Feline Panleukopenia in Cleveland

Feline Panleukopenia (also called feline distemper or feline parvo) used to be a common disease for our cats, but has been rapidly declining thanks to the use of vaccinations. Unfortunately, multiple cats in the greater Cleveland area (particularly Lakewood) have been reported killed by this terrible virus, so we’d like to take some time to discuss it.

Feline Distemper is rampant out in the environment. It can be spread through an infected cat’s bodily fluids, including urine, blood, stool, and nasal discharge. It is even reported that fleas who have bitten an infected cat can transmit the disease to a healthy cat.  This virus does major damage to the body as it attacks the cat’s intestines, lymph nodes, and bone marrow.  Signs that a cat has been infected with Feline Distemper may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting & Diarrhea


Your veterinarian will also be able to determine if the cat has a fever or a low white blood cell count, both of which are common signs of this disease.

This potentially fatal disease moves very quickly, so it is best to get the cat to the veterinarian at the very first signs of infection.  The cat will need to be hospitalized and monitored throughout the treatment process, which includes antibiotics and IV fluids.  Unfortunately, there is no medication that will directly treat the virus, so the only treatment plan available is to support the cat’s nutrition, hydration, and to prevent any secondary infections (hence the antibiotics) while the cat’s immune system fights off the virus.  This does not end well for all cats, as many cats’ immune systems are unable to fight off the infection.  This especially applies to young kittens.


Rather than be forced to try to treat the disease, the readily available FVRCP vaccination will protect against Feline Panleukopenia as well as two other feline diseases.  This vaccine is able to render your cat immune to the deadly Panleukopenia virus, protecting them from all the potential health damage.  Give us a call at 216-688-3737 to set up an appointment for your cat and protect them from this infection!