Feline panleukopenia or also called feline parvovirus is one of the most common and deadly diseases that cats can suffer from. In this article, we tell you more details about this disease.
What is feline panleukopenia?
Feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cats. It is also known as feline parvovirus because the virus that causes it belongs to the same family of viruses as canine parvovirus. This disease can be deadly, especially in young cats and those with compromised immune systems.
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How is it contagious?
It is spread primarily through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, such as feces, urine, saliva, blood, and nasal and eye secretions from cats infected with the virus. The disease can also be transmitted by contaminated objects, such as clothing, food dishes, litter boxes, and cages, that have been in contact with infected cats.
Newborn kittens can contract the disease if their mother is infected, either during pregnancy or while nursing, because the virus can be transmitted through the placenta and breast milk.
It is important to note that the feline panleukopenia virus is highly resistant and can survive for months in the environment, making the disease highly contagious and difficult to control in cat communities, animal shelters, and catteries.
Symptoms of panleukopenia in cats
Feline panleukopenia, also known as "feline parvo," is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cats. The symptoms of panleukopenia in cats can vary, but the most common are:
Loss of appetite
Watery, foul-smelling diarrhea
Decreased white blood cell count in the blood (leukopenia)
In severe cases of feline panleukopenia, cats can experience seizures, paralysis, and coma. The disease is highly contagious and is spread through contact with the virus in the feces, urine, saliva, or nasal secretions of an infected cat. If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, it's important to take him to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.
How is the disease diagnosed?
To diagnose this disease, the veterinarian will perform a blood test and the ELISA test, where a recent sample of feces is taken from the animal's rectum. If the test is negative, it is not considered reliable and the samples can be sent to carry out a PCR and definitively determine if the animal has the virus.
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How long does panleukopenia last in cats?
The duration of panleukopenia in cats can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the cat's ability to fight it. In general, the symptoms can last from several days to several weeks.
How to prevent it?
The best way to prevent panleukopenia in cats is through vaccination. Most cats are vaccinated against feline panleukopenia as puppies, starting at 6-8 weeks of age, and then receive boosters of the vaccine throughout their lives.
It is important to ensure that cats are fully vaccinated before exposing them to other cats or to environments where there may be an increased risk of infection. In addition to vaccination, there are other preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of infection. These include:
- Keep cats indoors, especially if they live in areas where the disease is common.
- Maintain good cat hygiene in the home and in the cat's environment, especially in areas where there may be feces from infected cats.
- Avoid contact with infected or unknown cats.
- Wash hands frequently before and after interacting with cats, especially if sick cats have been handled or litter boxes cleaned.
In summary, vaccination is the best way to prevent feline panleukopenia in cats, along with other preventative measures to reduce the risk of exposure and infection.
Treatment for panleukopenia in cats
There is no specific treatment against feline panleukopenia, but through certain treatments adapted to the infected cat, one can try to maintain its state of health until its own body creates an immune response to the virus, which fights and heals it.
A determining factor in dealing with this disease is that it is very important to administer symptomatic treatment as soon as possible and it is of vital importance that it be started as soon as possible.
Is feline panleukopenia contagious between cats?
Yes, we are talking about a highly contagious virus that is excreted in feces and in any bodily secretion of cats sick with this disease.
Is feline panleukopenia transmitted to humans?
No, it is not a zoonosis in any of the cases, since it is a virus that exclusively affects cats. It is not transmitted to people or to other animals that may live in the home. But as we stated in the previous section, human beings can carry the virus and transmit it to other cats that are healthy.
Panleukopenia in vaccinated cats, can it occur?
Although very rare, it is possible that a cat vaccinated against panleukopenia can still contract the disease. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as insufficient immune response to the virus, poor vaccination technique, or a variant of the virus that is not covered by the vaccine.
It is important to note that even if a cat vaccinated against panleukopenia still gets the disease, the vaccine is still important because it can reduce the severity of the disease and increase the chances of recovery. It can also help prevent the spread of the disease to other cats. Therefore, it is recommended that cats receive their panleukopenia vaccine as recommended by their veterinarian.
In conclusion, feline panleukopenia is a serious viral disease that can be life-threatening in cats. The good news is that the panleukopenia vaccine is highly effective and is recommended as part of the routine vaccination schedule for cats. Although very rare, it is possible that a cat vaccinated against panleukopenia can still contract the disease. However, the vaccine is still important because it can reduce the severity of the disease and increase the chances of recovery. Plus, it can help prevent the spread of the disease to other cats. Therefore, it is important to follow your vet's recommendations for vaccinating your cat and to watch for signs of the disease. With proper care and vaccination, we can help protect the health and well-being of our feline friends.