The Lakewood Animal Shelter is dealing with an outbreak of a deadly feline virus, forcing them to stop the intake of any cats or kittens for two weeks to help stop the spread.
The virus is called feline panleukopenia, and has symptoms similar to Parvo in puppies. Cats who are vaccinated are protected.
In the last month, the Lakewood Animal Shelter has seen more than a dozen infected felines.
Five kittens have died from the disease so far.
“The mortality rate for kittens is pretty high if they get it,” said Elaine Hearn, Lakewood Animal Shelter supervisor. “That’s what we’re seeing here —the kittens are coming in and they’re getting it and they’re going downhill really fast.”
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite.
The shelter disinfected the facility and has stopped all cat intakes until Oct. 23rd.
Infected kittens were sent to Westpark Animal Hospital to be treated, then put in foster homes to recover.
The virus is spread through contact and is not harmful to humans. A person can spread it to their house cat if they come in contact with a stray and don’t wash their hands.
The Citizens Committee for the Lakewood Animal Shelter, a nonprofit support group, has picked up the medical bills to treat the infected kittens, costing more than $5,000. A GoFundMe account has been created to raise money for treatment.
Several other clinics and shelters in Northeast Ohio have reported a similar outbreak of panleukopenia.