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Investigating the Re-emergence of a Fatal Gastrointestinal Disease in Shelter Cats

Feline panleukopenia is a serious disease caused by feline panleukopenia virus, a type of parvovirus. Highly contagious, and associated with mortality rates approaching 90 percent, the virus attacks rapidly dividing cells, such as the cells lining the intestinal tract and bone marrow cells. The disease has been well controlled through routine vaccination and good hygiene procedures. However, in the last 10 to 15 years, feline panleukopenia has re-emerged as a major cause of death in shelter-housed cats. Researchers will compare the entire virus population (the virome) from the intestinal tracts of sick and healthy cats to help determine whether new or known strains of virus are contributing to these new outbreaks. Detection of any emerging feline viruses involved in the disease will help inform future vaccinations strategies and biosecurity guidelines to protect and reduce fatalities in cats worldwide.


Principal Investigator: Vanessa R. Barrs, BVSc, University of Sydney, Australia

Sponsors: 

Study ID: D18FE-001