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Feline Panleukopenia Prognosis - Can a Cat Survive Panleukopenia?

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. February 23, 2021
Feline Panleukopenia Prognosis - Can a Cat Survive Panleukopenia?

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Feline panleukopenia (FP) is a highly contagious viral disease in cats caused by the feline parvovirus. Kittens are most severely affected by this virus. It's also important to keep in mind that humans are not affected by this virus, only cats.

In this AnimalWised article we're going to talk about panleukopenia in cats, its causes, symptoms and treatment. We will also talk about its prognosis as many people wonder if cats can survive panleukopenia. Keep reading to learn more about this viral disease.

You may also be interested in: Feline Parvovirus

What is feline panleukopenia?

Feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral disease caused by feline parvovirus. Once this pathogen enters the body it affects the cat, killing healthy cells in the process of division. This produces various symptoms, for example, if they are affected by intestinal microvilli, the cat will have diarrhea.

Parvovirus causes the number of white blood cells to reduce and causes defense system cells to attack the bone marrow in the area where continuous cell division is occurring. Unfortunately this disease also causes a decrease in red blood cells, which makes the disease clinically even worse.

It has a high mortality rate and can affect cats of any age. However, it is more likely to spread to cats under one year of age and those suffering from a disease or immunocompromised cats. In other words, kittens are most severely affected by this virus, and most do not survive.

The virus is transmitted when a healthy cat comes into contact with the faeces, urine, blood, fleas or secretions of an infected cat. This viral disease doesn't affect humans.

Feline Panleukopenia Prognosis - Can a Cat Survive Panleukopenia? - What is feline panleukopenia?

Symptoms of feline panleukopenia

Symptoms of a cat with feline panleukopenia may vary from one animal to another, depending on many factors such as age or the state of the immune system. The cat may have a mild or serious form of this viral disease. With that being said, you should suspect the presence of this disease when your pet presents some of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Abortions in pregnant cats
  • Tremors
  • Apathy
  • Lack of coordination in new-born cats

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, or any other abnormalities in their behaviour or appearance, you must take themto the veterinarian immediately so they can receive proper treatment as early as possible.

Diagnosis of feline panleukopenia

The veterinarian will confirm the diagnosis of feline panleukopenia based on the manifested symptoms and the animal's complete medical history. They may also perform a blood test which, if the virus is present, will show alterations in white and red blood cells, depending on the stage the disease is at.

The definitive diagnosis of feline epanleukopenia is made through an ELISA test where a stool sample is extracted directly from the rectum of the cat.

With these tests and examinations your veterinarian will be able to determine whether or not your cat is suffering from feline panleukopenia and/ or another viral disease, and they will be able to determine the best treatment for them.

Feline Panleukopenia Prognosis - Can a Cat Survive Panleukopenia? - Diagnosis of feline panleukopenia

Treatment of feline panleukopenia

Because feline panleukopenia is a virus, there is no specific cure, therefore, treatment consists of providing supportive care. The objective of the treatment is to keep the animal alive until an immune response capable of defeating the virus itself, which can take 5 to 7 days. With this being said, based on the clinical symptoms the veterinarian may recommend the following therapeutic measures:

  • Fluid therapy: the administration of fluids orally or intravenously is essential to counteract dehydration and restore normal electrolyte balance.
  • Blood transfusion: this can be used when levels of albumin (protein) are very low. It is important to restore them to prevent the occurrence of oedema.
  • High-calorie diet: feeding the cat properly is essential when their lack of appetite is severe. This may mean resorting to feeding through a nasal tube.
  • Antiemetics drugs: these drugs are used to prevent the onset of vomiting.
  • Antibiotic drugs: these can be used to combat and control secondary infections to disease viral.

Remember that the veterinarian is the only person qualified to prescribe a particular treatment. As the cat's caregiver, you must simply take them to the veterinarian as soon as you observe any of the symptoms mentioned above or any other abnormality. Then, the veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose and treat them. Early detection and treatment is essential to a good prognosis.

Feline panleukopenia prognosis

As we've previously mentioned, feline panleukopenia is a viral disease with no specific cure. Therefore, early detection and treatment are essential to a good prognosis and recovery. However, even with an early detection and treatment, this feline viral disease still has a high mortality rate.

Nevertheless, many cats still survive, mostly adult cats. As their caregivers all we can do is help our cat prevent this viral disease, as well as take them to regular check-ups and bring them to the veterinarian whenever we observe any abnormalities in their behaviour or appearance.

Feline Panleukopenia Prognosis - Can a Cat Survive Panleukopenia? - Feline panleukopenia prognosis

How to prevent feline panleukopenia

Although this viral disease is hard to treat, it is quite easy to prevent. If you want to help your cat prevent feline panleukopenia, it is important that you take the following advice into account:

  • Following the recommended vaccination schedule is the most effective preventive tool. Talk to your veterinarian about the vaccinations your kitten or adult cat needs. These vaccinations are just as important for indoor cats as they are for outdoor cats.
  • Any infected cat should be kept isolated with their own food bowls, litter box, etc.
  • Keep your cat's environment in optimal hygienic conditions. Be extra careful when caring for kittens.

Although simple tips, they are very effective with preventing this deadly viral disease, as well as many others. If you want to learn about other cat diseases and how to prevent them, we recommend you read our article about the most common diseases in cats.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Feline Panleukopenia Prognosis - Can a Cat Survive Panleukopenia?, we recommend you visit our Viral diseases category.

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