Vancouver, B.C. – A new feline virus has been discovered after a mysterious and contagious disease outbreak happened last year at the SPCA’s Community Animal Centre in Vancouver.

Staff at the centre started to be concerned when eight cats started to present symptoms similar to a human “stomach flu”, all in a single day.

Dr. Emilia Gordon, Senior Manager, Animal Health, said that once tests for parasites came back negative, herself and her team became worried that it could be another type of virus or bacteria. They started to save samples and reached out to experts.

The investigation showed that the BC SPCA’s Quesnel shelter has also been affected by the same illness and was traced back to a litter of kittens from a rural section of Williams Lake. From there, they were able to trace that two cats from Quesnel introduced the disease to the Vancouver shelter.

With help from a research team at the University of California, they discovered a new kind of parvovirus in the samples from the outbreak.

Thankfully, out of 43 cats affected in total, 41 were able to make a recovery. Two were euthanized due to other medical problems.