Feline panleukopenia: causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment

 Feline panleukopenia: causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment

Tracy Wilkins

Feline panleukopenia is one of the most dangerous cat diseases that exist. Also known as parvovirus in cats, the disease is highly contagious and can lead to death if not diagnosed early. The feline parvovirus, which transmits panleukopenia to the cat, is very resistant and has a rapid evolution in the animal's body. When contaminated, the immune system and several organs are affected.feline panleukopenia are affected, leaving it extremely debilitated. To learn more about feline panleukopenia, symptoms, how to treat and how to prevent it, check out the article that the Paws of the House has prepared next.

Feline panleukopenia is caused by a highly resistant and contagious virus

Feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral disease that affects kittens. It is caused by feline parvovirus (FPV) - so it is also called feline parvovirosis. So we can say that parvovirosis occurs in cats as well as in dogs. However, they are different diseases. Feline parvovirus is part of the Parvoviridae family, the same as the virus that causes canine parvovirosis, but they are not the same.Therefore, when parvovirus is caught in a cat, it is different from a dog, as they are not the same disease, they just have transmitters that are part of the same family.

In addition, it is common for people to call feline panleukopenia "distemper in cats." Distemper is a disease that affects dogs and has symptoms very similar to those of panleukopenia, but they are different diseases. Panleukopenia is considered a fast and easy disease to spread. This is because the feline parvovirus is extremely resistant and can remain in one place for quite a long time.Feline parvovirosis is usually endemic, i.e. it manifests itself mainly in colonies.

Panleukopenia in cats is caused by direct contact with the virus in the environment

Feline panleukopenia is usually spread by a healthy cat coming into contact with the faeces, urine or saliva of an infected animal. This can happen when the cat uses shared objects, such as the litter box, food and water bowls and toys. This is why it is so common for it to spread quickly in places frequented by many cats, such as catteries,As we have explained, feline parvovirus is extremely resistant, so if there is a cat with panleukopenia on the premises, the virus will be exposed and, even outside the animal's body, will remain alive for a long time in the environment, contaminating any kitten that comes into contact with it.

Parvovirosis in unvaccinated kittens is more severe than in adults

Panleukopenia is extremely contagious and can affect unvaccinated kittens of any age, from puppies to older cats. However, the intensity with which the disease manifests itself can vary. Generally, feline panleukopenia affects unvaccinated kittens up to 12 months of age. In these cases, parvovirus in cats usually presents in its most severe form, with symptoms includingWhen feline panleukopenia affects an adult or elderly cat, it is usually milder, but urgent treatment is still necessary.

Parvovirosis: cats have an extremely weakened immune system

After infection, feline parvovirus first passes through the mucous membranes and lymphatic tissues. It then spreads through the bloodstream. Feline parvovirus has a characteristic called tropism. This means that they are attracted mainly to cells that can multiply rapidly. Therefore, the cause of panleukopenia usually lodges in tissue cellslymphatic (lymphocytes) and intestinal, as they replicate quickly, facilitating the virus itself to multiply faster. Thus, all parts of the body that are attacked suffer the consequences of the disease. As the feline parvovirus attacks the body's defense cells, the animal's immune system becomes increasingly weakened. Since the kittendoes not yet have well-developed immunity, feline panleukopenia is even more serious for him.

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Feline panleukopenia: symptoms appear suddenly and quite intensely

The incubation time of feline parvovirus - that is, the period between infection and the onset of symptoms - is not very long. Thus, in feline panleukopenia, symptoms begin to present themselves about a week after contact with the virus. After this period, the signs begin to appear at once, weakening the animal quickly and very intensely. The symptoms of feline panleukopenia areThe most characteristic are cat with diarrhea and vomiting, which can be very intense, leading to dehydration. In a cat with feline panleukopenia, the most common symptoms are:

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  • Diarrhea (with or without blood)
  • Vomit
  • Dehydration
  • Anorexia
  • Jaundice (related to liver dysfunction)
  • High fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Tenderness in the abdominal region
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Apathy
  • Depression

Feline parvovirus in pregnant women can cause severe sequelae to kittens

Feline panleukopenia can pose an even greater danger to pregnant kittens. When a pregnant cat contracts the disease, there is a risk of passing it on to the kittens inside her belly. Feline parvovirus mainly affects the brain of foetuses, causing congenital cerebellar hypoplasia. This condition causes the baby, when born, to have serious problems with locomotion and tremors. In additionIn addition, a pregnant woman with panleukopenia has a high risk of stillborn puppies.

The diagnosis of panleukopenia is made by analyzing tests and the pet's history

To diagnose panleukopenia in cats, the veterinarian will perform some tests. A WBC is done to analyze the number of leukocytes. When the animal has feline parvovirus, the rates are very low, since the virus attacks precisely these cells. A blood test is also performed for the red blood cell count. In addition, the veterinarian performs a palpation in the regionFor the diagnosis of panleukopenia, the animal's history also needs to be evaluated by the doctor. Therefore, at the consultation, tell him all the places your pet has visited, if he has had contact with other animals and if he has known of any kitten in the area that has the disease. If the diagnosis is confirmed, warn the guardians of pets that have entered the area.in contact with your pet, as their pussies may also be contaminated.

Treatment of panleukopenia is done with supportive techniques

Panleukopenia in cats can be cured, but it is important to diagnose it early in order to start treatment as soon as possible. Panleukopenia progresses rapidly and if it is not treated promptly, it can be very difficult to cure. Treatment of feline panleukopenia is done with antibiotics prescribed by the veterinarian with the optimum amount of antibiotics.It is important to remember that self-medication should never be carried out, as only the doctor knows what will truly cure your pet. In addition, supportive treatments are performed, such as fluid therapy in cats. It helps to replenish water levels and electrolytes lost in dehydration. Other more specific treatments can be applied to combat each symptom thatshow up.

To combat feline parvovirus in the environment, it is essential to disinfect the contaminated site

If your pet has had feline panleukopenia, in addition to treatment it is important to carry out a heavy cleaning in the environment. Feline parvovirus can remain alive outside the animal organism for a long time. So, even if the cat cannot contract panleukopenia twice, other animals can be contaminated at the slightest contact with the virus in the environment. Therefore, disinfecting the place is essentialDo not just use an ordinary disinfectant, as it is not enough. Use a solution of sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide. Apply it to the entire room, but remove the animals from the room before applying it to avoid poisoning the cat.

The feline panleukopenia vaccine is the main way to prevent the disease

Feline parvovirosis can be prevented in a very simple way: cat vaccinations. The vaccine against feline panleukopenia is part of the so-called quadruple vaccine. It can be administered from the age of two months. Three to four weeks after the first dose, the second dose is administered. After the second application, you still have to wait for about two weeks, the time required for the vaccine to be administered.Then your kitten will be protected from parvovirus. Cats need to have an annual booster to ensure protection at all times. As feline panleukopenia is highly contagious, it is essential to vaccinate your kittens without delay. Following the cat vaccination schedule to the letter is the best way to protect your feline from the most dangerous diseases.

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.