What is Panleukopenia?
Panleukopenia (Panleuk) is most often referred to as “feline parvo”. It is a virus that is transmittable through fluids
and feces. Feces being the most significant. Panleuk can live and be transmitted on most all
surfaces. The incubation period is 3-5 days but can incubate as long as 14 days. Panleuk is made
worse when other viruses are present (URI).
Why do outbreaks occur?
Because Panleuk is spread on all surfaces it is very difficult to eradicate. Microscopic particles of the
virus can live on anything, and it can live in the environment for a year if not cleaned with a
parvocidal cleaner or on a surface that is uncleanable like dirt, making the virus highly transmittable.
At what age does it affect kittens?
Panleuk affects unvaccinated cats and kittens. Kittens are most susceptible between the ages of
3-12 weeks of age when their mothers’ antibodies are still “interfering” with the vaccine and they
are either too young to be vaccinated or recently vaccinated.
What do I watch for?
The most common symptoms of Panleuk are vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, lethargy, sudden death.
**Isolated symptoms are not always indicative of Panleuk. Many other illnesses can cause these
same symptoms and almost all kittens have diarrhea that is not Panleuk! Normally we see a
combination of the above.
What do I do if I see signs?
Contact the medical team as soon as possible. A clear medical history of the animal is extremely
important. Often the “trend” of the kitten’s health is just as important as the current
symptoms. Treatment should start within 12 hours of first symptom so please act fast!
What does treatment consist of and how long does it last?
Panleuk is treated using injectable antibiotics, anti-diarrheals, anti-nausea drugs, and fluids as well
as force feedings. Treatments/feedings are done 2-6 times a day for approximately 3-7 days.
Why can’t I bring my sick kittens back to the shelter?
Because panleuk is so contagious bringing them back to the shelter puts every other kitten in there at risk.
Additionally, the kitten has a better chance of survival with one-on-one care. YOU can provide the
daily care needed for the kitten! Being in a home and receiving your care is key to saving lives
versus living in a shelter with many other kittens that are all competing for care. We need you but
the kitten needs you more! Also, your house has already been exposed to the virus so having the
kitten leave will not “decontaminate” your space. It can be scary, but we can teach you everything
you need to know.
This information was originally published by our partners at American Pets Alive.