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State warns cat owners of distemper virus

Forgotten Cats

If you’re a cat owner, you may want to make sure your pet’s vaccines are up to date. A highly contagious virus has shown up in Dover.


A Dover-area veterinary hospital discovered feline distemper in two kittens and one adult cat earlier this month.


“This is a disease that circulates in cat populations that are unvaccinated," said Deputy State Veterinarian Karen Lopez.


She said getting your cat vaccinated will protect it from the virus. But even if your cat is vaccinated, many veterinarians recommend a distemper booster every year.


Feline distemper is spread through cat feces and mostly affects cats with access to the outdoors. These cats will typically pick it up on their paws and ingest it while grooming themselves.  


Humans can also transmit the virus on their hands, clothes and shoes.


Cats infected by the virus will appear lethargic and depressed, and will eventually stop eating. If untreated, they’ll die.

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