Keeping a killer at bay

By Connie Orcutt • Published: July 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

Until recently, the most significant feline infection was a deadly virus that mainly targets kittens — but any cat can fall prey. Called panleukopenia [pan-luke-oh-PĒ-nē-ah], the virus attacks white blood cells, the body’s infection-fighting cells. Sick cats vomit repeatedly, have blood-streaked diarrhea and suffer from abdominal pain and fever. Kittens that survive are off balance and have a shaky gait.

Feline panleukopenia is highly contagious and is carried by wild animals, like raccoons. It’s a tough bug to kill and it hangs around in the environment for months through any weather. Even most disinfectants can’t knock it out.

So why doesn’t panleuk [pan-LUKE] still kill thousands of cats each year? Two words: effective vaccination. This dangerous virus still lurks out there, so don’t tempt fate. Keep your kitty purring and protected by staying up to date on vaccinations.