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How to Prevent Cerebellar Hypoplasia

September 13, 2011

Since the cerebellum, a small part of a cat’s brain, can have a big impact on her life, it’s important to know how to keep how to keep it safe.

Photo courtesy mwanasimba

The cerebellum is a particularly delicate part of the brain because it continues to grow and develop until birth. Consequently, it’s especially vulnerable. Trauma to the unborn kitten and viruses like feline distemper can destroy the cerebellum’s growing nerves, which results in it not developing fully, which is the condition cerebellar hypoplasia.

Here are four things to keep in mind to keep your unborn kitties safe:

  • The mother doesn’t actually need to be infected with the virus for it to impact her kittens. Often, the syndrome is caused when a mother cat is vaccinated during pregnancy with a modified live distemper vaccine, a basic cat vaccine. If you know your cat is pregnant, or suspect a rescued cat may be, mention it to your veterinarian before any vaccinations are given.
  • Once a kitten is born, she is not safe from the syndrome. From birth until two weeks of age, if she contracts distemper, she can still experience enough cerebellar damage that can lead to CH.
  • If your mother cat is due for vaccinations, ask your vet to wait two weeks after the kittens are born.
  • If you have a mother cat in your home, keep her in a safe place to reduce any potential injury to the unborn kittens. If she’s an outdoor cat, try to temporarily bring her inside, or carefully watch over her until the kittens are born.

Once the kittens are born, make sure they receive the vaccination for feline distemper at around 12 weeks, so they can properly defend themselves against the virus.

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