What is distemper in cats?
Feline Panleukopenia or feline distemper is a deadly viral disease in cats that is highly contagious. Feline Parvovirus is the cause behind it. It infects and kills cells of the intestine, bone marrow, and the developing fetus. Also, it suppresses the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow, resulting in Panleukopenia, which subsequently negatively impacts your cat’s immune system.
It also has a pretty high mortality rate in unvaccinated cats, especially kittens aged two and five months. Moreover, in older cats, it causes serious complications such as bacterial infections and much more.
Symptoms of distemper in cats?
Suppose you see persistent signs such as severe diarrhea, vomiting, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, dehydration, loss of appetite, and generalized depression in your cat. In that case, your cat may have feline Panleukopenia. Moreover, you may also notice abnormal behavior in your cat, such as sitting for a long period and not drink water. These all signs are of severe illness and need urgent treatment.
How does your cat get infected with the Parvovirus?
Your cat may get infected when exposed to the blood, nasal secretion, stool, urine, or fleas from the infected cat. Moreover, cages, food dishes, bedding, clothes may also be the source of the carrier. Therefore, it’s highly essential to isolate such cats to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
Note that the disinfectants may also not help in destroying such a virus. So, always make sure you protect your other cats by all means.
Which cats are more likely to be infected with Parvovirus?
Parvovirus causes distemper disease in cats that are unvaccinated, sick, or young. In addition, those cats that live in shelters, colonies, or caged together are more susceptible to such an infection. Therefore, this disease is more common in urban areas as the cats there are more in contact.
Furthermore, the warm temperature is also an important factor in spreading this disease; therefore, you may find the prevalence of this disease more in summers.
How to treat Feline Panleukopenia?
There is no proper treatment to combat this fatal disease. Supportive treatment may help but only in cats more than eight weeks old. Proper supportive treatment includes medication and fluids to help correct dehydration, provide nutrients, prevent secondary infections, and improve your cat’s immune system. Without supportive treatment, there’s a 90% chance that your cat may die.
Therefore, the best possible way is to protect your cat from this deadly virus by the feline distemper vaccine or shot.
What does a distemper shot do for a cat?
FVRCP shot is an essential vaccine given to kittens to protect them from fatal diseases, including Feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline Panleukopenia, and upper respiratory infections. It’s a standard combination vaccine given to kittens to boost their immune system and protect them from harmful diseases for a lifetime.
AS you all know, prevention is better than treatment; this shot stimulates the cat’s body to produce protective antibodies against harmful viruses, including the Parvovirus. Also, in the future, if your cat ever faces this distemper disease, its body will automatically fight off the infection due to the already present antibodies.
However, this shot is ineffective in treating or curing an unvaccinated cat once it gets affected by this disease.
When should your cat get a distemper shot?
Your kittens need to get the first dose of their distemper shot at 8-9 weeks of their age. The second dose is given 3-4 weeks later, while the third is given between 14-16 weeks of age. Moreover, the booster dose is given 6-12 months later and further every 1-3 years, depending on the cat’s needs.
Are there any side effects of a distemper shot?
Side effects for a distemper shot are very rare and minor. They include mild fever, dullness, and a bit of swelling and pain at the injection site. However, allergic anaphylactic, which are very rare signs, may also appear. They’re pretty serious signs and need urgent treatment.
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Distemper or Panleukopenia is a rare viral disease in cats caused by Parvovirus. The virus kills up the immune cells and divides the intestine, bone marrow, and fetus cells. Moreover, It’s a pretty fatal disease with no such treatment available. However, supportive measures such as medicine and fluids may help improve symptoms and build up immunity against the virus.
However, the best way to protect your cats is by providing them distemper shots at the earliest age with a proper booster dose as per the guidelines. There are no such side effects of the shot, but mild symptoms like fever or dullness may appear.