Guidebook: Feline Panleukopenia

Chapter 9: Client Information

Information for Clients:

  • FPV is highly infectious and causes diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, lethargy, weakness, and fever. The virus also attacks white blood cells, leaving the infected cat much more susceptible to other bacterial infections.
  • Diarrhea can be mild or severe, even fatal. Diarrhea in an otherwise bright, alert, eating, drinking cat is more likely due to diet change, stress, parasites, or dietary indiscretion, than to FPV.
  • If adopters suspect their cat has FPV, they should be instructed to call their veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier the infection is diagnosed and treated, the more likely they are to do well.
  • Adopters who have taken home a high risk cat since three days before the first case was recognized should be notified of clinical signs to watch for and advised of what action to take should those signs be observed.
  • There is some risk that a cat incubating FPV will infect other cats. The new cat and their feces should be kept away from kittens and unvaccinated cats for 2 weeks. 

Facts about Panleukopenia for the Public:

  • Local veterinary hospitals, other shelters and rescue groups should be notified of the occurrence of FPV in the community.
  • FPV is a highly infectious viral disease. Signs include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, lethargy and fever, and death. It can range from mild diarrhea to fatal disease.
  • Diarrhea in an otherwise bright, alert, eating, drinking kitten is more likely due to diet change, stress, parasites, or dietary indiscretion.
  • Because it is so contagious, cats that were potentially exposed to FPV should be quarantined in an easily cleaned area for 14 days to make sure they are not going to come down with it.
  • FPV is part of the vaccine series recommended for all cats and provides excellent protection. Adult cats that are current on their vaccinations are at minimal risk for this illness.
  • And...what your shelter's policy will be regarding what to do if an adopters newly adopted cat develops clinical signs or comes down with FPV: Who to call, who will pay, etc.