At Cat Protection, we have been closely monitoring the health and progress of the kittens in our care and are very excited to announce we are resuming kitten adoptions.
As a precaution we are asking anyone who has a cat or cats at home to bring along a copy of their cat's current vaccination certificate. This new measure is to highlight the importance of vaccination for all cats and kittens and safeguard against the spread of FPV.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their understanding and patience with all our efforts to protect not only the cats and kittens in our care but also the health of felines in the wider community.
Important update on Feline Panleukopaenia Virus (FPV) (also known as feline parvovirus or feline enteritis)
As confirmed by the University of Sydney, there is an outbreak of FPV in Sydney that has already killed dozens of cats and kittens, and has led to the temporary suspension of cat admissions and adoptions at Blacktown Pound.
Yesterday The University of Sydney issued a media release on the outbreak of panleukopenia in Sydney.
"The once vanquished viral disease feline panleukopenia has caused the death of scores of cats in Sydney in recent weeks, investigations into the outbreak by researchers from the University of Sydney show.
Blacktown City Council is the latest area to announce an outbreak, last night issuing a statement saying its Animal Holding Facility would be closed to cats and it was placing a hold on adoptions and cat rescues until the outbreak was under control.
The symptoms are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite, followed by vomiting and diarrhoea. In severe infections cats can die suddenly with no signs.
Sydney veterinarian Dr Tanya Stephens, owner of Haberfield Veterinary clinic, said she had not diagnosed a case for 40 years. That was until about two weeks ago when her practice diagnosed the disease in four rescued stray kittens. The kittens died after a short illness.
The disease has also struck three animal shelters in western Sydney, resulting in the deaths of more than 50 cats. Affected cats were mostly kittens that had not yet been vaccinated, or were not fully vaccinated.
DNA sequencing by University of Sydney Professor Vanessa Barrs has confirmed that the strain of virus causing the outbreak in Australia is feline panleukopenia virus (FPV).
It coincides with several large outbreaks of parvovirus in dogs in NSW, around the Shoalhaven area as well as the Riverina region and Tamworth.
"The message for pet owners is make sure your dogs and cats are vaccinated against these deadly infections," said Professor Barrs, from the Sydney School of Veterinary Science and Marie Bashir Institute.
"Disease in cats is caused by parvoviruses, small DNA viruses. The main one is feline panleukopenia virus but parvoviruses that infect dogs can also cause the disease in cats."
However, there is no risk for humans as the disease cannot be passed on to them. Feline panleukopenia virus, also known as feline enteritis, is a deadly viral infection of cats that was first discovered more than 100 years ago. With the uptake of vaccinations, disease virtually disappeared from Australia in the mid-1970s.
The current outbreak is particularly dangerous because it occurs in the middle of summer, when there are larger numbers of kittens around, which are most susceptible to the disease.
The research by Professor Barrs and her colleagues indicates that current vaccines should be effective.
"The current outbreak seems to be caused by a lack of mass vaccination, especially in shelter-housed cats," Professor Barrs said.
"The disease had previously re-emerged in Melbourne cat shelters a few years ago but despite warnings, cats have not been vaccinated in many shelters because their risk of disease was perceived to be lower than in dogs, when in reality the risk to cats is high.
"When less than 70 per cent of the population is vaccinated, there is a perfect storm for the emergence of a disease epidemic. The current outbreak is a timely reminder that maintaining immunity in populations of animals where effective vaccines are available is essential".
Thank you to all of our fabulous supporters, members and donors who have generously donated to our furry superheroes over the festive season.
With summer here, we are now dealing with the demands of another busy kitten season as well as adult cats coming into our shelter. At Cat Protection, we are constantly amazed by the super powers shown by the incredible cats and kittens in our care and their ability to overcome any obstacle in their path.
We are thrilled to let you know that quite a few of our furry superheroes found their loving forever homes over the holidays and we wish them all the best with their new families but some of our heroes are still waiting for their forever homes.
Beautiful Buttercup shows us what it is to have courage. Born with no eyelids, Buttercup endured this discomfort along with the distress of life on the streets until she found us. Our brilliant vets performed surgery, taking skin from her lip to create eyelids for her. Without this vital surgery, Buttercup would have had ongoing eye infections, constant irritation and pain.
We are blown away by Buttercup who has shown strength throughout her recovery, she has recently come back from foster care and her sweet nature has won the hearts of all those who have been looking after her. Buttercup will soon be looking for her very own forever home!
We still need your help this summer to give all our amazing furry superheroes their chance to shine ... because every cat deserves a loving and responsible home.
For all the ways you can donate click here