Deadly virus spreading among cats at Indianapolis shelter

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 24, 2014) – Indianapolis Animal Care and Control (IACC) is dealing with a deadly virus that can quickly spread among cats.

IACC said several cats brought to the shelter have been infected with the feline panleukopenia virus, a highly contagious virus that’s almost always fatal in cats. IACC officials likened it to the parvovirus that affects dogs.

Symptoms of the virus include loss of appetite, hemorrhagic diarrhea and death. Asymptomatic carriers can show no signs of the disease, and can be a source of infection for other cats.

IACC said there’s no true treatment; cats can only be given supportive care.

Because of the close quarters where cats live at the shelter, panleukopenia spread quickly among felines before it was even detected. IACC made all of the cats available to local rescue groups and shelters, who have pulled as many of them as possible and are taking care of them.

IACC needs 72 hours to two weeks to decontaminate the facility. All stray cats brought to the shelter will go to Indy Feral and housed in a separate room that has not been contaminated.

For the next two weeks, IACC is asking the public not to bring owner-surrendered cats to the shelter while they work on decontamination protocols. The public should keep cats for two weeks so they won’t be subjected to the virus.

Any cats owner-surrendered to the agency during the two weeks will be at risk for immediate euthanasia. IACC said it can help with items such as food and litter for people who want to give a cat up but will have to keep it for another two weeks.