Feline Panleukopenia

Feline Panleukopenia is caused by the Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPLV) which is also referred to as feline infectious enteritis or feline distemper. The virus causes a decrease in the number of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are essential for immunity and fighting infections and diseases, making infected cats extremely vulnerable to other infections.

This virus can only be killed by very strong disinfectants such as 2% bleach and can survive in some environments for over a year.


A cat can become infected with Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPLV) by direct contact with other infected cats, or the virus can transferred via contaminated water, feed bowls, or on shoes and clothing.

Clinical signs

Cats with Feline Panleukopenia often experience depression or listlessness which may progress to collapse. Other clinical signs may include:

  • • Vomiting
  • • Dehydration
  • • Diarrhea (which may contain blood)
  • • Dull, rough coat
  • • Loose skin due to dehydration
  • • Purulent discharge from eyes and nose
  • • Recurrent infections
  • • Shock

Can Feline Panleukopenia be treated?

Unfortunately there is no specific treatment for Feline Panleukopenia, however, antibiotics are helpful in controlling secondary infections that are common due to the lack of white blood cells and reduced immunity. The most life threatening side effects of FPL are dehydration and shock, both of which can be treated with intravenous fluid therapy and intensive nursing care. Prognosis for a full recovery is good, if the cat receives fast care and support.

Protection against Feline Panleukopenia

Effective vaccines are readily available to protect cats against Feline Panleukopenia as part of the core feline vaccination program. The immunity provided is strong but will decreases with time, therefore, booster vaccinations every year are strongly recommended.

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