short haired cat lying down with big yellow eyes surprised looking at the camera

The Basics of the Feline Distemper Vaccine


Feline distemper is caused by a highly contagious virus that infects and kills rapidly growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, intestines, and developing fetuses. The virus is most dangerous to young kittens and can be found almost anywhere in the United States - from kennels, pet shops, animal shelters, and other areas where groups of cats are present - there are effective vaccines and preventative measures that can be taken to keep your cat safe from this virus.

The virus can spread from an infected cat’s urine, feces, nasal matter, or fleas and can infect another cat when it comes into direct contact with one of these infected secretions. The virus can live in an environment for up to 1 year, so even if a cat doesn’t come into direct contact with an infected cat, just stepping into an infected environment may be enough to contract the disease. 

Although there are signs and symptoms you can look out for in an infected cat, unfortunately in many cases there are no signs at all. Kittens under the age of one are likely to become severely sick and kittens under the age of 5 months are at risk of dying from the disease. Some signs to look out for include

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration

When it comes to treatment, prevention is key. An infected cat that has not had the vaccine may be able to fight off the virus if it’s older, but your vet will need to provide intensive treatment and care. There are no medications that are capable of killing off the virus completely. The feline distemper vaccine is a core vaccine that must be given to every cat, regardless of age, size, or breed. 

Come To North Shore Animal Hospital For Your Cat’s Vaccines

At North Shore Animal Hospital, located in the Bayside area, we provide guidance and core vaccines for cats. If your cat is in need of the feline distemper vaccine then visit our experienced vets. Our team believes in delivering quality care and customer service and treats every patient and owner with respect. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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If you’re looking for excellent customer service and a trustworthy veterinarian in Bayside,

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Sun: 9:00am - 5:00pm