Flemington Animal Referral Hospital’s Rachel Tong says cat vaccinations are vital.
CAT owners are being urged to check their pet's vaccinations are up to date after an outbreak of the highly contagious and life-threatening feline panleucopaenia, also known as feline infectious enteritis (FIE) or feline parvovirus (FPV).
An outbreak at the Blacktown Animal Shelter led to the facility stopping both intakes and adoptions of cats as a precaution, and with both the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League (AWL) also experiencing cases, it is feared the virus is already in the wider community.
Veterinarian Dr Sarah Helmond from the Animal Referral Hospital (ARH) at Homebush, said they had seen four cases so far, with one eight-month old kitten treated for nine days before being able to go home.
"There is no cure for Panleukopenia and the only way to prevent the disease is through vaccination by your local vet," she said.
"The highest mortality is in unvaccinated kittens under five months of age and treatment is very intensive and can some take some time which can also be very expensive.
"It's been very frustrating. The bill for one little kitten is phenomenally high but it can be prevented with a simple vaccination."
Dr Helmond said this was the first outbreak she had seen since graduating in 2001 and many people had become complacent about vaccinations.
"If you don't know if your cat has been vaccinated it might be a good idea to have a booster, but kittens should definitely be vaccinated, including strays before they are introduced into a household," she said.
"Symptoms can occur very rapidly, in just a day or so. Infected cats and kittens will be obviously depressed, will not eat, may have a fever, and can also develop vomiting and diarrhoea with severe dehydration."