RSPCA Victoria and Lort Smith Animal Hospital have joined forces to encourage owners to annually vaccinate their cats to curb a spike of the infectious viral disease feline panleukopenia.
In the past three months, RSPCA has diagnosed 20 cases of feline panleukopenia compared to one case in the same period last year while Lort Smith Animal Hospital has diagnosed 50 cases.
The outbreak has forced RSPCA Victoria and Lort Smith Animal Hospital to lengthen the stay for some cats before they can be adopted. About 80 per cent of unvaccinated kittens who contract the disease die.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, vomiting, fever or fluctuating temperature, dehydration and diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and cats seen with their heads hanging over their water or food bowls but not drinking or eating
Feline panleukopenia is spread through faeces, urine, saliva or vomit of an infected cat as well as through the clothing and shoes of handlers or owners of infected animals.
Warnings about feline panleukopenia coincide with Mornington Peninsula Shire ensuring that its requirement for cats over the age of three months are desexed.
A motion was adopted at the council’s 9 August meeting for the appropriate wording be included in its proposed Community Amenity Local Law 2022, which comes into effect in October.
Exemptions to the compulsory desexing requirement can apply to cats kept for breeding; cats whose owners are members of such organisations as Australian National Cats and the Feline Control Council; and if a vet states that desexing a cat could “significantly prejudice” its health.