The Feline Calicivirus Antigen Test Kit determines whether cats are healthy by testing their eye, nasal and oral secretions.View details
Some people buy cats that die within a week of bringing them home, and the biggest evil behind this rapid death is Feline Distemper (FPV).
Feline distemper is the most feared virus by all cat owners. The following will introduce you to this virus and take you through the feline distemper symptoms, treatment and prevention of FPV.
What is Distemper in Cats?
Feline Distemper, also known as Feline Panleukopenia or Feline Infections En-teritis, is a highly contagious, acute, febrile disease caused by Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV) in cats or other felines. FPV is a genus of feline viruses in the family Microviridae. High infectivity and high mortality are the most notable features of cat distemper.
Feline distemper is primarily transmitted by contact, with the secretions and excretions of distemper cat being the source of infection, which is why it is rapidly transmitted from cat to cat.
In addition, the feline distemper virus can also be transmitted through indirect human contact, with the soles of shoes being a highly infectious source. The feline distemper virus is the only virus that can survive in the host’s environment outside the body for 2 to 3 years. Even if there is only one cat in the house and the cat never leaves the house, there is a chance that it will be infected with the FPV.
High Mortality Rate
Feline distemper virus is also known as the “kitten killer”.
The infection rate of kittens under 1-year-old is 70%, and the mortality rate can be up to 90%.
The survival rate of infected distemper cats aged 5 months to 1 year is generally 50%.
Cats that are not fully vaccinated or unvaccinated and adult cats are at less risk of infection but have no clinical signs after infection, which makes it difficult to treat them promptly after infection.
Feline Distemper Symptoms (FPV Symptoms)
Distemper in cats generally has an incubation period of 2-9 days, and the clinical signs of FPV infection in cats are related to age and viral virulence. They are generally divided into acute onset and subacute onset.
The feline distemper symptoms are a sudden rise in body temperature above 40°C, vomiting, diarrhea, and even sudden death without showing any symptoms.
It mostly occurs over 6 months of age, with signs of distemper in cats as a rise in body temperature to about 40°C, a slight drop in body temperature after 1~2 days, and a rise in body temperature again in 3~4 days.
In addition to the change in body temperature, distemper in cats will also show the following symptoms.
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent vomiting with yellowish-green vomit
- Mucous discharge from the mouth and other locations
- Diarrhea with sticky or even bloody feces
- Severe dehydration
How to Diagnose Feline Distemper
The feline distemper virus antigen test kit can generally detect whether the cat is infected with the feline distemper virus with a high probability.
Note: The test kit will show weakly positive (barely visible) for some time, just after the feline distemper vaccine.
Routine blood tests combined with a feline canine distemper virus test kit is the most reliable test. Normally, the range of white blood cells in cats is 15,000/ul – 20,000/ul. Cat distemper causes a dramatic decrease in white blood cells in the cat’s blood, with distemper cat blood dropping to 7,000/ul.
When the white blood cells drop below 2,000/ul, the feline distemper is already severe. At this point, the veterinarian often needs to do several more tests to find out the extent of damage to other body organs of the kitten with distemper. For example, abdominal X-rays, biochemical tests, etc.
How to Treat Distemper Cat
When you find signs of distemper in cats, be sure to take your kitten to a reliable medical facility and an experienced veterinarian for prompt medical attention.
Isolation of Distemper Cat
If a healthy cat comes into direct contact with a distemper cat, the infection rate is almost 100%. So if they are diagnosed with feline distemper, cat owners must first isolate their cats and limit their range of activities.
The infusion relieves the cat’s dehydration, replenishes sugar and electrolytes and maintains the body’s acid-base balance.
The veterinarian will follow up depending on the distemper in kittens to inject feline distemper monoclonal antibodies, feline interferon, leukocyte growth factor, erythropoietin, etc., or systematically target the distemper virus to assist in increasing white blood cells.
Food and Water Fasting
Once a cat vomits, it should be immediately fasted and dehydrated. After no vomiting for 72 hours, feed slowly with water and then gradually feed some highly nutritious, easily digestible food.
Anti-emetic and Anti-diarrheal Medication
If your cat continues vomiting or diarrhea, it will easily become dehydrated and need anti-emetic and anti-diarrheal medication.
Blood Transfusion if Necessary
When a kitten with distemper is diagnosed, blood in the stool is a sign of distemper in cats. A blood transfusion is required if there is a large amount of blood lost through the intestines or if the cat develops blood pressure problems during distemper treatment.
Blood Transfusion if Necessary
If a cat is diagnosed with feline distemper, it will have blood in the stool. If a large amount of blood is lost through the intestines or if the cat has blood pressure problems during the treatment of feline distemper, a blood transfusion is required.
If the distemper cat is in shock during the treatment, it is time to inject adrenaline.
In summary, treating kittens with distemper at home is impossible.
For distemper in kittens, you can only provide supportive treatment to balance the energy in your cat’s body and help it survive the “Seven Days of Death” of feline distemper. The owner should follow the treatment plan of a professional doctor to help the cat recover.
How to Prevent Cat Distemper
It is very difficult to treat cat distemper, and the cure rate is very low, so it is important to prevent it.
Vaccination with feline distemper vaccine (most effective)
The common cat vaccines on the market are effective against feline distemper, feline distemper virus (FPV), feline herpes virus and feline culex virus.
Feline distemper virus is the only virus that can survive in the host’s environment outside the body for a maximum of 2 to 3 years. Therefore, it is important to disinfect the environment in cat raising households.
In addition, if there has been a distemper cat in the house, don’t get a new cat for a year.
In addition to the environment, paying more attention to the cat’s diet is very important. A good diet and proper supplementation of vitamin C can improve the cat’s immunity and ensure its intestinal health.
Do deworm to prevent blood-sucking insects from spreading blood-based diseases. In addition, regular blood tests should be carried out on cats.
Cats are heat and cold-resistant animals, and cold can cause a decrease in resistance. Therefore, pay attention to temperature changes when it rains and winds, and keep cats warm promptly.
Injection of Anti-distemper Virus Serum
Suppose the cat is accidentally exposed to other cats suspected of having confirmed cat distemper. In that case, the cat owner can ask the doctor for advice and inject the anti-distemper serum according to the cat’s age and physical condition before the test is conducted.
In the face of a catastrophic disease like feline distemper, prevention is still better than cure, and cat owners should not take it lightly in the daily care of their cats!
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