- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis – Feline viral rhinotracheitis is a respiratory disease spread by the coughing and sneezing of infected cats. Symptoms include sneezing, discharge from the eyes and nose, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Kittens and old cats are more susceptible and the disease is usually more severe in these cats. Death is not common from feline viral rhinotracheitis but it can permanently damage the nasal passages causing a lifetime of sneezing.
Calcivirus – is another respiratory disease spread by the coughing and sneezing of other cats. Symptoms include oral ulcers, cold-like symptoms, fever, and loss of appetite. Calcivirus may also lead to pneumonia. This disease is usually not fatal but can be dangerous to kittens.
Panleukopenia – Sometimes known as “feline distemper”, Panleukopenia produces similar symptoms to canine distemper but is not caused by the same virus. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea which may be bloody. The disease is spread by contact with the urine or feces of an infected cat or by contact with contaminated objects such a food bowls, shoes, and litter boxes. The disease is almost always fatal in kittens and is very dangerous to adults as well.
Chlamydia – Chlamydia is a bacterial upper respiratory disease. The main symptom is conjunctivitis, an abnormal eye discharge. Other symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. Chlamydia is spread by direct or indirect contact with the upper respiratory secretions of infected cats. Although the disease is not usually severe, complete recovery may not occur.
The five vaccines above are commonly combined and given as one. This combination of vaccines is frequently referred to as the feline distemper combination. It is also known as FVRCPC for the letters in each disease it protects against.
- Rabies – Rabies is a very serious disease transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, usually through a bite wound. Although any mammal can contract rabies, raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and bats are the main reservoirs of the disease. Rabies affects the central nervous system, producing symptoms such as erratic behavior, aggression, seizures, inability to swallow, and paralysis of the jaw and throat. Eventually paralysis spreads to other parts of the body and the animal enters a coma and dies. This fatal disease is contagious to humans so it is very important to vaccinate yearly for rabies. It is Georgia law that all dogs, cats, and ferrets receive a yearly rabies vaccine.
- Feline leukemia – This disease is responsible for more feline deaths than any other disease. The virus is transmitted through infected saliva and spreads to the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and intestinal tissue. Feline leukemia inhibits the immune system leaving cats open to secondary diseases and cancers which they will eventually die from. There is no cure for feline leukemia and it is difficult to predict how long an infected cat will live. The life span of a cat with feline leukemia may be weeks or even years. 50% of infected cats remain alive after two years while only 15% of infected cats remain alive after four years. Outside cats are particularly susceptible to feline leukemia.