Distemper: It’s a Cat Thing

Published January 26, 2015

Distemper: It’s a Cat Thing

Dogs are not the only ones who have the risk of acquiring distemper. Cats are equal candidates as well. Feline distemper, also known as the Feline Panleukopenia Virus, is a highly contagious disease that spreads through direct or indirect contact of the virus. Almost 90 percent of cats that get affected by the disease end up with fatal consequences.

Symptoms to Look Out For

If the disease is caught early, the chances of survival are high and the disease could be eradicated completely with proper treatment. The symptoms of feline distemper usually arrive 10 days after exposure. The first symptoms include a loss of appetite and a high fever. Other symptoms that come up after the disease further progresses include the following.

  • Vomiting or dry heaving (if the cat hasn’t eaten)
  • Diarrhea or bloody stool
  • Dehydration- a major symptom to be concerned about
  • Weight loss
  • Anaemia
  • Abdominal pain may be demonstrated by cat licking or biting its own abdomen.
  • Rough textured hair or very matted hair if your cat is long haired
  • Standing over the food or water bowl for long periods of time and not consuming from it
  • Hiding for a few days
  • Developing a yellow color on the ears due to development of jaundice
  • Lack of coordination

How to Treat Your Sick Cat

Feline distemper is a very serious disease, and it is not recommended to treat it at home. Go to your vet and explain in detail about all the activities of your cat he past few days. If not acted quickly upon, your cat may not be able to recover. Vets sometimes administer a saline solution in the form of an I.V. to reduce your cat’s dehydration. He may also administer antibiotics to prevent your cat from developing secondary infections. If your cat has reached advanced stages of the distemper however, it may not be saved. So don’t wait for it to get worse, if two or more of the above mentioned symptoms are exhibited by your cat, go to your vet immediately.

When it’s Just a Cold

Cats don’t catch colds from their other counterparts like humans do. However, they are at a risk of catching upper respiratory infections that are caused by viruses like feline herpes and calcivirus. Once a cat acquires a virus like feline herpes, it sticks for life and may get reactivated later on. However, treatment is simple and your cat will be causing mischief in no time. Symptoms of the above mentioned infections include:

  • A runny nose
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Fever
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Loss of appetite because she can’t smell her food.
  • Lethargy

Basically they acquire the same symptoms we get when we have the flu. That’s why it’s also known as cat flu. Kittens and senior cats should be taken to the vet since they have a chance of developing secondary infections. Healthy adult cats however will recover within a week or two.

Distemper: It’s a Cat Thing Credit Picture License: Ranoush. via photopin cc

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