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article imageFeline Panleukopenia Strikes Animal Shelter

By Debra Myers     Oct 16, 2007 in Health
Panleukopenia may have found its way into a local animal shelter, and infected a few of the kittens and cats. Because of the kind of disease it is, Chemung County SPCA put the word out that none of the cats at the facility will be available for adoption.
Big Flats, NY - Panleukopenia is a pretty strange sounding name, but most people are more familiar with the term "feline parvovirus". Although not uncommon, it is a highly contagious disease between cats and is almost always deadly to kittens.
"All shelters across the country are confronted with Panleukopenia at one point or another. You can judge a shelter by the way they deal with it. We decided to come forth with our community letting them know we did have a suspected case in the shelter," said Leanne Falkingham of the Chemung County SPCA.
Panleukopenia is transmitted via shared food and water dishes, grooming of each other, fleas, in utero, and handling by humans where the disease is transmitted between cats.
Symptoms vary, and may often be mistaken for some other medical problems. The first signs an owner might notice are generalized depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, dehydration or hanging over the water dish. Normally, the sickness may go on for three or four days after the first elevation of body temperature. Fever will fluctuate during the illness in some cats and abruptly fall to subnormal levels shortly before death.
Other symptoms can be:
> Appearance of the "third eyelid," or haw, in the inner corner of the eye
> Lack of grooming, evidenced by dull, rough coat
> Evidence of abdominal pain
> A "hunched over" postural appearance
The good news is that when caught early enough, the cats can be vaccinated with routine trips to the vets, plus sanitary precautions can stop the disease in its tracks.
Neighbors of the SPCA are concerned enough that they will also monitor their own cats and said that they would make sure their cats were vaccinated.
SPCA officials say the disease does not affect humans or dogs.
Currently, Chemung County SPCA has some 200 cats and kittens.
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