The Harbor Association of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA) is warning cat owners in the South Bend area to make sure they're up to date on their FvRCP vaccinations.
Dr. Gina Lewis of Vetter's Animal Hospital recently treated a kitten brought in from South Bend who was very ill. Sadly the kitten died and tests showed it died from distemper.
If you have a cat that spends anytime outside, HAVA strongly suggests that you make sure your cats have been vaccinated for distemper. Distemper is a highly infectious disease and most cats who become ill with it will die. The virus is very hardy and can survive for months or years. Cats of any age can be infected; although it's most commonly seen in kittens and feral cats.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Kittens should start with vaccinations at 6-7 weeks of age with two boosters following the initial vaccine over a 4-month period. Ideally kittens will get a booster a year later then once every three years after that. The cost for the vaccine is usually about $30, which is much less than treatment for distemper.