is required every 6 months by your boarding facility.

Leptospirosis Vaccine

Leptospirosis is a potentially fatal infectious disease that was once thought to mainly affect hunting dogs or dogs in more rural environments. However, it appears to be affecting more urban dogs in recent years and should therefore be on our radar here in New York City. The following should help to describe the disease itself and help you understand how to best protect your beloved pup from exposure. Leptospirosis (commonly referred to as “Lepto”) is a bacterium that causes significant kidney and liver damage and can be fatal. Symptoms of Lepto infection include increased thirst, lethargy, vomiting and decreased appetite. The bacteria are passed in the urine of infected animals, so dogs can become exposed via ingestion of contaminated standing water, ground soil or via swimming. Lepto can also enter via an abrasion or wound in the skin. The disease can affect a number of different animals with the most common carriers in this area being the rat, raccoon and opossum. Dogs who become infected with Lepto typically require aggressive treatment with antibiotics and IV fluids. Some even need dialysis to prevent their kidneys from shutting down all together. Humans can also acquire and become ill from Leptospirosis and tend to become infected through the same route as dogs (exposure to contaminated water or urine). Although less common, humans can also pick up this infection from an infected dog, so caution is needed when handling a dog with known infection. Cases of Lepto have been reported in all five boroughs of New York City. It is therefore important to prevent your dog from having contact with rodents and small wild animals and not allowing her to drink from puddles and other sources of standing water. There is a vaccination for Lepto that is safe and effective. The veterinarians at The Vet Set recommend vaccination against Leptospirosis for most dogs in NYC.

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