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Distemper in Cats



Affected cats will require immediate live saving treatment. Dehydration is one of the primary symptoms of FP, and this will need to be resolved immediately as this can quickly become life endangering. The major goal is to restore body fluid levels and electrolyte balance. And because this virus affects the immune system, your veterinarian may prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to prevent opportunistic infections from taking hold.


Good supportive care can mean the difference between life and death. Your cat will need to be rested until it is out of danger. Provide a quiet, warm space for your cat to recover, away from active areas of the house, and separate from other animals and active children. Placing the food dishes and litter box close by will allow your cat to care for itself without having to exert itself unnecessarily. You will need to isolate your cat from other cats. However, do not avoid physical contact with your cat, as the chances for your cat's recovery are also dependent upon receiving affection from you. This infection has a particularly depressing effect on a cat's physical and mental health and your cat will need affection and comfort during the recovery time. Needless to say, you will need to practice strict hygiene, and keeping in mind that this infection can remain on surfaces, make sure to stay especially clean after coming into contact with your sick cat, so that you are not unintentionally spreading the virus to other cats.


If your cat is treated promptly and effectively and is able to make it through the first two days (48 hours), it is likely that your cat will recover fully, with a lifetime immunity from FP as a plus. It may take a few weeks for your cat to feel completely back to normal, but once your cat has been exposed to this virus and has had an immune response to it, it will be immune from acquiring it again. Also, it will not pass the virus after the initial episode.


Living and Management


Follow your veterinarian's guidelines as far as dispensing medication, household disinfection, and necessity for quarantine. If you have other cats, you will need to observe them closely for signs of illness. Consult with your veterinarian regarding the possibility of vaccinating other cats in the home. Household bleach can be used as an effective disinfectant against this virus, but the best way to be sure that you have cleared your home of any traces of the virus is to replace all of your cat's belongings with new ones. This includes bedding, toys, dishes and litter boxes. Again, keep in mind that even then you may not be able to remove all traces of the virus. While your cat will not be susceptible to reinfection after it has recovered, other visiting cats can still be infected by contaminants that have been left behind.


Vaccination is the most important tool in the prevention of this disease. Before you bring a cat into your home be sure to ask your veterinarian to include the FPV vaccine in the standard vaccination package. Unvaccinated pregnant cats are at highest risk for fatal complications, since their immune systems are compromised by the pregnancy. The developing fetuses are also very likely to be born with severe developmental dysfunctions.



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