Feline parvovirus, also called feline parvo, is a virus that can cause severe disease and illness in cats, particularly kittens.
Sadly, the disease has a high mortality rate and on occasion, outbreaks are still seen in households with unvaccinated cats, and in multi-cat situations, such as breeders or catteries. If a pregnant cat contracts feline parvovirus, her kittens may be born with brain damage.
Not all cats infected with feline parvovirus will show symptoms, but you should look out for:
If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get in touch with your vet straight away. If they suspect feline parvo, they may ask you to wait in the car until they are ready to see your cat to prevent risk of disease transmission.
While there’s no cure for feline parvovirus, your vet may be able to treat your cat’s symptoms while their body recovers. Treatment for feline parvovirus can include:
Parvovirus is highly contagious so if your cat is diagnosed with parvovirus and you have more than one unvaccinated cat in your home then it is likely to spread – you must let your vet know if this is the case.
Sometimes if your cat only has a mild case of parvo your vet may be able to give you advice on how to treat them at home. During this time, it’s important to keep your cat away from other cats and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly whenever you handle your cat or clean up after them.
Getting your cat vaccinated is the best way to prevent them from getting feline parvovirus. You can read more about vaccinations in our free guide.
It’s important that if your cat gets parvovirus, you thoroughly clean anything they touch and clean anywhere they have been unwell.
Yes. Unfortunately, kittens are less likely to survive as a result of parvovirus. Kittens are more at risk of feline parvovirus as they have very weak immune systems while they are young.
If a kitten’s mother has been vaccinated, some of her immunity may pass to her kittens while she is pregnant. However, this protection will soon wane and it’s important to get them vaccinated as soon as they are old enough, at around eight to nine weeks old.
Feline parvovirus is species specific to cats, just as parvovirus in dogs is specific to them. Humans and dogs cannot catch parvo from cats. Canine parvovirus can occasionally affect cats.