Yesterday, when I read the headline from the local paper, Virus Forces Everett Shelter to Euthanize 81 Cats, my heart hurt.
The article states that the shelter staff believe a stray kitten that was brought to the shelter on Sept 20th had died overnight and tested positive for Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV), a highly contagious and usually lethal virus. After a second kitten died in the same circumstances, the decision was made to euthanize all the cats to eliminate the possibility of further spread of the virus.
Sometimes referred to as Feline Distemper, FPV virus is just plain nasty. It usually kills the infected cat within two weeks or it could be a matter of days. Mortality in kittens infected with FPV is 90%.
After reading the article in the paper, and imaging all those wonderful cats having to be put down, my heart hurt for those helpless kitties. Then I thought of the veterinary staff of the shelter, and how horrible it had to be for them to make the decision to euthanize all the cats. My next thought was of Rose and how, if we had decided to take her to the shelter as planned, she would now be dead. Thankfully that did not happen.
Then finally, being the natural worrier that I am, I began to worry. Not knowing any history about Rose, I feared, what if she was in the same litter as the infected kitten and thus is infected herself and potentially infected our other cats. The chances of this are slim, but it is within the realm of possibility. Needless to say, I was alarmed and concerned.
When I got home from work, I read up on the virus, and found that signs of infection become visible within 11 days. It has been 11 days since I have known Rose and she has not shown any signs of problems. My anxiety lessened a bit. But rather than take my chances, I still plan to call the vet tomorrow and discuss the matter in detail.
For more info on FPV, check out these resources: