Essay

Feline Distemper and How To Keep Your Cat Safe

When a cat is sick, there aren’t many things that make a cat owner feel as powerless. When a cat is terminally ill, things might get increasingly terrifying. When treating certain illnesses in cats, early intervention is frequently insufficient. Feline distemper is among the worst diseases that can infect your cat. Fortunately, the condition is highly preventable, and taking preventative measures won’t break the wallet. Now let’s talk about feline distemper and how to protect your cat.

What is Feline Distemper?

Cat distemper, sometimes referred to as parvovirus or panleukopenia, is a very dangerous and frequently fatal disease. An even greater threat is the canine distemper virus. When an animal is not vaccinated, the virus is extremely contagious. Dogs cannot contract feline distemper, and vice versa. There are two distinct viruses that need to be vaccinated against, according to their respective species.

The fact that panleukopenia is more common and severe in very young animals is one feature shared by both strains of the virus. In the case of feline distemper, kittens have very little to gain. It usually spreads quickly among litters, killing every kitten in the process. The mother cat might have been the first to develop symptoms, or she might just be a carrier. It is also quite possible for the mother to transmit the virus to her unborn kittens by being an asymptomatic carrier. When that is the case, the outlook is dire. Although adults seldom contract it, the majority of adult cats in homes are either immune to it or have received vaccinations to avoid it.

Symptoms of Feline Distemper

White blood cell counts rise sharply in cases of feline distemper, which puts the little cat at risk of contracting more infections while it battles the condition. Listlessness, high fever, depression, weakness, severe (often bloody) diarrhoea and vomiting, dehydration, pain, anorexia, tiredness, laboured breathing, collapse, and death are among the common symptoms of feline distemper.

Cats that have the virus before or soon after birth usually don’t survive. If they survive, there’s a strong likelihood that they may suffer brain damage leading to tremors, convulsions, incoordination, blindness, and other problems. Even while some may never exhibit symptoms, they can still infect other healthy cats with the fatal virus.

The kittens’ respiratory systems will frequently be attacked by secondary illnesses. Mucus in the colours yellow and green gathers around their eyes and nostrils as a result. Some kittens show no symptoms of illness until they pass away.

How Feline Distemper Spreads

The easiest way for feline distemper to spread, the hardest way to get rid of it from the environment, and the length of time the virus can survive without a host are some of its worst aspects. The virus is carried by anything that comes into touch with an infected kitten or cat. Body waste, litter boxes, scoopers, food and water dishes, bedding, carpets, fleas, cages, anything worn by people who come into contact with the kitten, toys, and pretty much anything else that comes into contact with the cat can all harbour the virus. Remember that when you sneeze forcefully or have acute diarrhoea, particles can land in unexpected areas. Before the virus manifests itself in a kitten, it could take a few days to a week for symptoms to appear.

Adopting from Shelters and Rescues

It’s possible that your cat, if it goes outside or if it was just adopted, came into touch with materials or another cat that was infected with feline distemper. Sadly, at shelters and rescues, this can be the case. Even while many rescues test for the virus as soon as a cat is placed into their care, it’s likely that the cat slipped between the cracks because it had only recently become sick and wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms or testing positive at the time. The majority of shelters are forced to hope for the best as they are unable to pay to test every cat and kitten that comes in.

Few people work at shelters; the majority of those who assist are volunteers. They might not have bleached every item that came into contact with the cats and they might not be aware of how deadly feline distemper is. Perhaps one of those cats was asymptomatic or had just become unwell. Reusing the dishes, bedding, cage, or litter box puts the next occupant at risk of catching it. As soon as you’ve been taken in by a rescue or shelter, request to examine the immunisation records and results of your feline distemper test.

Cats in the outdoors

You run a significant danger if you adopt a stray cat or kitten or if your own cat is outside without a vaccination. If you decide to take in a stray, make sure they are kept apart from any cats in your house until after their two-week quarantine has passed and they have been examined and vaccinated.

It is always risky to let your outdoors-loving cat inside your house because there are a lot of things that might happen to them. Unvaccinated cats are susceptible to infection from stray cats or from areas where sick cats have gone. It’s likely that you won’t become aware of the condition until your cat passes away. Vaccinate your cats regularly, even if they live inside all the time. The location of feline distemper bacteria is unknown. It might be on an object you encountered at a secondhand shop, a section of the garden you strolled through, or any number of other locations. You do not want to take a chance on this illness.

Cleaning Up After Feline Distemper

For an extended period of time, feline distemper can persist on surfaces, apparel, bedding, toys, etc. Everything needs to be thoroughly cleaned using bleach or a disinfectant designed especially to fight the virus. It’s critical to keep the virus contained in one area of your home and avoid spreading it to other rooms. If this horrible disease has been present in your home, make sure to cover your shoes with shoe protectors before entering the affected area and, if possible, leave the contaminated apparel there to be disposed of after the cleanup is finished. Everything that came into contact with the kitten must be disposed of or given a thorough cleaning. Before you leave the room, make sure to put any dubious materials in garbage bags.

How to Keep Your Cat Safe

Visiting the veterinarian can be costly, particularly if you own multiple cats. Nevertheless, losing your pet to feline distemper is far worse. With a yearly vaccination, feline distemper can be easily avoided. In two to four weeks, the initial vaccination round will require a booster; after that, it is done annually. Additionally, there is more than one immunisation in the feline distemper vaccine. A vaccine that covers four ailments usually costs one price. Covered are calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, panleukopenia (feline distemper), and Chlamydia psittaci.

Vaccinating your pets as soon as possible and continuing to provide shots after the first dosage is one of the best things you can do as a pet owner, regardless of whether you have dogs or cats. Consider your cat in the same way that you would yourself or a child; it’s far simpler to feel guilty for paying for a vaccination than it is to feel guilty for allowing your cat to pass away from a disease that you could have avoided. Sad but sadly accurate.

Over and Meowt

It may seem overwhelming and like there is a lot to process, but it must be heard and comprehended. Both owning a pet and helping homeless animals may be incredibly fulfilling experiences. Just remember to take them all to the veterinarian right away. To allow you to keep an eye on them and make sure they are healthy, they must first have their vaccination and then be placed in quarantine. It is unsafe to introduce them to kids and other pets until that time. Before you allow your new companion run about your house and sleep in your bed, there are a lot of additional problems that need to be taken care of, such as worms and other parasites. Even though it’s not always simple, having a pet is a worthwhile endeavour.