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Cat Parvovirus Symptoms

If you are a pet owner, you might feel responsible when your cat gets sick. This can be particularly overwhelming if your cat contracts a life-threatening illness such as parvovirus. Therefore, it is essential to learn all the facts about parvovirus from our vets in Franklin. 

What Is The Cat Parvovirus?

Parvo in cats is a viral disease that is also known as feline distemper or feline panleukopenia. The feline parvovirus primarily attacks the cells in your cat's intestines, which can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty eating, and difficulty drinking. Additionally, it also attacks the bone marrow, causing shortages of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

This condition is most severe among kittens between the ages of three and five months. Although kittens are initially protected from the virus through antibodies in their mother's milk, this protection begins to fade as they reach 4 to 12 weeks old.

Parvo is prevalent in most environments, and nearly every cat will be exposed to it during their life. However, young kittens, sick, and unvaccinated cats are the most vulnerable to contracting this disease.

How Parvovirus Attacks Your Cat's Body

Parvo is an illness that affects the stomach and small intestines of cats. The virus attacks healthy cells, leading to the destruction of the gut barrier and preventing the absorption of important nutrients. In kittens, Parvo can also target the bone marrow and lymphopoietic tissues, which are vital components of the immune system. Additionally, the virus can cause damage to the heart.

Young Cats Are Susceptible to Parvo

If the mother is fully vaccinated against Parvo, her kittens will inherit antibodies that will protect them against the virus for the first few weeks of their lives.

However, as the kittens begin to wean, their immune systems weaken, and the young kittens become susceptible to the disease.

Vets urge pet parents to begin vaccinating their kittens against Parvo starting at 6 weeks of age when the kitten begins to wean, and the antibodies from the mother are no longer available to protect them.

It isn't until the young cat has received all 3 vaccinations that they will be protected against the disease. It is during the gap between weaning and full vaccination that kittens are most likely to catch Parvo.

Symptoms of Parvovirus in Cats

It is important to understand that once your kitten begins showing symptoms they are already very ill. Here are the symptoms you need to look out for.

  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Fever in the early stage 
  • Low body temperature
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Inability to eat
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting or frothing at the mouth
  • Dehydration

Not only are kittens super fragile, but this disease can also progress very quickly and lead to death if not caught right away. If you see the slightest sign of any of these symptoms contact your nearest emergency vet.

Treatment for Parvovirus in Cats & Kittens

Although there is no known cure for Parvo in kittens, veterinarians can provide supportive treatments to alleviate symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. It is crucial to ensure that your kitten remains properly hydrated and receives adequate nutrition to aid in their recovery from Parvovirus.

 Due to their weakened immune systems, kittens with Parvo are susceptible to secondary infections. Therefore, your veterinarian will monitor your kitten's condition closely and may prescribe antibiotics to help combat any bacterial infections that may develop. If a veterinarian is treating your kitten and survives the first four days after symptoms appear, there is a good chance that they will recover from the disease.

Preventing Parvovirus in Cats

Never allow your kitten to spend time around cats that have not been fully vaccinated against Parvovirus. Talk to your vet about how best to protect your cat. Be sure to follow your vet's advice and have your kitten vaccinated against Parvo, rabies, and other potentially serious conditions based on a kitten vaccination schedule for your area.

The prognosis for Cats With Parvo

Feline parvo was once a primary cause of cat mortality. But thanks to the preventive vaccine, it is no longer a serious threat. However, if your cat gets infected with parvo, the chances of survival are low.

Adult cats have a better chance of surviving parvo than kittens. Cats that receive proper veterinary care for parvo have a better chance of survival than those who don't. If left untreated, up to 90 percent of cats with parvo will not survive.

We strongly recommend that all pet owners get their kittens and cats vaccinated and continue with booster shots throughout their pet's life. Taking preventive measures is always better than dealing with the cost and stress of treating a critically ill cat.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your cat been showing signs of the deadly parvovirus virus? If so, contact our Franklin vets or your nearest 24-hour emergency vet to get them urgent care.

New Patients Always Welcome

Pet Vet Battlewood is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Franklin's companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (615) 794-3838