Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), also known as Feline infectious enteritis, Feline distemper, feline ataxia, or cat plague, is a viral infection affecting cats, both domesticated and wild feline species. It is caused by feline parvovirus, a close relative of both type 2 canine parvovirus and mink enteritis. Once contracted, it is highly contagious and can be fatal to the affected cat. The name, panleucopenia, comes from the low white blood cell count (leucocytes) exhibited by affected animals.
Panleukopenia is primarily spread through contact with an infected animal's bodily fluids, feces, or other fomites, as well as by fleas. It may be spread to and by cats, minks and ferrets and can be spread long distances through contact with bedding, food dishes, or even by clothing and shoes of handlers of infected animals. It is not, however, contagious or contractable by humans. Like all parvoviruses, FPV is extremely resistant to inactivation and can survive for longer than one year in a suitable environment.
The virus primarily attacks the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, causing internal ulceration and, ultimately, total sloughing of the intestinal epithelium. This results in