FELINE PAWLY? IT’S IMPORTANT TO VACCINATE
Most people are aware of the deadly parvovirus in dogs, but did you know there is a cat version as well? Feline panleukopenia is caused by a parvovirus specific to cats. The disease is not common, however, in the past couple of years there have been three outbreaks of this disease in Victoria leading to the deaths of around 200 cats.
The virus affects the bone marrow and intestines in kittens and adult cats leading to low white-blood cell levels, vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and dehydration.
It can also cause abortion and stillbirths in pregnant cats, and brain disease in kittens which are infected while still in the uterus.
Some kittens affected very early in life may just suddenly die with no real signs of illness.
Similar to parvo in dogs, there is no specific treatment for feline panleukopenia so we rely on supportive treatment such as fluids, antibiotics and drugs to stop vomiting, and then hope the cat’s immune system can kill the virus before it is too late.
The good news is, the vaccine we routinely use in our cats (the “F3” vaccine) is protective against feline panleukopenia. It is essential you ensure your adult cat maintains its routine vaccinations to keep it protected. If you get a new kitten, follow your vet’s recommendation for a full course of vaccinations.