Thursday, April 2, 2009

Feline Distemper: Common Symptoms and Treatment

Feline distemper is a viral infection that affects cats. It has been reported to be caused by feline parvovirus, which is capable of surviving in the environment. Although feline parvovirus may be compared to canine parvovirus, it is still not linked with canine distemper. Here are some of the things that you should know about feline distemper.

Common Cat Distemper Symptoms
Once a cat has been infected by feline parvovirus, it will begin to experience the following:
  • appetite loss
  • bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • dehydration
  • weight loss
Infected cats often lack energy. These cats may manifest a yellowish skin, ears and eyes because of the developing disease on their liver. Another thing that could be observed from infected cats is internal ulceration. Feline parvovirus primarily targets the lining of the cat's gastrointestinal tract, thereby, causing overall intestinal epithelium sloughing.

Other symptoms of feline distemper may include the following:
  • very low white blood cell count
  • reduction in the blood platelet and hematocrit counts
  • anemia and depression
  • skin elasticity loss due to dehydration
  • self-biting in the lower back, back legs and tail
How Feline Parvovirus is Transmitted
Too often, feline parvovirus is transmitted to a kitten or the cat when it gulps or gasps secretions from infected cats. Feline parvovirus replicates within the tissues of the cat and moves all the way to the blood stream, in which it perserveres to propagate all through the cat's body. Feline parvovirus may also be spread through contact with cat's handlers and food dishes infected by this virus. It is cast in almost all of the secretions of infected cats and is impervious to different disinfectants.

Feline distemper becomes more severe and life threatening when it gets into the cat's bone marrow. Reaching this stage can make your pet so sick or even die since its capacity to struggle off infection will greatly be influenced by the reduction on its white blood cells.

How Feline Parvovirus Can Be Prevented
A cat that is about 5-9 weeks old must be properly vaccinated against feline parvovirus. It is important for the cat to be vaccinated again upon reaching roughly 12 or 15 weeks of age. Properly vaccinated cats have long-term immunity. To eliminate feline parvovirus, a few areas of your house must be cleansed or rinsed with a household bleach concentrated with tap water. There is also a need for the surfaces to be rinsed well if you are going to accommodate your cats on bleached surfaces.

How Feline Distemper Can Be Treated
Treatment involves supported care because feline distemper as well as feline parvovirus is not curable. Administration of fluids is necessary to prevent cats from being dehydrated. This may either be administered into the cat's vein or through intravenous fluid therapy. Subcutaneous fluid therapy is also suggested in order to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics can also help in treating cats or kittens that are experiencing a reduction in their white blood cell count because of feline distemper.


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