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Feline Distemper Disease

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Feline distemper is a highly contagious, potentially fatal disease of cats. It is caused by a type of parvo virus that infects domestic and feral cats. Diseased cats infect other cats by direct contact or through vomit, saliva, feces and urine. The distemper virus can live for a year in the environment. There are several signs of feline distemper that include depression, fever, loss of appetite, pain in the abdomen and a yellowish vomit and diarrhea which will result in dehydration. Cats that are affected with feline distemper may become stressed. The stress may cause the cat to develop respiratory problems, resulting in a discharge from the eyes and nose. Feline distemper can cause a pregnant cat to abort its litter or produce a stillborn litter. If the kittens are infected shortly before or after birth, this may cause brain damage resulting in muscular problems. For these reasons, it is very important that the queen is current on her vaccinations before she is bred. Diagnosis of the disease is based on clinical signs as well as laboratory evidence of a low, white blood cell count. Easy treatment is the best defense for cats already infected. This is done by combating dehydration with intensive fluid therapy, preventing secondary bacterial infection with antibiotics, and controlling vomiting and diarrhea. Vaccinations are the best way to protect your cat from this disease.

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