pet care feline vaccines3-Way / RCP:

The 3-way Vaccine (also called RCP or FVRCP) covers Feline Panleukopenia (also called Feline Distemper), Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis and Calicivirus. These are highly contagious airborne diseases. General symptoms include listlessness, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing, runny eyes, and runny nose. Cats become infected by direct exposure to infected individuals. Once infected, many cats never completely rid themselves of the viruses. These carrier cats can shed viruses for long periods of time, perhaps for life, and serve as a major source of infection to other cats.


The Rabies Vaccine protects against the rabies virus, which enters the body through a break in the skin – often a bite from an infected animal. Rabies is contagious to all land mammals, including humans. Because of the potential for human exposure, rabies vaccination is recommended for all cats and is required by law in the state of Maine.

“My cat is strictly indoors, why do I have to vaccinate against rabies?”

While indoor cats have a lesser chance of coming into contact with a rabid animal, it is not impossible. On a regular basis we get reports of “indoor only” cats who become lost outside. Also if your cat happened to escape and fight with another animal or bite someone the state could require a quarantine, which can be emotionally and financially costly.

Even if your kitty never takes a step out of your home there is always a risk of the outside coming in. It is very common for bats to make their way into houses and apartment buildings. We have clients that have had rabies-positive bats in their homes.

“Why does The Cat Doctor vaccinate for rabies annually, instead of every 3 years?”

We use the PureVax Rabies vaccine made by Merial. This vaccine is only approved to cover one year by the state of Maine. We use the PureVax vaccine because the 3-year rabies vaccine uses a substance called an adjuvant to help stimulate an immune response. This substance has been linked to a particular type of tumor, called a fibrosarcoma. Fibrosarcomas are aggressive and highly infiltrative tumors which can require extensive surgery and even amputation to treat and control. We would like to avoid these at all costs.

Feline Leukemia:

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is a retrovirus that causes immunosuppression in cats. The virus is spread in the saliva and nasal secretions of infected cats; infection is transmitted through prolonged contact with infected cats, bite wounds, and from an infected mother cat to her kittens. Outdoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, and cats exposed to such individuals are at greatest risk of exposure to FeLV. Younger cats are more susceptible to infection and resistance increases as cats mature. The most important time for the FeLV vaccine is kittenhood and often we stop giving the vaccine after the age of 10.


Information for this page was gathered from:
Veterinary Information Network website; Copyright 2011 - 2013 by the Veterinary Information Network, Inc. All rights reserved.
Cornell Feline Health Center website, prepared by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Cornell Feline Health Center; ©2002 by Cornell University. All rights reserved.