What are the symptoms of Feline Distemper?

Feline distemper is a nasty disease that is very contagious and deadly. Young cats are especially at risk. It is viral, and it spreads through contact between cats. It can also be spread by anything that has come into contact with a cat's body fluids (sneezes, etc.) - this means beds, food bowls, litter boxes, the like. The reason kittens are more vulnerable to it is because they don't have any immunity built up - but adults can get it too, especially as they are older and their immune system starts to be less effective.


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It takes about 10 days for symptoms to show up after the cat has been infected with the virus. These include vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and dehydration. There is no cure, but you can help them survive it with fluids and antibiotics. Cats that recover will usually have no long-term effects from the disease. It is still a serious disease, however, and some cats do not survive.

Prevention is the best method - vaccination of kittens should happen at 6-8 weeks of age, and booster shots come several weeks later. You need to quarantine any cats or kittens that get this, and destroy any items they have been using. Other cats should be removed from wherever the cat with distemper has been located - talk to your vet about a quarantine plan if you have a cat with distemper.

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