Friday, July 11, 2014

Deadly Feline Virus Will Ravage Feline Population on Hawaiian Island

Maui, Hawaii, is as I understand it, the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands and we are told in a news article that the rather nasty feline disease (and one of the worst feline viruses) called panleukopenia or panleuk for short has been confirmed to be present in a cat from a populated, central area of the island.

The director of the local Humane Society's veterinary service, Miyasaki-Kim, said that the identification of feline panleukopenia in such a highly populated area means that they are unable to stop the spread of this virus.  He says that the disease will have a big impact upon their shelter on the island.  What he's saying is that there's going to be a lot of feline euthanasia, I suspect, on the shelter.

In all eight cases have been identified.  It is rather sad and ironic that this news follows on from an earlier report that the authorities on adjacent island, Kauai,  had decided to instigate a mass trap-neuter-release program on feral cats because they were having a damaging effect upon the seabird population and no doubt seabirds are a major feature of these islands.

It appears that Hawaii is set to see an increase in the death rate of their cats one way or another which I find very sad.

Feline panleukopenia is commonly called feline distemper.  From infection to death can be as short as 3 to 5 days.  This disease acts very quickly.  It is a multi-symptom disease.  It is a highly contagious disease.  In addition the virus can survive in carpets and other areas for over a year.  The virus can be killed by bleach-sodium hypochlorite.

I'm not sure that the director of the local Humane Society is being accurate or perhaps he's being too pessimistic about the spread of the disease.  Vaccination is the most effective method for prevention which begs the question of whether there has been sufficient vaccination for this disease amongst the feline population on the island.

No doubt they will be ensuring that all their cats are vaccinated.  The vaccination process takes up to 12 weeks and there is a need for annual booster vaccinations or biannual vaccinations.  There are plenty of things to do to prevent the spread of this disease so my impression is the prognosis for the feline population on this island is rather pessimistic.



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