City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 061821-5
Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV) Detected at Long Beach Animal Care Services Shelter
Public can Take Steps to Prevent its Spread
Staycee Dains
Animal Care Services Manager
Long Beach Animal Care Services

On June 12, 2021, Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS) discovered that a kitten who entered the shelter on June 4 had contracted Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV), also known as Feline Distemper. Additional kittens were confirmed to be infected with FPV in the subsequent days. LBACS 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 litter box use, food and water bowls, grooming, etc.

Why is this disease in the shelter?
FPV is not a shelter-specific disease. 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. FPV vaccines are highly effective, and this disease is preventable.

How can FPV be contained?
LBACS 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, including limiting the intake of felines to only those that are sick, injured, or in need of medical attention and staff will not be using the affected room where infected kittens were identified for new admissions. LBACS 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. Vaccination on intake is already the standard practice for all cats entering LBACS 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?

  • Vaccination - Cat owners are strongly encouraged to keep their cats up to date on their vaccines. FPV vaccines are highly effective, and this disease is preventable. FPV is prevented by vaccinating kittens with a series of three or more Panleukopenia vaccines between the ages of 2 and 4 months. The vaccine must be given again a year later, then every three years for life.
  • Protect kittens - Keep kittens at home, inside and away from unfamiliar cats until they have finished their complete vaccination series. Pet cats are always safest when kept indoors or when safely contained in outdoor environments.
  • Keep your cat away from sick cats and stray cats - Sick cats can contaminate litter boxes and the nearby environment and transfer the virus to another cat. Cat owners should not allow their cat to have direct contact with any sick cats, nor share food or water bowls or resting spaces with sick or unknown cats.
  • Keep pet food and water indoors, away from outdoor cats - Outdoor pet food and water can attract stray cats. Community cats, or “free roaming” cats, who have already been spayed, neutered and vaccinated are less of a threat to pet cats. Cats that have not entered a Community Cats program can be a serious risk to pet cats.
  • Do not bring healthy cats to animal shelters - Community members should refrain from bringing any healthy cats and kittens to any animal shelter. Allow these animals to remain in place and contact animal services to obtain assistance and vouchers to care for and have these animals spayed and neutered. 

Additional information is available here.

Media inquiries can be directed to Staycee Dains, Animal Care Services Manager, at 562.570.3051 or