Enteritis in cats is a very serious disease. It's often referred to as distemper, which is a disease that dogs commonly get. However, feline enteritis isn't the same. A common other name for the condition is panleukopenia.
This disease normally strikes kittens younger than six months old. However, older cats also have a relatively increased risk of developing it. Older cats may be strong enough to fight off the affliction, but kittens can easily succumb to it.
Feline enteritis is caused by a virus. Wild animals such as cats and raccoons can harbor the highly contagious virus. Infected animals can pass it to your cat by coming into direct contact with him. If your cat comes into contact with nasal or oral secretions, he can get infected too.
Owners should also know that the virus that causes enteritis in cats can also contaminate items such as bedding, litter boxes, and food dishes. Owners can also pass the virus along to their cats because it's capable of contaminating human hands.
After being infected with feline enteritis, your cat may not show any symptoms for up to ten days. Common signs include high fever and loss of appetite. Cats may also vomit frequently, producing yellow-tinted bile in the process. If you touch your cat in the abdominal region, he may cry out in pain. It is also common for cats to have diarrhea and produce stool that also has a yellow color, although it may appear to have blood in it instead.
As mentioned, enteritis in cats is quite serious. That's why it is important that you get your cat checked out and diagnosed with the condition as soon as possible. The chances of your cat surviving a bout with this virus rise considerably the earlier that treatment is started.
There is no way to battle the virus that causes cat enteritis directly. The vet will simply need to provide supportive measures to help your cat make it through the disease. Antibiotics will likely be given to stave off any bacterial infections. IV fluids and nutrition therapy may also be necessary.
It is very easy to prevent enteritis in cats. Simply have your feline vaccinated. The virus can live virtually anywhere in your home, so your kitten would be at risk if left unvaccinated. Using a standard disinfectant won't be enough to kill the virus either.
If your cat survives an episode of feline enteritis, then you should be aware that he will continue to shed the virus for a few weeks. Other cats in the household can easily be infected. The good news is that cats that survive an infection from the virus will be relatively safe from reinfection since their immune system will be boosted.