Feline Panleukopenia

Feline Panleukopenia

Disease Overview

Panleukopenia (sometimes called feline distemper) is a highly contagious, severe infection that causes gastrointestinal, immune system, and nervous system disease. “Panleukopenia” means a decrease in the number of white blood cells and is caused by a virus (feline parvovirus) that is very similar to the virus that causes parvovirus in dogs.

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For Feline Panleukopenia


Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) can survive at room temperature for up to 1 year and is persistent in the environment.24 It can be transmitted directly between cats and through contact with fomites, such as shared food and water bowls, grooming items, etc. Infected pregnant queens can also pass FPV to their kittens. Humans can transmit FPV to cats through contact with hands, clothing, or shoes.

Clinical Signs

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Disinterest in food/water
  • Depression
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Seizures

Risk Factors

  • Boards often or comes from a shelter environment
  • Lives in a multiple cat household
  • Is a rescue cat or from a feral cat population
  • Virtually all susceptible cats are exposed and infected within the first year of life24
  • Indoor/outdoor cats are both at risk


24. Greene CE, Addie DD. Feline parvovirus infections. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier; 2006:78.