Recently, Luna's parents decided to become cat people—and adopted Luna from a rescue. Shortly after, they adopted another kitten from an animal shelter.
Unfortunately, a few days after adopting the new kitten, she passed away unexpectedly. Her parents assumed she was sick, but didn’t know how sick she was. The next day, Luna became very ill. She was sluggish, vomiting, and had diarrhea—her parents knew that something was very wrong with their sweet kitty, and took her to the vet as soon as they could.
At the vet, they learned that Luna had distemper, which may have been passed onto Luna from the other rescue kitten.
In early December, both Animal Medical Center of Wyoming and Red Hills Veterinary Hospital posted warnings about cats in their clinics presenting with panleukopenia, also known as distemper and feline parvovirus. And, if any of you follow Hanna Shaw, better known as the Kitten Lady, she is currently helping a kitten (Hank) through this disease as well (and showing people how to help their kittens survive this disease).
For those who don’t know, distemper is lethal. This highly contagious virus attacks cats’ intestines, just like the parviovirus does in dogs. Cats can get infected when they come into contact with infected bodily fluids (blood, nasal discharge, saliva, urine), feces, or fleas that have been feeding from an infected cat. It is a very hardy virus can easily be carried on shoes and human clothing into your household. This virus is resistant to disinfectant and can remain in the environment for as long as a year, waiting for an opportunity. (So, even indoor cats that are not current on Feline Distemper Vaccination can be infected.)
The virus can also be passed along by people who have not washed their hands appropriately between handling cats, or by materials such as bedding, food dishes or equipment that has been used on other cats. (Washing your hands with soap and water directly after handling any animal will minimize the chance of passing infections to healthy animals.)
Signs of feline distemper include:
• Complete loss of interest in food
• Diarrhea/blood in the stool
• Difficulty walking, weakness or loss of balance/uncoordinated movements
• Excessive sneezing and a runny nose
• Eyes are running and watery
• High fever (over 104 degrees)
• Loss of energy and excessive sleep
• Weight loss
• Withdrawl, or hiding themselves
If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately! There is no cure for panleukopenia—and without treatment from a vet your beloved pet will die. The best way to avoid your kitten or cat getting infected is to prevent the disease with a vaccination. Kittens between the ages of two to six months are at highest risk for developing severe disease symptoms, as well as pregnant cats and immune compromised cats. In adult cats, usually occurs in mild form and may even go unnoticed. Fortunately, cats that survive this infection are immune to any further infection with this virus. If you have a kitten/cat that needs their vaccination, schedule it today.
Luna’s dad’s hours had been cut significantly, and her mom had recently undergone an extensive hip surgery causing the family to have some high medical bills. The $1,300+ vet bill to help Luna get better was much more than they expected, and much more than they could afford. They applied to Fur Kids Foundation for help with Luna's emergency veterinary care, and we were happy to help. Luna stayed at the vet clinic for a few days, and received treatment for her distemper. Luckily she was able to make a full recovering and is back at home being a kitten again.
Fur Kids Foundation was recently awarded a $3,500 grant from the Banfield Foundation® to be used to help the Gillette, Wyoming charity with their emergency veterinary assistance program. This funding helped the Foundation grant money to help Luna's family with the vet visit. If you would like to help Fur Kids Foundation continue to help families with animals, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. The money helps families during a time when they may not be able to afford adequate veterinary care. Check out more Success Stories.