Disease distemper in cats: photos, incubation period, effects
Kitten in the house - a big responsibility for the owners. His body still can not fully resist external infections. One of the most common diseases of cats up to a year is panleukopenia. In the scientific literature, it is often referred to as parvovirus infection, cat fever, infectious enteritis or agranulocytosis in cats. In the common people the disease is called feline plague.
Panleukopenia is a highly contagious disease of cats that occurs in an acute, chronic or subclinical form, characterized by fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea leading to dehydration of the body, and changes in the composition and number of leukocytes in the blood. Without treatment in the early stages of the disease in 60–90% of cases, death is inevitable. And even with recovery, the severe effects of distemper in cats remain. Let's take a closer look at the disease.
More about the causative agent of the disease
The causative agent of a disease such as plague in cats is a virus, the genome of which is represented by single-stranded DNA. It is characterized by high stability in the environment and resistance to various chemical compounds (phenols, ether, acids). At temperatures above 50 ° C, it retains its activity for an hour.
Once in the body of a susceptible animal, the pathogen multiplies in the thymus gland and spleen, then spreads throughout the body, penetrates primarily into rapidly dividing cells of the bone marrow, lymphoid tissue and intestines.
Ways of infecting animals
The virus is transmitted:
- with the direct contact of a sick animal with a healthy one;
- through infected items of care and household goods;
- intrauterine, from a sick cat to kittens;
- airborne droplets;
- infected with arthropods (fleas) or worms.
Epizootological features of panleukopenia
Feline plague is ubiquitous. The source of infection is sick animals. We should not also forget that the individuals who have been ill for a long time remain carriers of the panleukopenia virus.
There is an opinion that the distemper of cats is transmitted to humans. This is not true. For humans, the pathogen is not dangerous, the range of its pathogenicity extends only to domestic and wild cats and members of the Cunha family (ferrets, badgers, skunks, etc.).
Clinical manifestation of distemper in cats
The peak of the disease occurs in the period from July to September. At risk are animals under the age of one year (more than 70% of cases). The disease is most often found in acute, less often in chronic form. The incubation period of the distemper in cats with contact infection does not exceed 6 days, with other methods it can last up to 14 days. The main clinical features of panleukopenia include:
- Refusal of food and water, depression, leading to the development of weakness and exhaustion of the body.
- Fever (a sharp rise in temperature, which is maintained at a high level for 24 hours, then decreases, and after 48 hours it rises again).
- Frequent vomiting and profuse bloody diarrhea.
- Discharge from the nasal cavity and eyes.
- Leukopenia (decrease in the number of leukocytes in peripheral blood - less than 1000 by 1 mm3).
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the abdomen, which are easily palpable during palpation.
- Soreness of the abdomen.
- Change the color of the mucous membrane of the mouth to bluish.
- Changes in behavior (inactivity, apathy, the desire to clog up in a secluded cool place).
- Deviations from the nervous system in the form of seizures, which are observed infrequently.
- Abortions in pregnant cats, the birth of dead offspring or with significant abnormalities.
In the case of chronic disease such as distemper, cats are most often noted: inflammatory processes in the gastrointestinal tract, anemia and severe depletion of the body, or cachexia.
When subclinical course no visible symptoms of the disease. It is not diagnosed and is accompanied by the formation of immunity.
How to determine that the cat is distemper, and correctly diagnose
The primary diagnosis can be made on the basis of characteristic clinical signs indicating that the disease is a distemper in cats (photos are given in the article) - vomiting, prolonged diarrhea, high fever, depression, exhaustion due to refusal of food, constant thirst and inability to take water due to spasm of the pharynx, dryness and cyanosis of the oral mucosa.
If the animal died, then during the autopsy reveal:
- Purulent exudate on the mucous membranes of the nose and eyes.
- Signs of acute enteritis of the intestine, especially the ileum.
- Enlarged spleen.
- Swelling of the lymph nodes, especially in the abdomen.
- Aplastic bone marrow.
The final diagnosis must be confirmed by laboratory data. In the first place, blood tests show agranulocytosis or a sharp decrease in the blood of granulocytes. To identify the virus using serological methods such as:
For the study take the blood or feces of a sick animal.
Differential diagnosis of panleukopenia
According to the clinical manifestation of distemper in cats (photos of sick animals, you can see in this article) is similar to other diseases of both contagious and non-contagious etiology. At statement of the diagnosis it is necessary to exclude such illnesses as:
- Leukemia - identification of leukemia virus by serological methods.
- Salmonellosis - identification of the pathogen by cultivation on special nutrient media (signs of high leukocytosis).
- Acute poisoning is the absence of leukopenia in the blood.
Specific treatment of panleukopenia
Preparations for the specific treatment of such a severe disease, like distemper in cats, have not been developed. In the first two days, you can achieve positive results by applying hyperimmune serum, the dose of which is calculated based on the age of the animal and its weight. In the following days, passive immunization is ineffective.
Symptomatic treatment of panleukopenia
The main thing to pay attention to is the main signs of distemper in cats. Treatment is taking into account the symptoms of the disease. The treatment regimen must include:
- Salt solutions to restore the electrolyte balance in the cells, eliminate dehydration, fight against intoxication.
- 5% glucose solution to maintain the vitality of the pet.
- Antiemetic drugs.
- Antipyretic drugs to combat fever.
- Antibiotics in case of plague complications secondary intestinal infections.
- Vitamins and immunomodulators to maintain immunity.
- Special drugs for the treatment of conjunctivitis and rhinitis.
- Corticosteroids to eliminate shock.
- Blood transfusion to restore white blood cell count and eliminate anemia.
- Antihistamines and cardiovascular drugs to eliminate allergic reactions and maintain blood vessels and the heart.
- The means possessing antiedematous property.
It is important to seek help in time, preferably at the first signs of illness. The veterinarian will make an individual treatment for each pet, taking into account its condition and the severity of the disease. Late appeal to a veterinary clinic, as a rule, leads to the fact that the animal dies.
General recommendations for the care of a sick cat
The owners often have a question: the distemper cat, what to do? The main thing is not to panic. A sick animal requires careful care and attention. What to do?
- Allocate a separate room for the sick pet (the room should be without drafts and warm enough).
- Do not allow contact of a sick animal with healthy ones.
- Regularly carry out a thorough wet cleaning in the room, ventilate it.
- At the time of cleaning, it is desirable to carry the cat into another room and not disturb him.
- Restrict daylight from entering the room.
- Follow the recommendations of the veterinary specialist regarding treatment, care and nutrition.
- If the cat refuses to eat, you should not force her to eat. When she gets better, her appetite will return.
- You need to feed in small portions at least 5 times a day.
- It is necessary to comply with the diet in a few months after recovery.
Prevention of distemper in cats
The plague is a very dangerous disease with a high percentage of deaths. The pathogen is extremely resistant to environmental factors, especially temperature. Sick animals have a long time isolated virus and can act as a source of infection. Therefore, it is desirable to protect your pet from contact with homeless animals and objects that are on the street. It is better not to let the little kitten out before vaccination. A large percentage of infection is observed in individuals taken from large nurseries or shelters, as well as picked up on the street. Such animals should be immunized immediately. Crowded animals, unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition contribute to the emergence of the disease.
If a cat died of a distemper in a house, you should not immediately start another pet (during the year). In this case, it is necessary to carry out a complete disinfection of the premises with chemicals that kill the viral culture (for example, bleach). All things, objects of care with which the sick animal has been in contact must be destroyed or thrown away.
Vaccination as the main measure to help prevent panleukopenia in cats
The main measure to combat panleukopenia is vaccination, because everyone knows the simple truth that it is better to prevent a disease than to cure it. It will fully protect the pet from infection, since there is only one serotype of the virus. The cat vaccination scheme is as follows:
- The first time kittens are vaccinated at the age of 8 weeks.
- Re-vaccinated at 12 weeks of age.
- Next, conduct regular immunization every year to create a tense immunity.
Before vaccination is recommended:
- de-worming animal;
- conduct a full inspection.
It is undesirable to vaccinate:
- a weakened, sick, or stressed animal;
- cats in the last stages of pregnancy;
- lactating cats;
- kittens under the age of two months;
- pets during the period of teeth change.
Modern vaccines are easily tolerated by animals and guarantee a high level of protection against panleukopenia.
After transferring the distemper, the cat forms a durable immunity that lasts throughout life. In small kittens there is a passive immunity to the disease, which is formed by the antibodies contained in the mother's milk. Annual immunization of animals with live attenuated or inactivated vaccine contributes to the formation of intense immunity.
The effects of distemper
With timely assistance to the animal and a favorable prognosis, the cat is quickly recovering, gaining weight, the number of leukocytes in the blood is restored, signs of enteritis, conjunctivitis, rhinitis disappear, the temperature drops to normal. After some time, the cat returns to normal life.
Often the disease in cats (distemper) does not pass without a trace, and for a lifetime the animal has consequences such as chronic disorders of the respiratory, cardiovascular systems, and nervous phenomena.Some pets after panleukopenia are shown a diet and special care throughout their lives.
Panleukopenia is a dangerous disease that is difficult to treat. The incubation period of the distemper in cats is from 6 to 14 days. Due to the sharp decline in leukocytes in the blood, which are responsible for the natural resistance of the body, death is possible even from the development of a secondary infection or viral disease. Due to the high resistance of the virus in the environment, it is difficult to get rid of it. Even complete disinfection of the room and all the items of care does not always completely free the virus. In the fight against panleukopenia, an effective method is regular vaccination, leading to the formation of stable immunity in an animal. It must always be remembered that it is easier to prevent such a disease as a distemper in cats than to treat it.