Pet cats in grips of strange life-threatening viral epidemic in Udupi and DK districts

10:16 AM Nov 13, 2021 | Team Udayavani |

Udupi: Like covid and dengue, cats are also threatened by viral epidemic diseases. Of late, the high incidence of a potentially life-threatening viral disease, Feline Panleukopenia, has caused concern in coastal and Malnad areas, including Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts.  Due to lack of awareness and information, controlling virus transmission and mortality rates in cats has been difficult, says a specialist doctor in the veterinary department.


In recent times, more and more cats are contracting the viral disease which has serious consequences for the health of the feline population, especially new mother cats. Cats infected by the disease die just days after giving birth to a litter. This is seriously affecting the health and growth of kittens.

In the past 7 months, 435 cats have been treated at polyclinics across the Udupi district for the infection. A similar situation is observed in the neighbouring Dakshina Kannada, where more than 400 cases have been found. In the absence of accurate identification of infected cats, it is difficult to estimate the number of fatalities, say the Veterinary Department officials.

Disease Symptoms:

Symptoms generally appear within a week of contracting the virus.  Cats can show a host of symptoms including fever, cold, stomach pain, vomiting, dysentery, loss of appetite, skin allergies, weight loss, anemia, diarrhoea, jaundice, dehydration etc.


What is Panleukopenia?

The global veterinary world has defined leukopenia virus infection as life-threatening for cats. The virus was first detected in 1964.

The virus creates serious illness in cats and leads to death if untreated. Cats can be saved if the symptom is observed and treated early. However, treatment for the disease is currently not available in government veterinary hospitals. There are vaccines available in private clinics. If the owners purchase the vaccines privately, the government veterinary hospitals give the jab.

The infection is transmitted by feces, urine, and mucus of the cats. The cats who come into contact with these bodily fluids get infected. Fortunately, the virus does not transmit to humans and other animals, veterinary doctors clarified.

Packaged milk deadly for cats :

Veterinary experts say a lot of mistakes are being made in the care and diet of cats. Packaged milk is not healthy for cats as it can completely weaken the immune system of cats. This is the main reason behind the increasing rate of death of many felines. Rice, curds, vegetable sambar are better alternatives as compared to milk. Consuming fried food, leftover stale food items, and raw fish or meat are also harmful to the health of cats.

“We have treated more than 400 cats related to various illnesses for seven months at the district polyclinic. cats are being brought to the hospital for treatment from various parts of the Udupi district. Vaccinations against the panleukopenia virus are not available in government veterinary hospitals. If purchased privately, it will be given,” said Dr. Dayananda Pai, Dr. Ramprakash, deputy directors of district polyclinics of animal husbandry department at Udupi and DK district.


(Orginal article in Kannada by Avin Shetty. English translation by Deepak Lasrado)




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