A few weeks ago, the Guilford County Animal Services Department announced an outbreak of a virus spreading through the cat population in the county. This week, that outbreak led Animal Services to take some drastic action: On Wednesday, May 29, Animal Services announced it was pausing the Intake of cats and kittens due to an outbreak of the Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV).

Animals Services officials announced that the action is due to positive cases of the feline virus found at the Guilford County Animal Resource Center – that is, at the animal shelter.

According to a statement released by the department, the virus was detected in stray cats and kittens brought into the shelter from the Jamestown area. All cats at the shelter are now “under quarantine” for a period of 10 days in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus, which is highly contagious among cats.

The disease, which can affect kittens and unvaccinated cats, causes the animals to become defenseless against any viruses or bacteria. If it isn’t diagnosed and treated properly, the virus can be fatal.

According to Animal Services, the incubation period for the virus is about two weeks.

“Most cats infected with FPV may show no symptoms at all,” the department reports. “Cats with FPV that become ill may experience the following symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, fever, depression, lethargy, painful abdomen, lack of appetite, dehydration, or sudden death.”

The feline disease can spread when a cat ingests viral material from feces, urine, saliva, or vomit. The spread can also occur due to cats using the same litterbox – or even sharing the same living space.

A statement from the shelter notes, “Guilford County Animal Services is managing FPV with quarantine, isolation, and, if required, euthanasia.”

Animal health officials say that vaccination is the best method for preventing feline panleukopenia virus. Also, you should consult with a veterinarian to see if your cat is eligible for vaccination.

You can learn more about the virus by visiting the American Veterinary Medical Association website.