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After the virus enters the oropharynx through direct contact with infected cat or via fomites, initial virus replication occur in pharyngeal lymphoid tissue at 18-24 hour post infection. The virus then distributed in a free and cell associated viraemia to other organ and tissue by blood stream which occur 2-7 day post infection. The incubation period is approximately 5 day ( 2-10 day), at the onset of disease there is profound panleukopenia and severity of the disease is parallel toward the degree of panleukopenia. The shedding start when viremia, and it is shed by feces, vomitus, urine and saliva and the virus is stable to the environment.
Cell that have appropriate specific receptor of FPV and are in S phase of the cell cycle are infected are destroyed or prevent from entering mitosis. The cell that is destroy is included the all white blood cell element which is lymphocyte, neutrophil, monocyte and platelet, not only that both that present in circulation and those in lymphoid organ are also destroyed. The resting peripheral leukocyte may be stimulated to proliferate becoming permissive for virus replication, the virus that bound to surface of cell may also render them target for cytotoxic lysis. Which cause panleukopenia as one of the sign of the diseases.
Not only that, rapidly dividing epithelial cell for example the intestinal crypt are also highly susceptible to infection, these progenitor cell of intestinal mucosa are destroyed which resulting intestinal mucosal collapse with contraction and fusion of villi of small intestine, attenuation of the lining epithelium ultimately resulting maldigestion and malabsorbtion, with diarrhea.
The virus also capable to infect fetuses during last 2 week of pregnancy and the first 2 week of life, dramatic lesion is present in the external granular layer of the cerebellum, which is the basis for the characteristic of cerebellar hypoplasia that occur in cat infected at this stage of development, this is explain because of the nature of cell of the external granular layer of the cerebellum normally undergo rapid division and migrate to form internal granular and Purkinje cell layer, this proliferation and migration is arrested and affected kitten remain permanently ataxic.
There is evidence that stated the cat that is infected from dam during pregnancy is having with idiopathic hyperthropic, dilated, restrictive form of cardiomyopathy which is later been examined with polymerase chain reaction for genomic evidence of FPV, Feline corona virus, feline herpes virus-1 but only FPV is presence in significance number, which suggest the important of FPC in pathogenesis of this heart abnormalities.
Most cases of FPV died due to hypovolemia shock or co-infection of other disease because of panleukopenia.
Clinical Finding of Feline Panleukopenia
In the peracute form, cats may die within 12 hours with few or no signs. The cat in this form may be found in terminal stage of septic shock, extremely dehydrated, hypothermic and comatose.
Acute form occurs within 3 to 4 days with fever (40°c to 41.6°c), depression and anorexia and extreme dehydration. Vomiting is frequently bile-tinged and is unrelated to eating. Diarrhoea occur less frequency.
Intestinal loops have a thickened, ropelike consistency and discomfort commonly noted on abdominal palpation. In complicated infection, oral ulceration, bloody diarrhea or icterus may be noted. In cat with complicating DIC, petechial and ecchymotic haemorrhage may be found.
Queens infected or vaccinated during pregnancy may show infertility or abortion of death mummified fetuses. Some kittens may be born with ataxia, incoordination, tremors and normal mental status typical of cerebellar disease. Retinal lesions appear as discrete, gray foci with dark margins and retinal folding may visible on fundic examination of kittens with neurological signs.
Gross lesion are focal ulceration on the surface of the tongue, dilated intestinal tract with the bowel loops are firm and hyperemic with pethecial and ecchymotic haemorrhages on the serosal surface. The faeces have a fetid odor when blood is present. Prenatally infected cats may have small cerebellum and hydrocephalus.
Histology lesions in intestine are dilated crypts with sloughing of epithelial cells and necrotic debris into lumen. Lymphocyte depletion is present in the follicle of lymph nodes, Peyer's patches and spleen. Lymphoid atrophy is present associated with mononuclear phagocyte hyperplasia.
In the cerebrum of prenatally or neonatally infected kittens, histology lesions are dilation of ventricles and disruption of ependymal cells with malacia of subcortical white matter. Cerebellar degeneration marked by disorientation and reduced population of the granular and Purkinje's cell layers. Myelin degeneration found mostly in the lateral funiculi of the spinal cord. Eosinophilic intranuclear inclusions can be found using Bouin's or Zenker's fixatives.
Diagnosis of Feline Panleukopenia
Diagnosis may include by looking at the symptoms and clinical signs presence. Generalized depression, loss of appetite, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, severe diarrhea, nasal discharge, and dehydration are among the first visible signs an owner might notice from their cats. Thus, they are important in assisting the clinician diagnosing the disease. In addition, a complete blood count (CBC) and serum biochemical profile are also being performed for futher confirmation. Normocytic, normochromic, non-regenerative anemia; neutrophilic leukocytosis with lymphopenia; eosinopenia and monocytosis; hypoalbuminemia and hyperglobulinemia with decreased albumin/globulin (A: G) ratio are abnormalities of cats infected with FIP. On the other hand, diagnostic laboratory tests for feline parvoviral infection do exist including immunofluorescent antibody testing (IFA), polymerase chain reaction tests (PCR), serologic examination (specific blood tests) and virus isolation. However, these tests are time-consuming and labor-intensive and are not commonly used or readily available. The in-clinic fecal test used to diagnose parvoviral infection in dogs can also be used to detect the presence of feline parvovirus in an infected cat's fecal sample. Besides that, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis is also one of the methods available but it is quite expensive and laborious to be done. It is characterized by an elevated protein of more than 2 g/L and leukocytosis (> 100 cells/μL) consisting of predominantly neutrophils, or lymphocytes.
Treatment of Feline Panleukopenia
The first line of action is to give supportive treatment to the animal to improve the animal's condition. Supportive treatment such as fluid therapy will correct electrolyte imbalances, hypoglycaemia, hypoproteinemia and anemia. Crystalloids such as Lactated Ringer's solution with added vitamin B and 5% glucose is the foundation in fluid therapy. Colloids such as plasma or whole blood should be considered in hypoproteinemic kittens or severely anemic cats. In cases of enteritis, perenteral broad-spectrum antibiotic is given but nephrotoxic antibiotics such as gentamicin and amikacin should be avoided. Anti-emetic therapy may be helpful and it will allow early enteral feeding provided the feed given is soft and easily digested.
Control and prevention
Feline panleukopenia is a contagious disease among cats and should be well manage and control. Not only the host should be treated but the environment should also be disinfected. Disinfectants used should be containing substances of sodium hypochlorite which commonly known as bleach, or can also use peracetic acid or formaldehyde or even sodium hydroxide which are all effective to eliminate this hardy non-envelope virus.
Besides, vaccination are ready available in our country as all cats which including those indoor cats or semi-indoor cats should be vaccinated. The vaccination are comes with other vaccine such as Herpes virus (Feline Rhinotracheitis), Calici virus, Chlamydia Psittaci, Feline leukemia Virus and also Parvo-virus which causes Feline Panleukopenia. The recommended injections are given at 8 to 9 weeks of age and the second dose is at 3 to 4 weeks later where booster are required annually. However contraindicated the used of modified-live vaccine should not used in pregnant animal or young kitten at the age of less than 4 weeks old. These vaccines give a good long lasting immunity which can protect the cats from being infected by the viruses.
Besides, a good balance diet is also very essential to build a good immune status in a cat. Well formulated and nutritional diet will raise a good and healthy cat which more resistant to being infected by viruses and disease.
Client which having potentially infected cats with this virus should immediately isolate and bring to vet for further work-up as this disease is highly contagious to the other cats at home. The other cats should also be vaccinated at age of after 4weeks old to acquired resistant as this disease is consider endemic in our country.
Potent disinfectants such as sodium hydrochloride should be used to disinfect this hardy virus. The infected cat should be treated as shown in the previous treatment section and client should follw-up treatment and check for their cats. Nutritive diet should be given and medicine should be follow based on what is prescribed.