Feline panleukopenia outbreak at the San Angelo Animal Shelter

Local News

SAN ANGELO, Texas – An outbreak of a fatal feline viral disease called, feline panleukopenia, is killing dozens of cats at the San Angelo Animal Shelter.

Now cat owners are being urged to get their pets vaccinated, to stop the spread of the deadly disease.

“We did just run the monthly report for May, and over 100 kittens were euthanized for failure to thrive, and a lot of that was panleukopenia,” stated Morgan Chegwidden who is the Assistant Director at Neighborhood and Family Services of San Angelo.

The disease caused by the feline parvovirus, is said to be a part of the reason 121 kittens were put down in May. Meanwhile, in April only about 30 were euthanized.

It has always been prevalent; however, it has recently risen greatly in numbers.

The symptoms for this virus include vomiting, dehydration and bloody stool.

“They run fever, they vomit, some of them with have diarrhea and some don’t. If you do blood work on them, you will find that they have a very, very low white [blood cell] count. It is a virus, that we don’t have drugs readily available for or the economy to treat the virus,” explained Dr. Gary Hodges who is the owner of Western Veterinary Hospital, as well as a veterinarian there.

The reason the virus is so widespread is because it’s contracted very easily, either from other cats or from places where sick cats have roamed.

“We know that this virus can live at room temperature for a year. They get it on their feet, then they clean themselves, lick themselves and that’s how the virus gets started. It’s very resistant to a great deal of disinfectants. One of the best things to disinfect areas with, is 6 to 10 percent bleach,” detailed Dr. Hodges.

The virus is also extremely deadly, with almost no survivors.

“Unfortunately, panleukopenia is almost always fatal. It is very difficult to treat but it is preventable. It is something that, if your cat is currently on vaccines and your kittens have had the appropriate number of boosters for its vaccines, it will likely never affect your cat,” claimed Chegwidden.

The best way to protect your cats from picking up the virus, is to get them vaccinated.

“The homeowners in the community need to their parts and get the vaccinations. Even if they just leave their cats or dogs outside, they need to be vaccinated. Otherwise, this deadly virus can spread and affect other homeowners,” expressed Mike Allums who is cat owner.

However, what about the adult cats that have already received their vaccines?

“They need to get re-vaccinated. Have your animals vaccinated at the appropriate times and for the appropriate diseases that your veterinarian recommends, for your situation. Have your animal spayed and neutered at the appropriate time and keep them in a controlled environment,” said Dr. Hodges.

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