The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Feline Panleukopenia, Often Referred to as Feline Distemper, is an Extremely Contagious and Often Fatal Disease of Cats The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Feline Panleukopenia, Often Referred to as Feline Distemper, is an Extremely Contagious and Often Fatal Disease of Cats

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Feline Panleukopenia, Often Referred to as Feline Distemper, is an Extremely Contagious and Often Fatal Disease of Cats


Feline Panleukopenia often referred to as feline distemper, is an extremely contagious and often fatal disease of cats. It can also infect non-domestic felidae and other animals such as raccoons and certain members of the weasel family such as mink. It does not affect dogs.

What are the causes of panleukopenia?
Feline panleukopenia is caused by a virus closely related to canine parvovirus infection (some strains of canine parvovirus can infect cats) and like parvovirus of dogs the virus can persist in the environment for a year or more. Once a commonly seen disease, parvovirus is now relatively uncommon in large part because most domestic cats are vaccinated and the vaccine is very effective. Nonetheless, the disease persists among unvaccinated cats. As is the case with parvovirus in dogs, the feline form of the disease is transmitted in bodily fluids and can persist in the environment. Transmission (on shoes and clothing) and environmental contamination can be greatly reduced with simple hygiene1.

What are the signs of feline panleukopenia?
The disease occurs primarily in young cats and kittens and causes severe depression and lethargy as well as high fever and severe vomiting and diarrhea. Affected cats have a very low white blood cell count (hence the name panleukopenia). Many cats undergo a subclinical infection and do not show signs at all. Not all exposed cats become clinically ill but exposed cats as well as cats that survive the full-blown disease have long-term immunity after their infection.

How can cats become infected by feline panleukopenia?
The route of infection is primarily oral and nasal. The virus quickly enters the blood stream and spreads to all parts of the body. The clinical disease is frequently fatal with a mortality rate as high as 75 percent. Complete recovery can take several weeks2.

How is feline panleukopenia diagnosed?
A presumptive diagnosis can be made based on clinical history and clinical signs as well as a very low white blood count. More sophisticated tests may be employed in large outbreaks but are not generally needed.

What are the treatments for feline panleukopenia?
Because this is a viral disease, treatment is largely based on the symptoms until the patient begins to recover. The most severe symptoms occur in the first 5-7 days.

What is the prognosis with feline panleukopenia?
Unfortunately, as many as 75 percent of patients may not survive feline panleukopenia and the virus can increase the potential of secondary infections including chronic respiratory viruses.

How can feline panleukopenia be prevented?
There is a very effective and very safe vaccine available that has significantly reduced the incidence of panleukopenia. All cats should be vaccinated in accordance with the recommendations of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and your veterinarian.

As with many diseases the answer lies in early and complete prevention by means of effective vaccination procedures. Be sure to discuss this and other vaccine recommendations as part of your cats overall wellness program.

Source: Pet Health Network FOLLOW US!
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