Feline panleukopenia (FP), also known as feline distemper, is a highly contagious and life-threatening viral disease of cats caused by feline parvovirus. Although cats of all ages can become infected, the disease is particularly severe in kittens, sick cats and those that are insufficiently vaccinated against the virus. FP is passed from cat to cat by direct contact, fecal waste from infected cats and can also be spread on bedding, food dishes and the hands and clothing of handlers. It is a very stable virus that can remain infectious at room temperature for up to a year, can survive freezing and the use of disinfectants, making this virus very problematic.

Stray cats, barn cats and kittens and cats that are not up to date or have not completed their feline distemper vaccine series are highly at risk for contracting and spreading feline panleukopenia in our area.

Because there have been numerous positive infections in the capital area of New York, Emergency Veterinary Hospitals have initiated patient restrictions and will only be accepting stray kittens in need of euthanasia at this time. They are recommending any stray kitten that is ill, but not critical be taken to either animal control or shelter for assistance.

Please make sure that your cats and kittens are properly and fully vaccinated to protect against feline panleukopenia (feline distemper). A kitten that has received only one dose of the vaccine is not protected. The vaccine we provide at the Arlington Animal Hospital is called FVRCP which stands for Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia. This vaccine protects against not only feline distemper but two other dangerous diseases. This vaccine is given every 3 to 4 weeks, beginning at 8 weeks of age, until the kitten is 16 weeks old, and then boosted every 3 years.

For more information about feline panleukopenia, visit here