Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV) aka Feline Distemper

Initially our veterinarian thought Pickles was suffering from a mild case of dehydration. Upon further symptoms and tests, she has been diagnosed with feline distemper and given a rate of survival of 40%. Today and tomorrow are the critical days and we will be able to tell if she is responding to treatment or not.

FPV is in the same viral family as canine parvo. It is highly contagious and a very stable virus in the environment. I have read that it can last for years at room temperature and is highly resistant to most cleaners except bleach. Most all cats have been exposed to feline distemper in their lives due to the resistance of the virus - fortunately, the killed FPV vaccination is remarkably effective at protecting against the disease. (Side note: How did I do research before the internet?!?) Pickles had her first vaccination on Friday. I did ask if perhaps we could be seeing a reaction similar to the disease from the vaccination (similar to when humans get a flu vaccine and have mild flu symptoms); he didn't think so.

Pickles had been living in our bathroom so I have bleached that room. Thankfully we hadn't introduced her to Gracie and Georgie yet, however, the transmission of this virus can occur on hands, shoes, etc.

I guess this is part of the deal when you pick up strays. I certainly wasn't expecting this (I'm sure no one ever is!).


Jena said...

This is interesting to me. I've never seen or heard of a case of feline distemper in my 5 years of college/career. Are you confident in the diagnosis? It might be something we miss here because people in our area usually don't spend the $$$ on diagnostics. I sorry you're going through this. :( She was lucky to find you!

angie said...

Hi Jena,

It was interesting to me too because I also worked at a vet clinic for 4 years (the same one that she is hospitalized at) and we never had distemper either. We had parvo (dogs) but I don't remember feline distemper.

I am beginning to doubt the diagnosis. When I called for an update yesterday she had perked up, was eating on her own and was active/playing in her cage.

I will keep you posted to see what today brings.

angie said...

p.s. It was not a diagnostically confirmed diagnosis - it was based on her symptoms: lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, no parasites (two fecals were negative) and low white blood count.

Barb said...

Hope she continues to feel better.