Treatment Options for Feline Panleukopenia (Distemper)

There are several treatment options for feline Panleukopenia, which is also known as distemper. Feline Distemper is a highly aggressive virus, so the sooner the infection is treated, the better chances are of pulling through.

Feline Panleukopenia Explained

Feline Panleukopenia is a condition caused by a highly stable virus. The virus can survive for months if left at room temperature. It also withstands freezing procedures and disinfectants. The virus will most likely intrude on all cats, entering by mouth or nasal capacity. If a strong immune system is not present, infection will probably develop.

Once in the body, the virus moves directly to the lymph nodes, giving it a quick passage to the entire body. Once in the lymph node system, virus infects bone marrow and intestines, cutting off all white blood cell manufacturing. This paralyzes the body's ability to fight off infection, leaving it vulnerable to secondary attacks. Diarrhea also develops in the course of infection.

Feline panleukopenia usually does not cause death itself, but rather breaks down the immune system for other bacteria. Most panleukopenia deaths are due to secondary infections or dehydration resulting from diarrhea.

Treatment Options

Since this type of feline infection affects the body on many levels, a multifold treatment approach is needed for optimal results. One of the major results of panleukopenia is dehydration from diarrhea. To treat this, electrolytes are administered to help replace lost water and salt. These are usually given intravenously. To combat white blood cell loss, blood transfusions may be administered and antibiotics prescribed. This will raise the body's defense lines against secondary infection. A few days into infection period, the cat's own antibodies usually develop. The extra antibiotics will help bring a quick recovery.

Keeping your cat full of fluids also helps her fight off infection. Vitamins such as B and C are also usually given during treatment. These vitamins naturally bring the immune system back up by giving it an energy boost. More energy leads to more cell production that can fight off infection.

Infection Survival

Since younger kittens do not have strong immune systems or high white blood cell counts, they are more prone to infection and have less chance of outlasting the disease. Happily, some research suggests that kittens who weather the first five days of infection are likely to pull through, as their own immune system will take over after surviving the worst. Once the fever breaks, the cat has endured the worst and her body is preparing for a full recovery.

No matter what the treatment, it is important to finish out the treatment period and keep your cat's body full of Vitamin C to prevent relapse. Also be sure to keep your cat's vaccinations up to date. A vaccine for panleukopenia can greatly reduce the risk of infection.