Can Cats Get Parvo?


Being the pet parent of a cat brings with it the responsibility of monitoring your cat’s health and protecting him from any known threats to his well-being. It’s best to keep your kitty indoors, away from stray dogs and cats that carry sickness and parasite infestations. Dealing with sickness is stressful and sometimes heartbreaking, but it’s a reality that comes with pet ownership. Although vaccines are effective for many animal diseases, sometimes dogs and cats get sick. Even puppies and kittens with immunizations can get sick before their immune systems fully develop and respond to the vaccinations. A frequently asked question is can cats get parvo? Although it’s more commonly discussed in dogs, it’s an illness that can affect your cat. Here is everything you need to know about cats and parvo, and how to prevent your cat from coming down with this often deadly disease.

Is parvo a cat disease?

Oyen explains that a strain of the parvovirus exists for cats. It’s called Feline Parvovirus, also known as Feline Panleukopenia or Feline Distemper. It is one of the most common and deadly diseases for unvaccinated cats and kittens. Parvo in cats is a disease that every cat owner should know about.

What is Feline Parvo?

Feline Parvo is a virus that is difficult to kill. It is resistant to many disinfectants and can live in a cat’s body for up to a year. It’s highly resistant to attempts to contain it. The virus attacks intestinal and bone marrow cells in a cat’s body. It kills the cells, often resulting in the death of the infected kitty if treatment is not administered quickly.

What are the signs of Feline Parvo?

Feline Parvo can incubate for weeks before symptoms present themselves. You may not know your cat has the disease until he shows the first symptoms. Infected cats may lose their ability to eat and drink. If you see your cat at his food or water bowl, wanting to feed, but unable to take in food or water, there is a reason for concern. Feline Parvo doesn’t take away thirst and hunger, it just makes it tough for them to take in nourishment. Most cats develop a high fever in the early stages of the disease. Fevers usually drop after the first few days. Your cat may vomit or froth at the mouth. Watery diarrhea is another symptom. The stool may or may not be bloody.

Is Feline Parvo always fatal?

No. Feline Parvo is treatable when caught in the early stages. Advances in veterinary medicine make it possible for animal healthcare professionals to treat feline parvo successfully in most cases if caught early. Dehydration happens quickly and is the cause of death for most cats. Your animal healthcare provider will put your cat on IV fluids to keep him hydrated and pull him through the crisis until the virus passes and sheds from his body. It can take up to three weeks before the virus sheds completely. your cat will continue to show signs of recovery during this stage. Most cats that are treated and survive Feline Parvo experience symptoms within four to seven days of exposure, but it can take up to two weeks to manifest.

Can cats get Parvovirus from dogs?

All Creatures explains that the strain of parvovirus affecting dogs is a different strain than Feline Parvovirus. Cats that are vaccinated are not likely to catch parvovirus from dogs. There is a slight risk for unvaccinated cats to catch parvo from dogs, but it is rare, and unlikely, even if your cat is unvaccinated. It’s not worth taking the chance, however, because on rare occasions it has happened. If your dog or puppy is diagnosed with Parvo it’s best to consult with your vet about protection for your cat. If the cat is unvaccinated, the vet will recommend bringing your cat’s immunization status up to date to rule out any outside chances of getting sick.

Is anything effective for killing parvovirus in the environment?

Feline Parvovirus is a strain that is hard to kill with disinfectants, but not impossible. The only known disinfectant to work for eradicating contamination is bleach. If you do not disinfect everything with a bleach and water solution, the Feline Parvovirus can live in the environment for several years, infecting animals that are not vaccinated against the strain, according to Elwood Vet. Feline Parvovirus is a preventable disease. Get your kittens vaccinated at an early age to keep them safe from this devastating illness. Vaccinating all pets in your home increases the chances of avoiding problems with Parvovirus in cats.

Final thoughts

Sadly, cats can get a form of parvo called Feline Parvovirus. There’s a chance of becoming infected from a sick dog, but it’s not as likely as catching parvo from another cat. Dogs and cats have different kinds of parvo. You can help protect your cat from Feline Parvovirus by getting him vaccinated as soon as your animal healthcare provider believes it is safe when he is still a kitten. It’s wise to keep your cats in the house and prevent them from coming into contact with strays or neighborhood cats, and even dogs. Cats can still get parvo, even if they never leave the yard. Infected animals can leave the germs in their urine and feces, although its transmitted faster by sharing food and water bowls. Thankfully, incidences of Feline Parvo are in decline because of the number of pet owners who get their cats vaccinated. Cats must undergo a series of parvo vaccinations to achieve full immunity from the disease, so finish the series. Protect your cat’s health. Unfortunately, the large numbers of feral cats roaming the streets make it nearly impossible to eradicate the disease, but there are steps we can take to protect our beloved pets.

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