Panleukopenia is considered a highly contagious (highly contagious) disease of cats caused by a virus of the Parvoviridae family (parvovirus). In a sick animal, the digestive tract, respiratory organs, and heart are mainly affected. A number of symptoms are registered that will help you quickly suspect that the pet has a virus developing in the body.
How does panleukopenia develop in a cat’s body
Panleukopenia is commonly called cat distemper. Surely everyone has heard of canine distemper (in scientific terms, the plague of carnivores), so panleukopenia is very similar to it.
Pathogens belong to the same family, only different types. However, dogs are more likely to suffer from the nervous system of this virus, while purring Pets are mainly affected by the intestines. It all starts with getting the pathogen into the body of a susceptible animal (any representative of the cat family, raccoons).
This can happen either orally (with food or drink), or respiratory (the animal inhaled). In any case, the virus will enter the bloodstream. But with blood, it will already spread throughout the body. Almost every virus has “Pets” -target cells. It is to them that he strives in the first place.
The causative agent of cat distemper is bone marrow, lymphoid tissue. The diseased tissue to stop the production of white blood cells. As you know, white blood cells are one of the main” protectors ” of the body from pathogenic microorganisms. Without them, resistance is almost nonexistent.
Nothing prevents the virus from actively multiplying and “capturing” more and more cells, thereby killing them. As soon as the total number of white blood cells decreases, parvovirus attacks the intestinal cells, and inflammation develops-enteritis. If the cat is pregnant, then her kittens will also suffer from panleukopenia. The placental barrier is not an obstacle.
If the pregnancy period is short, then either a miscarriage will occur, or the fetuses will simply dissolve inside the mother. But if the term is already decent, then the kittens will have congenital underdevelopment (for example, the cerebellum, eye).
The symptoms of panleukopenia
Distemper in cats has very diverse symptoms. And all because the pathogen affects several organ systems. Much depends on the stage of the disease.
During the incubation period (when the pathogen is not yet very active in the body), which lasts from two to ten days, depression, refusal to eat and drink are registered. Although the animal is very thirsty. Often vomiting begins (yellow-green, blood and mucus may be present), diarrhea at the hidden stage is less often recorded. Because of this, dehydration develops.
If you gently touch the belly, the cat will start to worry. This is due to the fact that the intestines are swollen and inflamed. All these symptoms are “joined” by fever (fever up to 41 degrees or even higher). However, just two or three days after the first clinical signs of the disease appear, the body temperature decreases. And this is a bad sign. To the previously occurring symptoms, profuse diarrhea is added, which is similar in consistency to water. Dehydration only increases, and the visible mucous membranes become dry.
If you examine the gums, they may turn blue. The larynx is swollen. Look at the animal’s eyes: the sclera is in a network of swollen blood vessels, and the conjunctiva is dry, the cornea does not Shine. No purulent discharge is usually observed in the corners.
Breathing becomes more frequent, but it is not deep, as if the animal is not inhaling fully. In older animals, wet wheezes may be heard. The course is super-acute (panleukemia develops instantly, and the cat’s death is also sudden), acute (the incubation period is 2-10 days and the disease itself is from a week to 10 days).
If you do not contact the veterinarian in time, the animal may die. Mortality can reach 25-75%. Especially susceptible young Pets (up to a year). If you have time to go to a veterinary clinic, the animal can be cured.
Treatment and prevention of panleukopenia
Don’t expect panleukopenia to recede on its own. And don’t self-medicate. Only a veterinarian can correctly make a diagnosis and select a competent and effective treatment.
It should be understood that since the disease is of a viral nature, it is necessary to use a hyperimmune specific serum for full recovery (it contains antibodies to the virus that help the body get rid of the pathogen faster). As soon as you notice that your purr refuses food (never forcibly try to feed it) and water, immediately measure your body temperature. If it is high (over 39 degrees), then immediately go to the veterinary clinic. You do not need to bring down the temperature yourself, some “human” drugs are contraindicated for cats. And such “treatment” will only worsen the course of the disease.
In order not to worry about your pet in the future, vaccinate it on time. The first vaccination can be done as early as 2 months of age. Repeat — in 2 weeks. However, before vaccinations, be sure to “drive” helminths, as they greatly reduce the body’s protective reaction.
After vaccination, the cat develops a strong immune system. She is not afraid of panleukopenia for a year. Therefore, vaccinations (to prevent cat distemper) should be repeated every year so that your pet does not get sick. It is very important to know that your meowing friend can get distemper not only from clearly ill members of the cat family, but also from those who have been ill for a long time, who release the virus into the environment with urine, feces, and even saliva.
Be sure to get vaccinated, because it is impossible to completely protect yourself from infection. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, parvovirus can be brought into the house by you on shoes (you can step in the excrement or urine of a sick animal without even noticing it).
The pet will sniff or lick your shoes and get infected. Insect bites are less likely to cause infection, but such cases have also been recorded. Even through care items (for example, you took someone’s bowl or bedding, which were used by animals with panleukopenia), you can “pick up” distemper.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.