886 S Pine St, PO Box 277

Grantsburg, WI 54840

Phone: (715) 463-2536

1(800) 924-0588

140 Evergreen Square SW

Pine City, MN 55063

Phone: (320) 629-7474

Understanding Feline Panleukopenia

2/14/2018

Feline Panleukopenia

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, feline panleukopenia was a leading cause of death among cats before the discovery of an effective vaccine. You may also hear the terms feline parvo or feline distemper used to describe the same disease. However, it’s important to understand that both canine parvo and canine distemper come from a different virus than the feline versions. The diseases have similar names, but they affect each species differently. 

Feline Panleukopenia is Highly Contagious
This highly contagious disease originates with feline parvovirus. It affects kittens more severely than it does older cats. The virus affects and kills a cat or kitten’s cells that grow and divide rapidly. The most common places to find the virus is in the intestines or bone marrow of kittens and cats and in an unborn litter of cats inside of their mother’s placenta. 

Risk Factors for Feline Panleukopenia
The feline parvovirus is common, which means that nearly all kittens and cats face exposure at some point. In addition to newborn and unborn kittens, those most at risk of becoming ill with this disease are cats already in poor health and those who have not yet received a vaccination. The most typical age of diagnosis is three to five months, which is also when the most deaths occur due to feline panleukopenia. 

The disease has shown up in all regions of the United States and several foreign countries. It typically spreads in cat colonies, pet shops, animal shelters, and kennels where large groups of cats are together in a small or enclosed space. Feline panleukopenia is more common in urban areas during the warmer months because domesticated house cats have more contact with cats who may be ill or never received a vaccine.

Infection and Diagnosis
A cat who has the virus sheds it through urine, nasal secretions, and feces. Another cat can pick up the infection when he makes contact with the bodily discharges of an infected cat. He can even pick it up from fleas that first landed on the infected cat before transferring to him. Although shedding of the virus only lasts for one or two days, it can live outside of the cat’s body for up to a year. For this reason, an infected and uninfected cat don’t have to make direct contact with each other for transmission to occur. The uninfected cat can easily pick it up through bedding, food bowls, and cages. 

It’s important to isolate infected cats and to keep unvaccinated cats out of the area. The virus is highly resistant to disinfectant, so it can still spread to a new cat even when you have scrubbed everything down. Some of the first indications that your cat may have acquired feline panleukopenia include: dehydration, depressed mood, diarrhea, fever, lack of appetite, lethargy, nasal discharge, and vomiting. Pregnant cats with the virus will often miscarry the litter or give birth to kittens with tremors and severe brain damage.
 
Treatment and Prognosis
Kittens younger than eight weeks rarely survive this disease, and 90 percent of kittens and cats older than eight weeks will die without treatment. Since no medication currently exists that can kill the virus, treatment typically includes treating dehydration, preventing a secondary infection, and providing the infected cat with nutrients. Survival rates increase dramatically once the infected cat has reached the five-day mark.

If you recognize these symptoms in your cat or want to schedule a vaccine for panleukopenia, please contact Grantsburg Animal Hospital at 715-463-2536 or Wild River Veterinary Clinic at 320-629-7474.
 
Photo Credit: Milkos / Getty Images
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How Will You Celebrate Change a Pet’s Life Day?

1/18/2018

Change a Pets Life Day

 

It takes so little to change a pet’s life and now there’s a whole day dedicated to it. Several years ago, some of the top animal welfare organizations came together to create Change a Pet’s Life Day. It takes place on Wednesday, January 24, and the purpose is to raise awareness of companion animal adoption and their well-being in general. You can do several things to help animals on this day or any other day.

Adopt a Pet from a Shelter
Hundreds of animal shelters across the country participate in this event by reducing or even waiving fees on Change a Pet’s Life Day. Some take it a step further by offering other incentives to adopt, such as a free spay or neuter surgery or providing all shots the pet needs. 

You literally save a dog or cat’s life when you adopt from a shelter, but it gets even better than that. By adopting one homeless pet, you free up space for the shelter to take in another. Even if you can’t adopt on January 24, you can let others know about the event by sharing a link on your social media accounts or telling them in person.

Consider Offering Foster Care for Pets
Not everyone can adopt for a variety of reasons. However, you can still help homeless pets by offering temporary shelter if possible. Local no-kill shelters are always looking for new pet foster parents. You would take the pet into your home and care for her until the volunteer organization finds a suitable permanent home. One of your volunteer duties might include helping to review applications from people wanting to adopt the pet. 

Volunteer to Help Promote the Event
This awareness campaign takes a lot of dedicated people to ensure the greatest results for pets. You can still help if you’re unable to adopt or foster a pet who needs a home. For example, you can offer to help promote Change a Pet’s Life Day by printing and distributing flyers, creating a graphic design, or paying to run an ad in the local newspaper in Grantsburg or Wild River. Another possibility is helping to process paperwork at the adoption events taking place in the community that day. 

Resolve to Change Your Own Pet’s Life This Year
The new year is the ideal time to start a new routine with a pet you already have, such as enrolling your dog in obedience classes or making sure your cat gets to the vet for regular check-ups. Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic look forward to seeing your pet in 2018, whether he’s been with you for years or you decided to adopt or foster on January 24. 
 
Photo Credit: Fat Camera / Getty Images
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