Broward County cat owners warned about viral outbreak

Panleukopemia can be contracted by both indoor, outdoor cats

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Animal Care and Adoption officials are warning cat owners about a deadly virus called panleukopemia that both indoor and outdoor unvaccinated cats could be at risk of contracting. 

"It's easy to prevent but very difficult to treat," said Lauralei Combs, executive director of Broward County Animal Care and Adoption.

A viral outbreak that has already affected many parts of the country has been confirmed in Broward County. 

"It's a very tenacious virus that lives in the earth," Combs said. 

The virus affects smaller cats and kittens with weak immune systems. Broward Animal Care and Adoption has already seen about 100 cats with the virus this year. 

"We know it's in Broward. Every shelter across the nation, especially in the South, is having issues with it," Combs said.

Pets with panleukopenia have a loss of appetite and no energy. They also may vomit or have diarrhea. Experts say the best thing to do is get your pets vaccinated. 

If you know your kitten is unvaccinated, you are urged to call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. 

Experts say humans can't contract the virus. While dogs can, it's not as dangerous in them as it is in kittens. 

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