City of Long Beach
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd,
Long Beach, CA 90802
In the last 10 days, Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) has encountered several cases of sick cats in the shelter. These cats show symptoms of and have been tested positive for a disease known as Feline Panleukopenia Virus or FPV, also known as Feline Distemper. In order to contain the spread of the disease, ACS staff is implementing several measures that will protect the population of cats currently in their care.
What is Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV)?
Panleukopenia is a feline virus that causes the infected animal to lose all defenses against any viruses or bacteria. In an unvaccinated population of cats, it is the deadliest disease. It is this reason that ACS takes care and precautions when handling cats to limit the spread of all disease as much as possible.
How is FPV spread?
FPV is spread when a cat ingests viral material that is present in bodily waste. This can happen through litterbox use, grooming, etc.
Why is this disease in the shelter?
FPV is not a shelter-specific disease. FPV vaccines are highly effective, and this disease is preventable. This is a disease that commonly kills unvaccinated stray cats and kittens, and was likely introduced by an unowned, unvaccinated cat or kitten that was brought to the shelter.
How can FPV be contained?
ACS is managing FPV with live containment: sick cats will be isolated from healthy cats, and staff will take extra steps to decrease the risk of cross-contamination. ACS has obtained additional housing areas to effectively isolate the different cat population groups. The quarantine will be overseen by a veterinarian and will be in effect for 14 days from the date of the last incident of the disease. ACS also has reached out to other local agencies including Best Friends, Stray Cat Alliance, L.A. City Animal Services, Kern County Animal Services, Riverside County Animal Services and experienced cat rescue organizations and veterinarians to assist in containment and management of this disease. Vaccination on intake is already the standard practice for all cats entering ACS who are at least four weeks of age; it can provide immunity within days
What can members of the community do to help prevent the spread of FPV?
Cats owners are cautioned to keep their cats up to date on their vaccines. FPV vaccines are highly effective, and this disease is preventable. Members of the community also are encouraged to refrain from bringing cats to the shelter, if possible, until after the quarantine has been lifted.
Media inquiries can be directed to Staycee Dains, Animal Care Services Manager, at 562.570.3051 or Staycee.Dains@longbeach.gov.