The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - PETS - Dr Emily Payne BVMS, Greencross Vets WO R D S : VE T EM I LY PAY N E

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.

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