Feline panleukopenia (FP) is a highly contagious virus that can be found virtually everywhere, making nearly all kittens and cats susceptible. Also called feline infection enteritis (FIE), feline distemper or feline parvovirus infection (FPV), panleukopenia is so-called because one result of infection is a low white blood cell count.
Panleukopenia is spread between cats through nasal secretions, urine and fecal matter, but also by human touch — a person caring for a kitten or cat with FP can transmit the virus to other cats through clothing or unwashed hands. The virus is resistant to most disinfectants, and can be found on contaminated food dishes, bedding and grooming equipment, making isolation of an infected cat essential. Protective clothing and careful hand-washing are also necessary. Because it is so easily transmitted, pet shops, kennels, animal shelters and feral cat colonies are especially vulnerable to panleukopenia.
A pregnant cat with the disease can transmit it to her young; the kittens may seem normal when born but could soon exhibit uncoordinated behavior, a result of the virus attacking the brain. Kittens infected with FP are unlikely to recover from the often deadly disease. Other signs a cat is infected with the virus include sudden and severe vomiting, diarrhea, confusion and depression.
Due to the high mortality rate, its ability to spread and resistance to antiseptics, vaccination is vital. There are no cures for panleukopenia once infected, making prevention the only option in ensuring a cat does not contract the virus. Contact us today to confirm your cat has received his preventive treatment.