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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Kitten deaths in Canberra

Thursday, March 01, 2018


Panleukopenia, also known as Feline Enteritis, has swept through the homeless and rescued kitten population of Canberra in the last month. Kittens died from dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhoea, and massive secondary infection. Aggressive support with intravenous fluids and broad spectrum antibiotics helped some but a high proportion of affected cats died.
Infection with the parvovirus which causes Panleukopenia is highly preventable. Mass vaccination prevents outbreaks. When less than 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, the situation is perfect for the emergence of a disease epidemic. The current outbreak is a timely reminder that maintaining immunity in populations of animals with effective vaccines is essential.
The usual F3 vaccine is highly effective in protecting against Panleukopenia.
If you are unsure of your cats' vaccination status please phone us on 6251 1444 and we will check our records for you. Cats less than 12 months of age are most vulnerable and must have had an F3 booster after 16 weeks of age to be fully protected.

Enteritis outbreak - check your cats' vaccination record

Thursday, March 02, 2017
 
Since the 1970’s, vigilant use of feline core vaccines has resulted in strong herd immunity against feline enteritis (FPV), also known as panleukopaenia, caused by a parvovirus. Cases of the virus, which causes fevers, vomiting and dreadful diarrhoea, were almost unheard of.
 However, there has been a re-emergence of the potentially fatal enteritis over the last few years, with three outbreaks in Victoria between 2013 and 2015 claiming the lives of around 200 cats. Over the last month, shelter-based outbreaks of the disease have been reported in both New South Wales and Queensland, including Blacktown Pound in Sydney’s west.  At another shelter the infection claimed the lives of five out of seven cats in one litter, before the virus was identified, enabling appropriate treatment of the other two kittens.
The most common form of FPV is the acute form, which presents as a three to four day history of fever, depression and anorexia, progressing to vomiting and diarrhoea.  Severe clinical illness leading to mortality is much more common in young, inadequately vaccinated kittens three to five months of age. 
The key to disease control is still mass vaccination. “Disease in cats is caused by parvoviruses, small DNA viruses. The main one is feline panleucopenia virus but parvoviruses that infect dogs can also cause the disease in cats” Professor Vanessa Barrs, Specialist in Feline Medicine told media publications. When less than 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, the situation is perfect for the emergence of a disease epidemic, she said. The current outbreak is a timely reminder that maintaining immunity in populations of animals where effective vaccines are available is essential.
If you are unsure of your cats' vaccination status please phone us on 6251 1444 and we will check our records for you. Cats less than 12 months of age are most vulnerable and must have had an F3 booster after 12 weeks of age to be fully protected.

The unwell cat

Thursday, January 19, 2017

   Cats often don't give us many clues that they are ill. Perhaps they miss a meal or hide in the cupboard. Perhaps they look for a cuddle; or perhaps they want nothing to do with you. Some will vomit or have diarrhoea. The occasional one will show pain by hunching over or curling up and wanting to be left alone.

Many of these vaguely ill cats have pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas. The pain and nausea put them off their food. As cats obtain most of their fluids through their food rather than from what they drink they become dehydrated very quickly. The dehydration exacerbates the pain and nausea and so a vicious downward spiral continues.

Fortunately most respond to a drip to rehydrate them, and pain relief and anti-nausea medication. Within 2 or 3 days they are back to their normal selves. 

Pancreatitis is a very common complaint in middle-aged to older cats. If your cat doesn't seem to be her or himself call us sooner rather than later as cats often suffer pancreatitis silently.

Gastro virus spreading north

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vets at Canberra Cat Vet are urging cat owners, especially those with kittens less than 12 months old to check their vaccination records. They should have had vaccinations against Panleukopaenia virus, also known as Feline Enteritis, at approximately 8, 12 and 16 weeks old with a booster at about 15 months of age.

Panleukopaenia virus, has spread north from Melbourne to Mildura. Vets in Mildura diagnosed the virus in a litter of 5 month old kittens and a 12 month old male cat. The virus will continue to advance through inadequately vaccinated cats.

The virus causes severe diarrhoea, collapse of the immune system, fever and dehydration. There is no cure but some cats survive with supportive treatment.

The vaccine is very effective as long as kittens have had the last of their boosters from about 14-16 weeks of age.

My kitten has diarrhoea...

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Many kittens develop diarrhoea especially in the first week or two in their new homes.

Often it is due to the big changes in their lives - a new family, leaving mum, new surroundings, but most often it is because of the new diet. Even good quality kitten food causes diarrhoea in a kitten that is not used to it. Find out what the breeder or foster carer fed your kitten and feed some of the new food mixed in with some of the old food. Gradually increase the proportion of the new food over a couple of weeks.  

Kittens lose the enzyme for digesting milk very quickly so avoid dairy products. Kitten foods contain all the calcium and protein that a kitten requires.

Check when the kitten was last wormed. Worm young kittens every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old to avoid diarrhoea from worms.

If your kitten develops diarrhoea switch to just cooked white chicken for a couple of meals and deworm with a reputable wormer like Milbemax. Do not use a wormer based on piperazine.

If the faeces does not firm up within 24 hours or your kitten is lethargic, vomiting or not eating consult a vet immediately. Kittens quickly dehydrate and become very ill because of fluid loss.

More serious causes of diarrhoea include enteritis (also known as panleukopenia), giardia, coccidia, cryptosporidium, trichomonas,clostridia, salmonella and campylobacter. Take a sample of the diarrhoea to your vet so that we can check for them if necessary.

Lilies are poisonous to cats

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

All species of lilies are toxic to cats. Indoor cats with little choice in plant munching material are most at risk as they will try any cut flower that comes into the house.  Any part of the plant – flowers, leaves or stems - is dangerous. Even lily pollen licked off the coat destroys cats’ kidney tubules.

Lilies proven to poison cats include: Easter Lily, Tiger Lily, Day Lily, Glory Lily, Stargazer Lily, Rubrum Lily, Asian Lily and the Japanese Show Lily.

If you see your cat with lily on her coat, in her mouth or in her vomit don’t wait for signs of poisoning. The sooner we get it out of her system and start treatment to protect the kidneys the greater her chance of survival.

Affected cats vomit and are depressed within hours of ingesting lily. Some then seem to recover before starting to show signs of severe kidney failure a day or so later. Others continue vomiting, go off their food and get more and more depressed.

If emptying the stomach and medications to prevent absorption of the toxin are effective, the chance of recovery is excellent. If your cat absorbs enough toxin to cause damage to her kidneys then her outlook is very poor. It is essential to seek emergency care immediately after ingestion of the lily plant.  


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Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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