Feline Distemper

cat looking sick

Feline distemper or feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral disease of kittens and adult cats caused by the feline parvovirus. It is also called panleukopenia as it affects the bone marrow and causes low white blood cell counts. It is relatively common in unvaccinated cats and is often fatal, especially in young kittens. It has been referred to as Feline Distemper, but in fact, it is a different virus than canine distemper and causes different symptoms.

Early symptoms of feline distemper infection are lethargy and loss of appetite then rapid progression to severe, sometimes bloody diarrhea and vomiting. These signs are very similar to other diseases, some serious, some not so serious. Therefore, if any abnormal behaviors or signs of illness are observed, it is important to have your veterinarian examine your pet as soon as possible. A diagnosis of distemper is presumed if vomiting and diarrhea are present along with a low white blood cell count. A diagnosis of distemper is confirmed when the virus is detected in blood or feces.

Another syndrome associated with the feline distemper virus occurs when a susceptible pregnant cat or a newborn kitten is exposed. The kittens will have permanent damage to the cerebellum part of the brain and walk with an uncoordinated gait and an elevated tail. It may also affect the retinas of their eyes. They are otherwise alert and act normal.

Infection occurs when unvaccinated cats come in contact with the virus, which may be by contact with blood, urine, feces, nasal secretions, or even the fleas from an infected cat. The hands and clothing of people who handle infected cats can also spread the disease. Unfortunately, the virus is very resistant to environmental conditions and difficult to destroy; it can remain infective for years. Routine household disinfectants will not kill the virus, and a 1 to 30 dilution of bleach should be used to clean any appropriate surfaces.

There is no medication to kill the virus. Hospitalization with IV fluid therapy and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection are necessary to support the cat's health while its own body is fighting the infection. Not all will survive.

Preventing the infection through vaccination is better rather than treating an infected cat. Today's vaccines are very effective in helping your pet protect itself from infection. A series of kitten vaccinations followed by adult boosters stimulate the cat's immune system to produce protective antibodies. Should the cat come into contact with the virus, these same antibodies will help your cat successfully fight off the infection.

Consult with your veterinarian for advice on a vaccination schedule appropriate for your pet.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule closed holiday's including day after Thanksgiving.

Tacoma Office

Monday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-12:00 pm

1:00 pm-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "Unfortunately had to put down my 15 year old cat. Jones animal staff is compassionate and honest when you need them to be most. Every time in you can see the passion everyone there has for every pet they see. I know who I can trust when i get a puppy soon. Thank you for the care and making the best of a tough situation."
    Justin S.
  • "Friendly Drs and staff fancy coffee for while you wait!"
    Tom D.
  • "Love goes they care for my boys and are so helpful!!"
    Trisha C.
  • "The staff is wonderful, just a pleasure to work with"
    Tonja P.
  • "We used to see another Veterinarian, however, when our dog was sick we couldn't get an appointment for a couple of weeks. My daughter recommended Jones Animal Hospital, and I called. I was able to get our dog in the same day. When we met with Dr. Jones, he answered all of my questions completely without rushing me at all. We have been treated promptly, with friendly respect by the entire staff each time we visit. The medical care has been knowledgeable and helpful. The fees are extremely reasonable, too. We have found our animals' home for medical care!"
    Dori O.
  • "The people here are so nice and are very concerned for the animals they treat. Prices are the most reasonable I have come across as well. I recently took in one of my young kitties to be spayed, they keep them override which is nice so they can make sure they have they the experience well. The day after I brought her home, they called to check up on her to see how she was doing. I have never had a veterinary office do that before. I would recommend this office to anyone & everyone!!"
    Darlene B.
  • "They always seem to offer great compassionate care. And they were relatively affordable as well."
    Erik N.
  • "They have been taking wonderful care of my pets for many years."
    Corey D.
  • "I never take my fur babies anywhere else! I know I can trust the staff here & I know they CARE about the animals & their companions. Dr. Jones did retire, but the remaining staff is like family to me. They never charged more than I could afford because they always run the options by me first. I recently had to say goodbye to my 20 year old cat - It was inevitable but VERY painful. Even though they were very busy & they had to squeeze us in that day, they still offered to have one of the staff members sit with me as I said goodbye. I don't know anywhere else that gives that level of comfort!"
    Danielle P.
  • "We love our vet! Been using this vet for over 15 years. NO complaints!"
    Karen S.