Timothy Fitzpatrick, veterinarian and the owner of ABQ Petcare Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, leads a team of helpful, committed veterinary professionals in providing medical care to dogs, cats, and small animals. Timothy Fitzpatrick belongs to the American Veterinary Medical Association and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

Vaccination proves the most effective means of preventing a cat from acquiring panleukopenia, which is also known as feline distemper. Typically administered as a nasal spray or injection of dead or modified live virus, the feline distemper shot guards against the highly contagious and potentially fatal disease. Because of the common nature of the virus, to which most cats will ultimately be exposed during their lives, veterinarians recommend vaccinations every one to three years depending on risk factors such as region and whether the cat lives primarily indoors or outside.

The virus that causes feline distemper lives in just about every part of the United States and can survive up to one year at room temperature. The infection is transmitted via inhalation or consumption of the virus, which may be shed in large amounts from mucus, saliva, vomit, and feces of infected cats. Symptoms generally include swelling of the lymph nodes, and the disease quickly progresses to the bone marrow, where it destroys the body’s ability to make white blood cells. Without these vital components of the immune system in play, feline distemper overtakes the body’s systems.