Potentially Fatal Cat Virus Reported in Mattapan

It's a highly contagious disease called panleukopenia.


Cat photo via istock.com/Eugene03

You may want to keep your cats indoors for a little while.

A highly contagious, potentially fatal feline virus has been found in Boston, the Boston Globe reports. The Animal Rescue League of Boston identified the problem after several reports of sick cats in Mattapan, specifically in the Walk Hill Street area.

The disease in question is called panleukopenia. It compromises a cat’s blood cells, gastrointestinal tract, lymphatic system, bone marrow, and, sometimes, part of the brain. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, and dehydration. It is most frequently seen in young cats and kittens, though animals of any age can contract it. Humans are not susceptible to panleukopenia.

While most cats are exposed to the virus at some point, most are vaccinated against it and never become infected. If you fear that your pet has the disease, bring him or her to a veterinarian quickly, as the virus can be fatal.

To curb the spread of panleukopenia, owners should have pets vaccinated, and keep infected animals in quarantine. The Animal Rescue League is holding a free vaccine clinic on Saturday, October 22, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It will be at the corner of Walk Hill and Harvard Streets in Mattapan.