Indianapolis Animal Care and Control (IACC) and local rescue groups have worked tirelessly over the last couple of days to pull all the cats that were exposed to illness in the recent outbreak of feline panleukopenia. According to a post from Oct. 26, 2014 on the agency’s Facebook page, 140 cats that were exposed to the virus have been pulled, meaning that these cats no longer face being euthanized to stop the disease’s spread.
Because feline panleukopenia spreads so quickly, time was of the essence. According to Dawn Contos, Community Outreach Coordinator at the IACC, a veterinarian experienced with feline panleukopenia outbreaks recommended that they euthanize the exposed cats to stop the spread of the virus. However, thanks to the Humane Society of Indianapolis, the Southside Animal Shelter, and Foundation Against Companion-Animal Euthanasia (FACE) Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, these cats all have another chance.
As of yesterday, IACC still had 50 cats that were facing euthanization, according to a story on WTHR. 20 that were diagnosed with the virus had already been put down. The shelter gave the remaining 50 one more day in the hopes that someone would come through for them.
But not everyone believes that the IACC acted responsibly with the decision to euthanize. Ellen Robinson, executive director at FACE, blasted the IACC’s response to the situation in part because feline panleukopenia is preventable through vaccination. According to WISHTv, she said, “Killing all of the population there just doesn’t meet national shelter standards and for a city like Indianapolis and our animal control facility, this is irresponsible.”
She also said that it’s time for real leadership at the IACC. She believes they should have had procedures in place to handle something like this, before it became a major epidemic.
The cats that were exposed to the virus will remain in quarantine for 14 days. Because feline panleukopenia has an incubation period of two to 14 days, any cats that haven’t gotten sick at the end of their quarantine should be adoptable.
Any cats that do get sick will need supportive care. There’s no cure for feline panleukopenia; care involves treatment with antibiotics to prevent secondary infections, along with rehydration and maintaining electrolyte balances. Cats that make it through the first 48 hours of treatment stand a good chance at a full recovery, and they are then immune to the virus for the rest of their lives.
Now, IACC is buckling down to the busy work of cleaning and decontaminating the rooms that the exposed cats were in for the last three weeks. They’re still asking that nobody bring cats to them for the time being.