Attention cat owners: Deadly cat virus confirmed in area

Sunday, October 6, 2019
Courtesy photo

All cat owners must be aware that there has been an increased incidence of Feline Panleukopenia (distemper) in the cat population in Clay county. In the past week, we at Four Loving Paws have had 5 confirmed cases. Panleukopenia is a virus that can be fatal to cats. Kittens are at a higher risk of contracting this often-fatal virus. There is a vaccine which is routinely part of most vaccine protocols but if your cat contracts the virus before he is fully vaccinated, the vaccine will not stop the virus from running its course.

Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and often a high fever or even a subnormal temperature. Not all cats with Panleukopenia have all the symptoms but if your cat has any of these symptoms, please see your veterinarian as soon as possible. This is a highly contagious virus and can live in the environment for a year. The virus can be spread by stool, saliva, urine and it can be carried on your hands, clothes, and shoes. The incubation period (the time from exposure to clinical signs) is 2-14 days with most cats showing symptoms in 5-7 days. Cats with panleukopenia can shed virus before symptoms show and for up to 6 weeks after they recover.

This highly contagious disease is also known as Feline parvovirus (FPV). Canine parvovirus developed from this strain of feline virus. One of the diagnostic tests your veterinarian can perform to see if your cat has Panleukopenia is a CBC (complete Blood Count) to check the level of white blood cells. Along with a CBC, your veterinarian may use the canine parvo test to confirm Feline parvovirus. As with canine parvovirus, feline panleukopenia can progress quickly and be fatal within 1-2 days of the first symptom.

The best chance for survival for your cat if he contacts this virus is supportive care that may include iv fluids and medications. Please contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat may have been exposed to Feline Panleukopenia.

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