Again this month I’ve focused on another preventable disease that is included in routine vaccines recommended by your veterinarian. Feline panleukopenia is a type of parvovirus similar to that seen in dogs, but is specific to cats. Like the disease seen in dogs, panleukopenia can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and fever. In severe cases disease can progress to shock and may be fatal. If the infection occurs in utero (while still pregnant), the kittens can exhibit neurological signs including mental dullness, tremors, ataxia (uncoordinated walking), and seizures.

Panleukopenia is very contagious and hearty. It can survive in the environment for months. There is no particular medication used to treat panleukopenia and treatment is focused on supportive care for dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and nutritional support. Unfortunately, there is no treatment that will change the course of the neurologic form.

Fortunately, the vaccine for panleukopenia, when given as directed by a veterinarian, is very effective in preventing disease. This vaccine, usually in combination with others, including rhinotracheitis and calicivirus, is given to kittens at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Adjustments to the vaccine schedule may be made by your veterinarian depending on the age of your kitten, risks of exposure, and previous vaccine history. This vaccine is then repeated every 1-3 years for life. To make sure your pet is protected from preventable disease, give Valley Verde Veterinarians a call at 520-393-7387.

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