Third Feline Virus Case on Maui Suggests it is Spreading

July 8, 2014, 2:46 PM HST · Updated July 8, 9:50 PM
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By David Kvasnicka

A third case of the feline panleukopenia virus has been confirmed, this time in Kahului, according to the Maui Humane Society.

File photo by Tom Gill.

File photo by Tom Gill.

Jennifer McGurn with the Society says that a kitten that was brought in to their overnight kennels passed away Tuesday, July 8.

The previous two cases of the virus were discovered in Kula, suggesting that the extremely contagious virus is spreading around the island.

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Animal workers say there was a much smaller response than anticipated for the Society’s July 5 clinic held last weekend, possibly due to the Fourth of July holiday.

The Maui SPCA also held a mass vaccination clinic on June 15.

Two additional vaccine clinics have been announced by the Society:

  • Saturday, July 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

McGurn said the second cat exposed to the virus fell ill about 17 days after receiving the vaccine because it takes time to take effect. However, the cat is doing well and is expected to survive, likely because of the vaccine (despite the reduced-effect), she said.

Cat owners are encouraged to vaccinate their cats as soon as possible. Animal workers say the virus can spread to a cat even without cat-to-cat contact via humans, such as tracking it in on their shoes and clothing.

“Having this confirmed case in an area outside our designated ‘hot zone,’ would make it seem likely that the virus has started to spread and due to our highly mobile society, will eventually be found throughout the island of Maui,” said McGurn.

Cost for the vaccination is by donation.

The clinics are intended for all friendly, tame cats. Cats and kittens should be at least six weeks old and all cats should be transported in secure carriers. For safety reasons, cats in improper carriers will not be accepted. Carriers are available for rent from the Society and cardboard carriers can be purchased at the shelter ahead of time for $10.

Feral cats should not be brought to these vaccine clinics; in this case the public is asked to call (number below) for vaccination options for feral cats.

Clinics will be held in the Maui Humane Society Modular building behind the main shelter building at 1350 Mehameha Loop, Puunene.

See the Society’s website and Facebook page for updates and information, or call (808) 877-3680 x23.

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