Kitten struggles to fight deadly virus

Around 11:00am on September 21, 2017, a kitten named Cheerio was vomiting, had severe diarrhea, and was extremely lethargic. He was showing signs of feline panleukopenia, also known as feline parvovirus, a deadly virus that quickly attacks the intestines, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. 

While our Hope Clinic team tried to save Cheerio's life through supportive care, our cat intake area went into lockdown. Feline panleukopenia is spread only to other cats, mainly aged 3-5 months, through urine, feces, and contact with any objects the infected animal may have had previous contact with. The area must now remain in lockdown for the next week while we anxiously monitor the other kittens residing in that area, making sure they aren't incubating the deadly virus as well, and backing up our scheduled intakes even further. Additional staff had to be called in to help contain the virus and prevent it from spreading to the numerous other cats residing in our shelter, placing another emotional toll and financial strain on our tiny yet mighty organization.

Despite the effort made to save Cheerio, the virus had overtaken his tiny body and he no longer had the strength to fight. Through tears, we helped him peacefully cross the Rainbow Bridge, surrounded by staff members and volunteers who had already fallen in love with him.

Feline panleukopenia can be prevented through vaccinating. It is typically seen in young kittens and unvaccinated cats, so talk with your veterinarian about a wellness plan beginning when kittens are 6-8 weeks old. Feline panleukopenia is messy, deadly, and heartbreaking. No cat should have to suffer from it.

We need your help to prevent other cats from meeting the same fate as Cheerio. Please consider a donation to Lenawee Humane Society so we can continue to vaccinate and spay/neuter every cat that comes through our shelter. With your help, we're also able to offer low-cost spay/neuter services to the public and a Pet Food Bank to help pets stay in their homes. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn Cheerio's loss, but we thank you for allowing us to be here so he didn't have to suffer alone.



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