Home » What is Feline Panleukopenia Virus (Distemper) in Pets, and what are the Risk Factors?

What is Feline Panleukopenia Virus (Distemper) in Pets, and what are the Risk Factors?

Feline panleukopenia virus (FP, FPL, or FPV) is highly infectious, extremely robust, and usually lethal – particularly in uninfected kittens. It can flourish on nearly any surface and survive for lengthy periods, contributing to high infection rates.

The virus, commonly known as feline distemper, may be slightly deceptive because the feline parvovirus transmits it. Many pet parents are aware of parvovirus in dogs (which causes a similar but separate disease), but fewer are aware that cats can also catch parvo. If your cat is showing signs of feline panleukopenia virus, you should contact your Virginia Beach veterinary hospital.

What is feline Panleukopenia?

A reduction in the number of white blood cells in the body characterizes Panleukopenia. White blood cells are essential to the immune system and are necessary for disease resistance. White blood cell counts in cats can fall from the typical range of several thousand per milliliter of blood to only a few hundred in serious forms of FP, making cats particularly vulnerable to sickness.

What exactly are the signs of feline Panleukopenia?

Because our feline companions are incredibly skilled at hiding illnesses, early indicators of distemper in cats may be difficult to identify because they are often less serious than those who have late-stage illnesses.

Keep an eye out for the accompanying clinical indications of FLPV and contact your veterinary hospital immediately if you detect any to ensure your pet receives the prompt care they require for a better chance of survival.

In cats, the first indications of Panleukopenia (distemper)

Early-onset Panleukopenia in cats causes the following symptoms:

  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Sickness
  • Retching
  • Loss of weight
  • Dehydration
  • Dysentery
  • Rugged coat
  • unable to eat or drink
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain or tension

Late-stage panleukopenia (distemper) symptoms in cats

Some infected cats will undergo a quick development to severe dehydration, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Late-stage indications may also include bleeding of the gums or skin and collapse. Furthermore, your pet’s core temperature may drop to lower-than-normal levels. On the other hand, a cat with feline distemper may die abruptly with no symptoms.

Highly contagious kittens subjected to the virus late in their development may be born with cerebellar aplasia. This neurological condition affects the part of the brain that controls movement, stability, and synchronization. Kittens with the condition will have wide-based postural and mild to severe tremors. Panleukopenia kittens can also seem clumsy or fall over frequently, but they can enjoy meaningful lives with attentive monitoring and care.

Which cats are susceptible to distemper?

As stated by the AVMA, all cats are susceptible to parvo, but kittens are more vulnerable owing to their underdeveloped immune systems. Parvoviruses, particularly feline Panleukopenia, are exceedingly resistant to chemical disinfectants and can only be destroyed by them.

It is found practically all over the environment, which means that both indoor and wild cats may be exposed at some time in their lives. The feline panleukopenia virus may persist on surfaces for a year or longer under the correct conditions.

When should cats exposed to feline Panleukopenia be quarantined?

The chance of transmission with feline Panleukopenia is impacted by the cat’s specific immunological and immunization condition. Cats who have been fully immunized for at least five months have a very low risk of becoming infected.