The Distribution of Feline Panleukopenia Reported by Australian Veterinary Clinics and Shelters
Sydney School of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Feline panleukopenia (FP) is a highly contagious, often fatal disease of cats (especially kittens) that has recently re-emerged in Australia, predominantly associated with shelter-housed cats. Limited information exists on the prevalence, distribution or risk factors for infections in Australia or worldwide.
To describe the distribution of FP in the Australian cat population. To determine the role of shelters in disease transmission.
A national online survey (January-July 2017) of companion animal veterinarians was conducted to estimate the number of FP cases diagnosed by laboratory tests (e.g., faecal antigen, PCR) or clinical presentation, during 2015 to 2016. Information on the clinic’s extent of involvement in shelter work was also collected. Maps were generated to display FP cases, outbreaks, and trends.
A total of 534 unique veterinary clinics responded (23.5% of Australian clinics); 154 and 174 FPV cases were reported by 23 (mean 3.3 per clinic; 95% CI 0.3–6.8%) and 47 (mean 3.7; 95% CI 1.2–6.2%) clinics in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Overall, 9% of clinics (47/534) reported cases during the study period.
In 2015, 72% of FPV cases were reported by shelter clinics (p=0.30) compared to only 51% in 2016 (p=0.07). Size of clinic and number of FPV cases reported in 2016 were correlated (r=0.42, p<0.01). The most cases were reported from New South Wales and Victoria. However, this is the first report to document FP in Western Australia, Queensland, and South Australia.
FP, previously only reported in NSW and VIC since 2014, is occurring over a wider geographic area than previously thought.