Spring into vaccination this kitten season to avoid killer virus

Vanessa Barrs is spearheading research into Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV). Cr

Vanessa Barrs is spearheading research into Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV). Credit: Jayne Ion. Top of page: Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A spike in vaccination has been announced, following the re-emergence of the deadly Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV) and an awareness campaign, but with the kitten season approaching there is no room for complacency

In good news for feline lovers this International Cat Day, the Cat Protection Society of NSW has announced its latest Ipsos survey shows the proportion of vaccinated pet cats has risen to 85 percent after last year’s confirmation about the re-emergence of a killer cat virus and subsequent efforts to raise awareness about vaccination.

The re-emergence of the deadly Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV, feline parvovirus, feline enteritis) in Sydney was confirmed last year by Professor of Feline Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Vanessa Barrs from the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science and Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity.

Herd immunity requires that greater than 70 percent of the population is vaccinated. Details about the improved result are in the Ipsos Cat Welfare Survey 2018 .

Cat Protection CEO Kristina Vesk said the bolstered vaccination was a significant result but vigilance was key: "The next kitten season is around the corner and with the risk that FPV is still present in many environments, ensuring a high rate of vaccination is vital."

About Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV)

Research by Professor Barrs has identified two major strains of FPV:

  • One is responsible for outbreaks in Sydney and the Central Coast.
  • The other caused outbreaks in Melbourne, Geelong and Mildura. 
  • Professor Barrs’s research is now focused on determining whether other viruses are "hitching a ride" in cats affected with panleukopaenia, as well as measuring herd immunity in outbreak and non-outbreak regions of Australia. 

    Ahead of International Cat Day on 8 August we delved deep into some feline facts to reveal the prevalence of cats, the characteristics of their owners and some important welfare tips. 

    Pet owners and vets are being warned against complacency after the resurgence of a deadly feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) - almost eradicated 40 years ago by vaccinations - was confirmed by Australian tests recently.

    Initially set up in the United Kingdom by University of Sydney Professor Paul McGreevy, VetCompass has now launched in Australia - in a collaboration between all veterinary schools - to bring the benefits of big data and epidemiology expertise to pets, with potential impacts on human health and the environment.