There is no denying that cat parvovirus is a serious and deadly disease. The good news is that some cats will recover if they receive prompt and proper treatment.
However, even with treatment, some felines may not survive. The mortality rate for FPV can be as high as 95 percent in very young kittens who have not yet been vaccinated.
Here‘s a brief overview of this disease, its symptoms, and what you can do if your cat contracts it.
What Is Cat Parvovirus?
Cat parvovirus (CPV), also known as feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), is a highly contagious and deadly disease that affects cats of all ages. It is caused by a parvovirus, similar to the virus that causes canine parvovirus (CPV).
The virus is spread by contacting infected bodily fluids, such as saliva, blood, or feces. It can also be transmitted indirectly through contaminated food, water, or bedding. Once a cat is infected with CPV, it can take one to two weeks for symptoms to develop.
95% of kittens less than two months old with parvovirus die, regardless of their treatment methods. Two months and older kittens have a mortality rate of 60 to 70% if treated, and almost 100% die without treatment. Moreover, adult cats have a mortality rate of 10 to 20% if treated, while 85% die if they’re untreated. On the other hand, 20 to 30% of elderly cats die if they contract parvovirus and have a treatment, and there is a 90% mortality rate if left untreated.
That’s why you must remember that having a pet is a big responsibility. In addition to vaccinations, dental services (see more info here), and routine check-ups, you also need to understand common diseases they can acquire and their signs and symptoms so that you can get them the proper treatment as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Cat Parvovirus
The most common symptoms of CPV include:
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea (which may be bloody)
- Severe weakness
- In extreme cases, death
Contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat is showing any of these symptoms.
How Is Cat Parvovirus Diagnosed?
A diagnosis of CPV can be made based on a combination of the following:
- A physical examination and history of the animal’s health
- Clinical signs and symptoms
- Laboratory testing, including a complete blood count (CBC) and biochemical profile, and a viral test for CPV
- Imaging tests, such as X-rays or an ultrasound
How Is Cat Parvovirus Treated?
There is no specific treatment for CPV. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting the animal’s vital functions until the disease runs its course.
You should not try to treat CPV at home. This disease is serious and potentially life-threatening. The only way to ensure that your cat receives the proper care and treatment is to take them to a veterinarian as soon as you notice any symptoms.
That said, prompt and aggressive treatment is essential for the best possible outcome. Treatment may include:
- Intravenous (IV) fluids to prevent dehydration and support kidney function
- Antibiotics to prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections
- Anti-nausea medication to help control vomiting
- Pain relief medication
- Force-feeding or IV nutrition if the cat won’t eat
- Cats with CPV require around-the-clock care. That’s why they’re typically hospitalized for the duration of their treatment.
How to Prevent Cat Parvovirus
The best way to prevent CPV is to vaccinate your cat against it. Start looking now if you haven’t chosen a vet clinic for vet services needs. You can ask for referrals or look online by searching “pet shots near me” or “cat vaccinations near me.”
Kittens should receive their first vaccine at six to eight weeks of age, and a booster shot every three to four weeks until they’re 16 weeks old. After that, they’ll need an annual booster shot.
Adult cats who haven’t been previously vaccinated will need two shots given three to four weeks apart, followed by an annual booster.
In addition to vaccinating your cat, you can help prevent the spread of CPV by:
- Avoiding contact with other cats if your cat is sick
- Keeping your cat up-to-date on vaccinations
- Cleaning and disinfecting any surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus
- Washing your hands thoroughly after handling a sick cat or cleaning up after them
CPV is a deadly disease that can affect cats of all ages. The virus is highly contagious and is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces. The key is to have them vaccinated against it as soon as they’re old enough.
Vaccination should be a part of their overall wellness care (see this dog and cat wellness clinic for more info) as it will help protect them from other deadly diseases. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet is showing signs of parvovirus.