Feline Panleukopenia Virus



Feline Panleukopenia, also known as Feline Infectious Enteritis, is caused by a virus that is hardy and occurs wherever there are susceptible cats.

The panleucopania virus is very contagious and can be spread by direct contact or through contaminated food bowls, litter trays, bedding and so on. It is unfortunately also very robust and can survive in the environment for long periods of time and is resistant to the average household disinfectant. It is thus quite difficult to eliminate from catteries and multi cat households.

The virus attacks the white blood cells (see immunity) , leading to a decreased white cell count (WCC). Secondary bacterial infections are thus common and these secondary infections can lead to the death of the cat.The virus can also be transmitted to kittens just before and after birth, which is when their immune system is hardly functional and the death rate can be very high (85%+).

Clinical Symptoms

Clinical symptoms vary from very rapid death with virtually no clinical symptoms to vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. Supportive treatment, including intravenous fluids and antibiotics may save the cat's life if started early enough.

Vaccination

Because this virus is found everywhere and is hardy, one should assume that all cats will be exposed to the virus at some stage of their life. Vaccination is thus the most effective way to prevent infection and should be started early on in the cat's life (6 -8 weeks old!)
Feline Panleukopenia is a particularly nasty disease but good hygiene and vaccination can go a long way to keeping the disease at bay.