Feline distemper is commonly called panleukopenia. This disease is very serious and usually proves to be fatal. Household cats rarely contract this disease since they tend to be vaccinated against it.

Cause

The virus that causes distemper in cats is commonly found in the wild. Coming into contact with infected urine or feces is one of the main ways cats contract this virus. Cats infected with the virus can shed it in their urine and stool up to six weeks after getting over the illness themselves. The virus can also be harbored in litter boxes, clothing, food dishes, and bedding.

Symptoms

Cats infected with feline distemper will display a variety of symptoms. Diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and seizures are some of the most common signs. It’s also common for cats to stop eating. After contracting the virus, felines start to exhibit these symptoms after about five days.

Treatment

This disease can easily be fatal to kittens and younger cats. Supportive care is the main course of treatment. Dehydration is a common problem, so intravenous fluids are given to combat it. Blood transfusions may be required in severe cases. Antibiotics may also be given to deal with secondary bacterial infections.

Prevention

It takes years for the virus that causes this disease to die in the environment. Many common disinfectants aren’t strong enough to kill it either. A solution of bleach and water will be enough to kill the virus if exposed for more than ten minutes. If your cat has been given his regular shots, he will be protected against this disease.

Author: Darrin Swain