What Is Feline Distemper And How Can You Treat It?

  • Time to read: 9 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an Amazon associate and affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Any cat owner who takes time to understand cat distemper is making a sound investment towards the cat’s wellbeing. This condition is extremely contagious and has the potential to be fatal. Feline distemper is known as Feline Panleukopenia and affects cats on a cellular level.

 

The baseline of understanding feline distemper includes understanding the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis process. Finally, you should know the quickest ways of preventing its spread and the final treatment option.

 

What is feline distemper?

It is a virus infection that affects blood cells within the intestinal tract, bone marrow, and a developing fetus. A common consequence of feline distemper is anemia, which occurs after extensive damage to the blood and stem cells of the system.

 

Feline Panleukopenia is the most common disease among unvaccinated cats. Its extremism arises from the stubbornness of the virus. The resilient nature of feline distemper makes it a persistent illness in highly contaminated environments.

 

 

Causes of feline distemper

Feline Panleukopenia occurs after contact with Feline Parvovirus. This virus is common in waste, such as urine, feces, and blood. Fleas are a common carrier of the virus; hence, they are a causative agent of the illness.

 

The virus is transferable to humans when they do not wash their hands after contact with infected cats. One may also catch the virus from touching equipment and bedding that is useable by infected cats. The virus tends to hold onto surfaces for long durations, and as long as several years without serious sanitation. It is resistant to common household disinfectants; hence, one should use a high-grade alternative.

 

One of the most common breeding grounds for the virus is in shelters and litter boxes. It can increase in significant ratios when a cat lives close to infected or recovering cats. The virus tends to spread more during the summer months. This case is because cats love to go outside and explore the neighborhood or garden.

 

 

A significant bit to note about infection is that kittens can contract the virus when they are in the uterus or through breastfeeding. It is vital to separate a nursing or pregnant cat from dirty environments and feline cats to prevent the spread. This solution is, however, just one of the many processes one can employ to control feline distemper.

 

Symptoms of feline distemper

Recognizing the common symptoms of feline distemper is essential in seeking early and effective treatment. Many symptoms of this particular virus can mimic the signs of many other illnesses, like leukemia and pancreatitis. Noticing a change in the cat’s behavior is only one step of the diagnosis procedure. Below are the most common behavior and biological abnormalities.

 

Behavior change

Feline Panleukopenia attacks the brain and causes the cat to develop neurological abnormities. The cat begins to lack coordination in everyday issues like eating and walking.

 

High fever

A cat with the virus will develop a temperature of approximately 104 degrees or more.

 

Lost appetite

An infected cat will find it difficult to eat food or drink.

 

Lethargy

The cat may take on a demeanor of depression. It will move slowly and appear to be in a hunch as though it is in pain.

 

Different vocalization

The cat may appear more talkative or more silent than usual.

 

Reduced immunity

The cat will be highly vulnerable to illnesses like asthma because of the reduced functionality of cells. The vomit may be clear liquid if they have been drinking water. They may otherwise have dry heaves when they do not drink or eat. This symptom deludes cat owners to think about the cat as a severe case of food poisoning.

 

Diarrhea

The cat will have frequent bouts of diarrhea or bloody stools.

 

Dehydration

Dehydration sets in from the combination of a lack of appetite and vomiting from previous foods and drinks. The cat may hang its head down on the bowl while attempting to lick the water or food.

 

 

Different eyes

The cat will have a haw in the inner corner of the eyes when they are ill. The redness looks like a folded third eyelid. The cat will also have yellowing eyes from jaundice, which occurs because of a malfunction of the liver.

 

Different coating

The animal’s coat appears rough and dull. The hair will have obvious matting if the cat is of a longhaired breed. Additionally, the cat will have matte fur because they lack the energy to groom themselves regularly.

 

Pain

The cat will try to bite or lick their abdomen to soothe abdominal pain. The moves do not look like grooming because the cat will retain the actions for long durations. They may tuck their feet under their bodies for long periods to soothe the discomfort.

 

Blood tests

A blood test reveals a few more white cells than usual because of the virus attack.

 

Convulsions

This symptom is a sure sign of the extremism of the illness. The cat is in danger of imminent and abrupt death.

 

How does one diagnose feline distemper?

It is essential to diagnose feline distemper as fast as you notice the symptoms mentioned above of infection. A cat that begins to establish any of the signs should not undergo a home diagnosis process because one does not have enough knowledge and tools to complete a medical exam.

 

 

A qualified vet will usually perform the following analysis:
  • Procured to test the overall health
  • Analysis of the eating habits
  • Ongoing medications
  • Duration and severity of symptoms
  • The cat’s body weight
  • The cat’s most recent activities

 

The cat will have a focused interest in the cat’s most recent activities. This step will disclose the possibility of infection from other cats in the environment. The vet will ask about the presence of other cats and their usual whereabouts in the area. They will perform a laboratory test after collecting enough historical data.

 

The most common tests include the following:
  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests including blood counts
  • Biochemistry profile
  • Fecal sample to show microscopic remnants of Feline Parvovirus. This test is more expensive than other tests but tends to offer an excellent report on the condition

 

What is the proper treatment plan for Panleukopenia?

The virus has records of having a high mortality rate despite aggressive and prompt therapy. Animals with strong immunity will survive after thorough medical attention. Adult cats also have a higher chance of survival in comparison to kittens.

 

The following factors should be of utmost consideration during the treatment process:
  • Shelters cannot provide the same amount of services and resources as hospitals. They, therefore, cannot isolate the cat as thorough as necessary
  • Full treatment procedures take several days of intensive care. The vet should be on the clock at all hours of the night and day
  • Sufficient recovery takes approximately two to three weeks. Longer recovery durations are typical for viruses that persist in stubborn environments
  • Healed cats and kittens should stay indifferent isolation for at least two weeks after their last clinic appointment. Repeated laboratory testing is essential in documenting the stages of recovery and noting the possibilities of a reoccurrence. Keep the cat in a quiet and safe space away from noisy children and pets. The serenity will help a cat that experienced neurological damage and physical exhaustion. Cushion the area with soft pillows and blankets for the best comfort.

 

 

The illness does not have a specific cure because it is a virus. The main course of treatment involves providing supportive care like
  • Corrective dehydration – The cat must revert to an optimum level of electrolytes and bodily fluids to kick start robust recovery. This step is because feline distemper causes severe dehydration. Feline Panleukopenia affects immunity and leaves the cat vulnerable to other illnesses.
  • Balancing of electrolytes
  • Fluid therapy
  • Administration of antibiotics to improve immunity and prevent reoccurrence
  • Control of diarrhea and vomiting
  • Parenteral nutrition to recover the cat’s strength

The good news of the entire altercation is that a cat that recovers from the virus will be immune for the rest of their lives.

 

Management and prevention of the virus

The disease’s virus sticks to clothes and surfaces that do not get a thorough cleaning. The cat will have a depressive state of mind; hence, one should apply sufficient management schemes. The vet will give you the instructions to care for your cat. One crucial task is to dispense medication per progressive dosage and timeline.

 

The quarantine stage will be different for every condition and cat. It is best to keep a watchful eye under the guidance of a skilled vet. You will also need a good recommendation for the most widely used bleach to rid the house of the virus. The standard guide of a vaccination package will also tell you how you should replace toys, dishes, and litter boxes. Here is a complete guide on the process.

 

Steps towards managing a recovering feline

Vaccination

Vaccinations are particularly necessary for cats that have an indoor home. This case is because the virus can be brought into the house after an infection from feral cats. Every cat owner who has kittens should begin the vaccination process during the sixth week. They should continue the vaccination process every six to nine weeks. The kitten will continue with the injections until they reach sixteen weeks.

 

 

Kittens need more vaccinations because they have weak antibodies. Every kitten should get an injection booster after the first year to keep up with the prevention of the virus. The owner can reschedule the booster injections every three years after the first two years of annual injections.

 

Protection

Feline distemper occurs from a virus that is transportable by other animals, such as minks, foxes, and raccoons. It is important to discourage them from sneaking into your yard. The most popular attractions in your yard should be closed or discarded.

  • Consider changing the location of the garbage can
  • Sprinkle a repellant on the peripheries
  • Remove uncovered food from the compound, such as a bowl of leftover cat food
  • Cover sandboxes

 

Hygiene

Hygiene is a critical element in preventing the spread of a virus. Cat owners should consider heightening the health of the household by improving the cleaning program. Additionally, do not wear the same shoes you wore in outdoors when you get indoors.

 

The cat’s cutlery needs proper cleaning after each use to prevent the spread of the virus. Talk to a vet about the right way of diluting bleach and the most recommendable cleaning tools and steamers. The vet may suggest using a product that contains the following elements:

 

  • Formalin
  • A solution of sodium hypochlorite
  • Glutaraldehyde

 

Symptoms of feline distemper look like many other illnesses. You may not find it reasonable to rush to the vet every single time the cat spends half the day in its cradle bed. It is, therefore essential that you have a small home kit to help you filter out the presence of the virus before getting to a lab.

 

Feline distemper testing kit

E-House has the perfect test material. They use premium resources to create the most intricate details of a test kit. They also factor in functionality and ensure that the material is durable and difficult to damage.

 

The kit has neat and safe packaging that retains quality for years after its manufacture. Its design makes it stand out among other test kits you may see in brick-and-mortar or online stores. You can carry and conceal the material with ease as you go about your mundane tasks. The uniqueness of the kit makes it a creative and helpful gift to family members and friends who love the feline friend.

 

 

Why buy a distemper test?

Friendly use

The testing mechanism does not vary from that of a human blood or urine test. The company has detailed instructions for use and ensures that all packages have the complete tools needed for a comprehensive report.

 

Pricing

The product has considerably affordable pricing for purchase and shipping. You can get the kit to your doorstep for less than $5! Take advantage of their ridiculously low prices now and give your cat the best affordable care.