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Can Humans Get Distemper From Cats

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The Difference Between Canine And Feline Distemper

It is important to realize that the colloquial name Feline Distemper is a misnomer and the disease has nothing to do with Canine Distemper. They are different diseases and different viruses. 

Feline Distemper is actually much more related to Canine Parvovirus, which is caused by the Canine Parvovirus . It is best to think of Feline Distemper as Feline Panleukopenia or Feline Parvovirus as these make a lot more sense when thinking of it as a disease.

What Are The Most Common Diseases That Spread From Animals To People

Germs can also spread from animals if people come in contact with urine, feces or sores on the pet. They can also be spread through the air by coughs or sneezes, although this is less common. The chart below describes those type of infections.

You may want to pay special attention to the diseases that are carried by the kind of animal you have, or are thinking of getting.

Do Dogs Feel Pain When Shot In The Head

It is accepted that the concussive energy released on projectile impact into the head kill zone will instantly render an animal unconscious while achieving fatal tissue and bone damage, and severe bleeding. This produces no pain and suffering to the animal, thus achieving a very humane rapid death.

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Preventing Transmission From Infected Cats


Cats with suspected or diagnosed FPLV should be kept in isolation. This non-enveloped virus is very resistant to environmental conditions and many disinfectants, is highly contagious, and rapidly accumulates in the environment due to high shedding of virus from affected animals. Strict protocols for containment with isolation, minimal handling, and disinfection of all potential sources of fomites is warranted. Recovered cats can still shed the virus for up to 6 weeks and can carry it on their body for prolonged periods.

Treatment Of Distemper In Cats

Can Cats Get Parvo from Dogs?

There is no medication available that will cure distemper. Treatment is focused on addressing the signs and keeping the infected cat as comfortable as possible. 

Immediate Veterinary Care

Depending on the condition of the cat, it may need to remain at a veterinary hospital overnight for observation and administration of I.V. fluids. The disease causes a compromised immune system, so the veterinarian will likely prescribe antibiotics to reduce the chance of opportunistic infections.

Home Care

Once the cat has been examined by the veterinarian and released, it must be quarantined from other cats in order to avoid the spread of the disease. Dehydration, reduced electrolytes, and malnutrition must be addressed promptly. 


Canine Distemper Virus In Ferrets

October 1, 2020

Discharge from the eyes is often the first sign of canine distemper infection. Canine distemper virus is a contagious disease caused by a large RNA paramyxovirus. Families of animals that can become infected with CDV include Canidae , Mustelidae , Procyonidae and possibly some exotic cats. Pet cats are not susceptible to canine distemper virus.

Ferrets get exposed to canine distemper virus via contact with airborne virus or contact with any body fluids of an infected animal. It is also possible that inanimate objects, such as shoes or clothes, can be a source of moving the virus from one place to another. In other words, you can bring CDV home if you are in contact with infected material in places such as the woods, a pet store or a pet shelter.

Fortunately, canine distemper virus is not a very stable virus and does not survive on inanimate objects for longer than a day. Ferrets have been known to contract CDV after receiving vaccines for CDV that are not approved for ferrets. There are vaccines approved for use in ferrets and their use is described below. The incubation period for CDV is seven to 10 days.

Distemper Symptoms In Dogs

Since the virus can affect so many different things, theres a wide range of distemper symptoms in dogs, ranging from mild to severe, like:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Seizures
  • Pneumonia

Some of the more mild symptoms might not feel serious on their own, but Dr. Bustamante said you should be concerned if your pup is experiencing coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and nasal discharge all at once.

That combination can make a veterinarian suspect distemper in a puppy and an unvaccinated pet, Dr. Bustamante said.

Distemper in dogs can also affect superficial areas, like the nose and paw pads.

What it can do to the paw pads and the nasal plane on the nose is that can get very thickened, Dr. Bustamante said. So it affects the lining of their skin and those areas.

It can also really mess with your pups teeth.

It affects the growing teeth, Dr. Bustamante said. If the puppy recovers from the infection, when it becomes an adult they usually have very abnormal teeth color, they have stained teeth and small, abnormally-shaped teeth. That can affect their quality of life, actually, when they’re older.

Internally, distemper can harm your dogs lungs, causing another serious disease.

When it gets to their lungs, it can inflame their lungs and cause pneumonia, Dr. Bustamante said.

It could even affect your pup neurologically, causing tics.

The Curability And Prognosis After A Cat Has Contracted Fpv

The prognosis for a cat with FPV can vary widely based on a few factors, including immune status, age, any other diseases or infections, and how aggressive the treatment is. 

A young kitten who is not able to get adequate medical attention will have a much lower chance of surviving Feline Panleukopenia compared with an adult cat who can be hospitalized and monitored closely.  

In dogs with Parvovirus, the survival rate can vary from 10% to 90% showing how differently this disease can affect animals. If a cat or kitten does survive the infection of FPV, then they will likely have lifelong immunity. 

However, depending on how severe the disease was, it may continue to have effects even after the initial infection. If a bacterial infection was able to infect the animal secondarily, then it can get into the bloodstream and travel to different organs leading to skin necrosis, bacterial polyarthritis, and discospondylitis. 

This is where the bacteria affects the skin, joints, and spine. The consequences of this can vary in severity. If a mother cat is infected with FPV, the unborn kittens can be born with permanent brain damage. 

The cerebellum will be affected, which is part of the brain which helps with coordination and walking. Animals with cerebellar hypoplasia will have an uncoordinated gait and may have difficulty walking. 

Otherwise, they are normal, and the condition does not progress. Cerebellar hypoplasia can also occur in very young kittens that become infected with FPV. 

Can Humans Get Distemper From Cats

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How Pets Spread Infections. Like people, all animals carry germs. Illnesses common among housepets such as distemper, canine parvovirus, and heartworms cant spread to humans.

In adult cats, symptoms are mild and may go unnoticed. If a cat survives the first five days, prognosis is very good. Once a cat has recovered, it becomes immune and cannot contract or spread the disease again. Recovering cats must be provided a quiet, warm place to rest. Depression is one of the primary symptoms of distemper, so owners should be sure to provide recovering cats with plenty of affection and physical contact. With proper care, cats typically recover and return to normal within two weeks. If there are other cats in the home, they should be carefully observed for symptoms and owners should consult with their vet regarding vaccination.

Can cats get feline distemper? Both canine and feline distemper can be prevented through vaccination. However, the vaccine for canine distemper will not prevent feline distemper, nor vice versa. While cats and dogs cannot pass distemper to each other, many wild animals can get one or both diseases. Racoons, mink, skunks and otters can all get both canine distemper and FPV.

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How Is Infection Transmitted

The virus is present in all excretions, particularly the feces, of infected cats. A susceptible cat can be infected by direct contact with an infected cat, or the virus can be transferred via contaminated water, feed bowls, or on shoes and clothing. The incubation period from infection until clinical signs develop is typically three to five days, seldom longer than a week.

What Is Feline Panleukopenia

Feline Panleukopenia Virus , sometimes called Feline Distemper, is a disease in cats and kittens caused by the highly contagious Feline . The virus affects rapidly dividing cells in the body. Thus the most affected organs are the bone marrow and the lining of the gut.

It is common in unvaccinated cats and kittens and can be fatal. Feline Distemper in kittens is most common in those aged between two to six months as they no longer have immunity from their mothers and their own immune systems are developing. 

Having other diseases or parasites predisposes kittens to FPV. Other cats that are at higher risk include pregnant and immune-compromised adults. Infections in pregnant cats will also affect unborn kittens.

Distemper in cats is a different disease entirely from Canine Distemper even though they share the same name.

Possible Symptoms Of Feline Distemper

Fever, depression, loss of appetite, and dehydration are generally the first distemper symptoms to appear. A cat may sit in front of its water bowl for long periods but be unable to drink.

One or two days after the first appearance of the fever, more symptoms may appear. They may include the following:

  • vomiting, even when the cat hasn’t been eating or drinking
  • diarrhea, which may be bloody
  • abdominal pain, especially when someone touches the abdomen

Additional symptoms may include:

  • a nasal discharge
  • hypothermia

In severe cases, the cat may experience seizures and septic shock, a condition in which the body is overwhelmed by an infection and the blood pressure falls to a dangerously low level. Kittens can develop distemper so rapidly that they may die before the owner is even certain that they are sick.

Don’t Hesitate to Go to the Vet

It’s vital that cats with any of the above symptoms see a vet as soon as a possible for a diagnosis and treatment. Time is of the essence when treating feline distemper.

Precautions When Adopting Or Buying A Pet

Canine Distemper Virus

If you’re adopting or buying a pet, make sure the breeder, shelter, or store has a good reputation and vaccinates all of its animals. A reputable breeder should belong to a national or local breeding club, such as the American Kennel Club. Contact the Humane Society of the United States or your veterinarian for information about animal shelters in your area.

As soon as you choose a family pet, take it to a local veterinarian for vaccinations and a physical exam. Don’t forget to routinely vaccinate your pet on a schedule recommended by your vet this will keep your pet healthy and reduce the risk that infections will spread to your kids.

You’ll also want to regularly feed your pet nutritious animal food and provide plenty of fresh water. Avoid feeding your pet raw meat because this can be a source of infection, and do not allow your pet to drink toilet water because infections can be spread through saliva, urine, and feces.

Limit young kids’ contact with outdoor pets that hunt and kill for food because a pet that ingests infected meat may get an infection that can be passed to people.

Cat Bite Injuries To Humans

Cat bites are puncture wounds that can cause bacterial infections with Pasteurella multocida that can spread within the tissues or into the blood stream. Any bite should be cleaned immediately and assessed by a physician as soon as possible, as antibiotics are frequently needed to treat infection. Your doctor may recommend vaccination with tetanus or rabies prophylaxis. Your doctor will report any bite to the local health department and your cat will have to undergo a quarantine the length of which depends on their rabies vaccination status.

How Distemper Is Spread

Many animals including raccoons, foxes and ferrets can acquire distemper, but dogs are most likely to pick it up through direct contact with an infected dogs saliva, blood or urine. This can happen when your pet uses another dogs food or water bowl. It can also be passed through the air if an infected dog sneezes or coughs near your dog. In extremely rare cases, your pet can contract it from an improperly attenuated vaccine.


Puppies and young dogs who have not received the distemper vaccine are at highest risk of getting the virus particularly those under 7 weeks of age born to mothers who have not been vaccinated. Dogs with weakened immune systems due to bacterial respiratory and gastrointestinal infections are also at an increased risk of contracting distemper.

Can Your Pet Make You Sick

Zoonotic illnesses are diseases humans can get from animals. Many infectious diseases can spread from animals to people, and some of these can come from your pet. But before you become too alarmed, know that getting diseases from a pet is pretty uncommon, and that you can prevent most of them with some very simple steps. For example, teach children not to kiss pets or put their hands in their mouths after touching them. Frequent hand washing and regular vet checks are two other great ways to help prevent a wide range of diseases from pets. This includes diseases from dogs, diseases from cats, diseases from birds, or diseases from reptiles.

How Likely Is It For A Cat To Contract Distemper

According to Dr. Alinovi, the likelihood of your cat contracting feline distemper from another cat depends on the strain of the virus. Some years, panleukopenia is a real killer, she says, just like some years the human flu is really bad. Some strains of the virus are quite deadly, while other strains are not so bad. As such, cat rescue centers and animal shelters will periodically experience an influx of feline distemper infections.

Caution: Be Alert To Raccoons Exhibiting Signs Of Distemper

Coastal Resources staff and interns have responded to recent reports of raccoons exhibiting signs consistent with the canine distemper virus in the City of Orange Beach. On Saturday, May 16th, 2020, we received results from the lab tests confirming this suspicion. Distemper is not uncommon in a variety of species including raccoons.

Raccoons with distemper may approach people, or curl up to sleep in open areas in close proximity to people. They generally act disoriented or lethargic, but can become aggressive if cornered. They may also have seizures, show their teeth and have been known to stand on their hind legs.

Canine distemper does not pose a threat to human health however; dogs not vaccinated for distemper can become infected if they come in contact with an infected animal or its droppings, fluids, etc.

If residents notice a raccoon displaying abnormal behavior they should call 251-981-9777 to make a report and Coastal Resources staff will be contacted. Please note that merely seeing a raccoon, even during daylight hours, is not abnormal especially this time of year when they are with young.

Frequently Asked Questions about Raccoons with Distemper

What is Canine Distemper?
Can humans catch canine distemper?

No. Humans cannot get canine distemper.

Can my dog catch canine distemper?
What are the symptoms of a raccoon with distemper?
What should I do if I see a raccoon that I think has distemper? 
Should I feed the raccoons? 
What else can I do?  

Preventing Distemper In Cats

The most effective method to prevent feline distemper is vaccination. In this process, an inactive or altered form of the distemper virus is injected into the cat’s body. The cat’s immune system then makes antibodies to attack the virus, just as it would do if the virus was active and in its normal form. The antibodies will protect the cat if it’s infected with the active distemper virus in the future.

Kittens born from a mother who is vaccinated against distemper will receive antibodies to fight the disease when they drink the first milk that their mother produces. This special milk is called colostrum. The antibodies are effective in the kittens’ bodies for about six to eight weeks after birth. At this point, the kittens will need to receive the first of a series of vaccinations. The number and timing of these vaccinations will depend on the schedule recommended by a vet. Even indoor cats need to be vaccinated, since it’s easy for the distemper virus to be passed from one cat to another, directly or indirectly.

If a cat has been diagnosed with feline distemper, the area where it’s been living must be disinfected thoroughly to prevent infecting other cats in the family. FPV is resistant to many disinfectants, but according to the Merck Veterinary Manual, a 10-minute soak in diluted bleach kills the virus. A veterinarian should be consulted about a suitable dilution.

Prevent the Virus From Spreading

Linda Crampton

Here’s An Overview On Distemper In Cats Including 14 Common Symptoms That You Should Look Out For

Feline panleukopenia, also known as distemper, is a highly contagious but often curable disease. Not sure how to tell if your pet has caught it? Here’s an overview of distemper in cats, including the symptoms you should look out for and what you can do to prevent your furry friend from becoming infected.What Causes Distemper in Cats?Feline distemper is primarily caused by a single-stranded DNA virus called feline parvovirus, says Dr. Mary Fuller, a veterinarian from Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to Dr. Fuller, the virus can be shed through a cat’s bodily secretions, including saliva, nasal discharges and urine, but it is most commonly shed through feces.”Once shed, it’s easy for the virus to spread into the environment, including pet bedding, food and water bowls, litter boxes and owner clothing,” she explains. Kittens and cats become infected when they come into direct contact with an infected cat or contaminated environments.What Are the Symptoms You Should Look Out For?“Initial symptoms are usually those of an upper respiratory infection,” explains Dr. Cathy Alinovi, a veterinarian and the owner of Healthy PAWsibilities in Pine Village, Indiana. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe.Here are 14 common symptoms that you should be aware of: 

  • Excessive SneezingIf your cat is infected, she may have sneezing fits that last for long periods of time. 
  • Your pet may experience a lack of energy or sleep excessively. 
  • How Is Cat Parvo Prevented

    How to Coexist With Raccoons

    The core vaccine for cats provides good protection against cat parvo.

    It’s important that your kitten has the full kitten course of vaccinations. Here’s why…

    When your kitten was born, her immune system was completely naive and she was at risk of infection. Fortunately, the first milk her mum produced was full of antibodies. When your kitten drank that milk she absorbed those antibodies from her intestines into her bloodstream. She relies on her mum’s antibodies until she makes her own. Essentially, she has ‘borrowed’ immunity from her mum.

    Mum’s antibodies last for weeks to months how long they last in your kitten depends on things like which number she was in the birth order, how well she nursed, the quality of her mum’s immune system. The antibodies to different diseases wear off at different times.

    We don’t know when the antibodies against parvo will wear off in any individual kitten. But we do know that by 1416 weeks all of mum’s antibodies are gone from your kitten and she’ll need to rely on her own immune system.

    While mum’s antibodies are active within your kitten, they work against both true infection and vaccines . Basically, vaccines can’t stimulate your kitten’s immune system to make her own antibodies until her mum’s antibodies have dropped to a low enough level.

    So what we do instead is give a series of vaccinations to cover your kitten during the period of vulnerability when mum’s antibody levels are dropping.

    Is Kennel Cough Contagious To Humans

    If your pup has a bad, hacking cough that wont go away, it could be kennel cough. In extremely rare circumstances, you can develop it, too.

    Kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is a group of contagious respiratory diseases that often affect dogs.

    While uncommon, kennel cough can be passed from animals to humans.

    Read on to learn how kennel cough is transmitted to humans, whos at risk, and how the disease is treated.

    Can Distemper Be Cured In Cats

    Panleukopenia, also known as feline distemper, is an extremely contagious and deadly disease caused by a virus. The virus is spread through contact with an infected cat’s saliva, urine, blood, nasal discharge, or feces. There is no cure for panleukopenia and, without treatment, it has a high mortality rate.

    Cdv Vaccination For Ferrets

    As of September 2006, there is only one government-approved CDV vaccine for ferrets: Purevax Ferret Distemper Vaccine . At times, this vaccine is unavailable due to demand exceeding supply. Production of Fervac-D , the only other approved ferret distemper vaccine, has been permanently discontinued by the manufacturer. As there are presently few safe and effective options, we are hopeful that a vaccine will be available soon whenever Purevax is unavailable.

    Vaccination is the process of giving a weakened form of an infectious organism in order to create a response from the patients immune system that will not actually cause the disease but will create protection from the disease in the future.

    No matter what species of patient, what infectious disease, or what kind of vaccine, not all patients will be protected against exposure after vaccination. This is termed a “vaccine failure,” which can occur for a number of reasons. Some reasons for vaccine failure in ferrets include:

  • The ferret’s immune system does not respond properly to the vaccine for genetic, medical or other reasons, and the appropriate level of protective antibodies does not develop.
  • The vaccine was damaged by being stored improperly .
  • The vaccine was reconstituted too long before its use. Vaccines have to be refrigerated up to shortly before use and used within 30 minutes of reconstituting. Beyond 30 minutes, the vaccine may lose its effectiveness.
  • How Is Cat Parvo Treated

    As parvo is a viral disease, treatment is largely supportive until the kitten can make antibodies against the virus.

    We need to ensure adequate hydration and electrolyte balance . It’s also important that the kitten gets enough nutrients to be able to have the energy to fight the infection.

    In some very serious cases where the white cell counts are very low, we may need to give a blood transfusion.

    Antibiotics may be needed to treat secondary bacterial infections.

    Kennel Cough Treatments In Humans

    Depending on the situation, doctors may recommend the following treatments for humans with kennel cough:

    • antibiotics

    Its important to remember that most healthy humans arent at risk for kennel cough. Research has shown, more often than not, theres an underlying condition that makes the infection more likely.

    In one , 7 out of 8 patients with confirmed kennel cough had a significant preexisting medical condition, such as lung disease or autoimmune neutropenia.

    Humans who do acquire kennel cough may develop pneumonia or an upper respiratory tract .

    Some serious complications of may include:

    • Septic shock. When chemicals from the original infection spread to the blood, it can lead to this potentially fatal .
    • Lung abscesses. are collections of pus in the lungs cavities.
    • Pleural effusion. If pneumonia isnt treated, fluid can build up in the layers of tissue around the lungs. In some cases, it can become infected.
    • Respiratory failure. Sometimes, severe cases of pneumonia can cause respiratory failure.

    See your doctor if you suspect you have kennel cough or another type of respiratory illness.

    Why Does My Indoor Cat Need Rabies Vaccination

    Rabies is a human health concern, not just an animal health issue. Because rabies can be transmitted to humans and is nearly universally fatal, many communities have laws mandating rabies vaccination of pets. Rabies is most commonly transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. Bats, skunks, and raccoons are the most common sources of exposure to rabies by companion animals.

    “Rabies is a human health concern, not just an animal health issue.”

    Regardless of legal requirements, maintaining regular rabies vaccination makes good medical sense. Even a strictly indoor cat may find a way to sneak out of the house and be exposed to rabies by a wild animal in the neighborhood. A rabid bat could find its way inside, presenting an attractive hunting target for an indoor cat. It is simply not worth the risk to the cat or your human family members to decline vaccination against rabies.

    Your veterinarian is your best source of the most current recommendations for vaccinating your cat in order to protect her from preventable infectious diseases – even if yours lives strictly indoors. The current guidelines for cat vaccinations involve a rotating vaccine schedule – it is no longer considered appropriate to vaccinate against every disease every single year. Instead, an individual risk assessment is performed to determine the most appropriate disease protection and prevention plan for your cat. Your veterinarian has your cat’s best interests in mind.

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