Maui News

Final Vaccine Clinic Aims to Combat Deadly Feline Virus

July 18, 2014, 11:10 AM HST
* Updated July 18, 11:32 AM
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Photo by Wendy Osher.

Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Maui Humane Society will host the last in a series of vaccination clinics to combat the deadly panleukopenia feline virus which has killed at least eight cats on Maui over the last few months..

The organization vaccinated more than 250 cats during a similar clinic held last Saturday, July 12.

“There was a line out the parking lot, so we definitely feel there is a need in the public,” said Humane Society executives in a press release.

The upcoming clinic will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 19, in the Maui Humane Society modular building behind the main shelter.

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Organization leaders say the vaccination clinic will be the final event, unless the situation changes for the worse, and more clinics are deemed necessary.

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Jamie Fitzpatrick, director of animal care with the Humane Society, says eight cats have so far died of the virus. There were three infected cats in Kula and five in Kahului, they say.

The illness is a highly contagious virus that is common on the mainland, but very rare in the islands, according to officials with the Maui Humane Society.

It can be spread through indirect contact, with signs of the virus including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, and even sudden death within just a few days, officials said.

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Vaccinations are being offered by donation.  Clinic organizers say the vaccine being administered is a “standard core vaccine” that includes  protection against the panleukopenia virus as well as herpes and calici viruses which cause upper respiratory disease in cats.

The Maui Humane Society offered the following tips for cat owners planning to attend the clinic:

  • Cats and kittens should be at least six weeks old and all cats should be transported in secure carriers. (Cats in improper carriers will not be accepted. Carriers are available for rent from MHS and cardboard carriers can be purchased at the shelter ahead of time for $10.)
  • Feral cats should not be brought to these vaccine clinics.
  • If the cat shows signs of illness, notify the shelter front office staff before bringing the cat into the building. They will assist in taking the cat to a designated intake area.
  • If you see a sick, dying, or dead cat in your neighborhood, call the Maui Humane Society at 877-3680 ext 23. This will help the organization to identify areas of the island where the virus may have spread.
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