Alert over killer cat virus

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:00 08 October 2014

Kittens like these are most at risk from the deadly virus. Photo by Chris Carson

Kittens like these are most at risk from the deadly virus. Photo by Chris Carson

Archant

Axminster vets urge people to have their pets inoculated after Feline Infectious Enteritis claims the lives of two kittens

A killer cat disease is threatening to sweep across the Axe Valley.

Vets are urging people to have their pets inoculated after the area’s first case of Feline Infectious Enteritis in some 30 years claimed the lives of two kittens.

Vet Becky Skellern, of the Coombefield Veterinary Hospital, at Axminster, said prevention was better than cure for what was a highly infectious and often fatal disease.

“Coombefield vets are running a three month campaign giving cat owners the chance to get their cat vaccinations started for just the price of a booster,” she said.

“The cats most at risk are aged under four years old but we are extending the amnesty to all unvaccinated cats or cats that have not been vaccinated in the last 14 months.”

Ms Skellern explained that Feline Infectious Enteritis or panleukopaenia typically causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, and is often fatal, particularly in young kittens. Treatment of affected cats is difficult and often unsuccessful. Infection of pregnant cats can result in the birth of kittens with permanent neurological problems.

She continued: “The virus which causes the disease is able to survive for long periods of time, and can be transmitted on contaminated food bowls, shoes, clothing, pretty much anything really - so even indoor cats which don’t have direct contact with other cats are potentially at risk.

“Vaccination offers the most effective way of protecting your cat against many of the most serious infectious diseases, including Cat flu, Feline Infectious Enteritis, Feline Leukaemia Virus and Chlamydophila. Many of these diseases are commonly reported in the UK, and they represent a potentially significant threat.”

Tim Lawrence, senior partner at CVH said: “The reason we are letting people know is because as practicing vets we haven’t seen a case like this for more than 30 years and that worries us that it is in the area and it is a killer.

“While most diseases need to be transmitted through direct contact some of the viruses which cause disease can also survive in the outside environment. This means that your cat does not always need to come into contact with other cats to get sick, so vaccination is important for all cats, even those which live mainly indoors.”

To take advantage of the discounted vaccination offer call the Coombefield Veterinary Hospital on 01297 630500.

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