Feline Distemper affects vital cells
Annual exams and vaccinations are important for the health of your pet, family and pet sitters. Fluffs of Love is researching details this fall about viruses that require annual vaccines in dogs and cats. Today we look at a preventable virus that highly contagious and life-threatening to cats. Feline distemper, or FVP, requires several initial shots to prevent distemper in kittens and cats. But after the second inoculation, cats are safe from contracting the virus from infected animals.

Feline distemper is a misnomer, because the virus does not affect a cat’s temperament. Also cat and dog distemper are not related nor are feline and canine parvovirus. However, the feline parvovirus causes distemper in cats. Humans, cats and dogs cannot catch the parvovirus from one other.
Many names and acronyms refer to feline distemper: feline panleukopenia virus, or FPV; and feline parvovirus, or FP. All of these refer to the same virus, which can be prevented with vaccinations and deadly without required annual shots.

Symptoms include uncharacteristic behavior?

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and several other signs the cat is not well. Some less common symptoms are cats hiding, tucking their feet under their bodies and or resting their chins on the floor for long periods of time or suffering from a lack of coordination.
Symptoms of the virus might not show until four or five days after a cat was exposed to infected blood, urine or feces. Fleas that attached to infected animals can also transmit the virus. Pregnant cats are at high risk of contracting the feline distemper because of their compromised immune systems. A pregnant cat that gets infected can pass feline distemper to unborn kittens or after their birth through breast milk. Infected cats from two to six months old are most likely to suffer from severe symptoms or death.

Young kittens benefit from vaccination?

Kittens as young as four weeks can get a killed vaccine if they have likely been exposed to the virus. Kittens older than 4 weeks can get a modified live vaccine, but neither live nor killed vaccines protect the cat until after second vaccine.

Feline distemper attacks blood cells?

This virus affects blood cells that divide rapidly, especially cells in the intestines, bone marrow (which makes red and white blood cells), and in the stem cells of a fetus. With blood cells under attack, the FPV can lead to anemia and make the cat vulnerable to other viral or bacterial infections.

Cats can survive distemper. In adults cats, the virus usually occurs in mild form and might even go unnoticed. Cats that survive feline distemper will never again be sickened with the virus after they are well.
Disinfect contaminated areas?The parvovirus resists common disinfectants and can survive for years in contaminated environments. To clean an environment where feline distemper is suspected, leave a solution of 1/2 cup of bleach to a gallon of water for 10 minutes. Then wipe away the solution. Renowned veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker recommends Rescue Disinfectant Cleaner.

A cat with distemper can shed the virus through urine and feces for up to six weeks.
If your home had a cat with distemper, disposing of all pet items the cat came into contact with is safest. But you can soak the hard items in one of the solutions above. Anything that was soiled with feces or urine should be discarded. If your shoes or clothing were contaminated, dispose of them.

When you are handling a cat recovering from distemper, use soap and water frequently and keep your cat from other cats as long as the veterinarian recommends. But do show the cat attention and affection. Cats suffering distemper are physically and emotionally depressed and need you interaction. Change clothes when you leave and wash them well.

You, your pets and any other cats can avoid feline distemper with a couple of shots. Vaccinate ANY cat before you let it into your home.

NOTE: The feline distemper vaccine is required for any stay at Purrfect Paradise Cat Hotel. (www.purrfectparadisecathotel.com/)

At Fluffs of Luv, your pet’s care and comfort is our primary concern. We are extremely careful not to spread illness from one pet to another. Therefore, we require all pets to be current on vaccinations. Call us or visit fluffsofluv.com today to schedule visits now.


pets.webmd.com/pet-vaccines-schedules-cats-dogs – This link provides a useful chart of core and non-core vaccines.





feline distemper

feline panleukopenia

feline parvovirus



By Beth Crosby