A highly contagious viral disease of cats characterized by its sudden onset, fever, inappetence (loss of appetite), dehydration, depression, vomiting, decreased numbers of circulating white blood cells (leukopenia), and often a high mortality rate. Intrauterine (within the uterus) infection may result in abortions, stillbirths, early neonatal deaths, and cerebellar hypoplasia (underdevelopment of the cerebellum) manifested by incoordination (ataxia) in kittens beginning at two to three weeks of age. All members of the cat family (Felidae) are susceptible to infection with feline panleukopenia virus, as are raccoons, coatimundis, and ringtails, in the family Procyoniclae. Many excellent vaccines are available to protect cats against panleukopenia. In unvaccinated populations, however, panleukopenia remains the most severe and destructive disease of cats.
Paraffin, pictured, is displaying typical FIE posture – hunched weak and pathetic beside the water bowl, thirsty but unable to drink. Heartbreaking to see.
If you look for info on FIE you’ll find a lot of sources say the mortality rate is 90% in young kittens. And that’s bollocks. Out of six families I’ve nursed through FIE our mortality rate has been 29%. Although if I exclude the older Red family (FIE is particularly vicious for younger kittens) that rate rises to 37%. Our highest rate per family: 67%. Our lowest: 0%. Quite a difference.
The internet contains dozen’s of excellent pages and references to information on Feline Infectious Enteritis so we are not going to replicate that here. These pages contain our personal experiences, findings, thoughts and maybe a few suggestions on this terrible disease in the hope that people will realise 90% mortality rate is not necessary – don’t give up on your FIE kittens!!!