Feline Calicivirus Infections – Transmission, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Prevention by Cristina Vulpe PhD Feline calicivirus infections are caused by a virus that mostly affects the upper respiratory tract and oral cavity of cats. It’s a common misconception that cats will never rid themselves of FCV once first infected. Whenever you bring a new cat into the home, it is wise to isolate the animal from other cats in the household for one to two weeks while you watch for signs of disease. Fortunately, it is quite rare for cats to succumb to FCV infection. Another issue with Calicivirus is also that it can at times be asymptomatic. In addition, food or water bowls contaminated with the virus may serve as a carrier of infection to healthy pets. What is the difference between FCV and FHV? Large amounts of discharge can come from the eyes and nose. After being exposed to FCV, the incubation period is two to 14 days before symptoms appear. These symptoms can persist from five to 10 days in mild cases and up to six weeks in more severe ones. Rarely, a mutant strain of FCV will spontaneously arise that causes very serious disease with multiple organ damage or even death, called FCV-associated virulent systemic disease or FCV-VSD. Visit our Research & Studies page to learn more. PetAirapy’s UV technology has been designed and tested to quickly deliver high disinfection rates of feline calicivirus and other microorganisms that spread infection in animal care facilities. Strains vary in the severity of the disease that they cause, with the majority causing only mild disease. Direct contact with infected cats. Cats often lose their appetite and stop eating due to congestion and the sores in their mouths. However, since FCV is primarily a respiratory pathogen and appears to be less acid tolerant than HNV, its relevance as a surrogate for HNV has been questioned by some investigators ( 11 ). Recovering cats may spread the virus for many months. Once kittens reach six to eight weeks of age, they should receive a vaccine every three to four weeks, with the final booster being given after 16 weeks of age. Feline calicivirus can be spread through the air by droplets and droplet nuclei that are released when a cat sneezes. Feline calicivirus is a common cause of URD. Prevention Cats that develop FCV-VSD will have much more severe symptoms, including a high fever, swelling of the head and legs, as well as crusting sores and hair loss on the nose, eyes, ears and footpads. Incorrect negative results are more likely if the cat is swabbed more than a week after the start of the infection. The virus likely initially infects the lining of the back of the mouth. (Source), PetAirapy UV Disinfection Solutions for the Animal Care Industry. Commercial labs detect the presence of FCV in two ways: by growing the virus in cells in a petri dish, or through reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), a procedure that detects a segment of genetic material that is specific to calicivirus. A veterinarian will examine the cat for symptoms. Parker, associate professor of virology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health has worked with calicivirus for 15 years. By understanding this interaction, Parker hopes to identify an “Achilles heel” that will lead to the development of more effective vaccines. FELINE CALICIVIRUS Feline calicivirus is a highly contagious and common virus in cat populations worldwide. A drug that breaks down mucus, like bromhexine, also can help reduce congestion. Owners should provide strong-smelling, soft foods, which can be pureed to make them easier to swallow and heated slightly to increase their odor. Vaccination against the calicivirus is strongly advised. The American Association of Feline Practitioners publishes a detailed fact sheet from their advisory panel. Commercial testing cannot distinguish between mild strains of FCV and the more virulent strains that cause FCV-VSD. 2. Several combination vaccines against FCV, feline herpesvirus type 1 and feline panleukopenia virus (the cause of feline distemper) are available, which can be given nasally or as an injection. Vaccines against FCV are highly recommended. The virus poses no threat to humans. Meaning that despite infection, cats show no symptoms. The virus attacks the respiratory tract (nasal passages and lungs), the mouth (with ulceration of the tongue), the intestines and the musculoskeletal system. Feline calicivirus most often affects the lining of the mouth and the lungs. Supportive care can include keeping the nose and eyes clean and helping reduce congestion with vaporizers, saline nose drops, and drugs that break down mucus, like bromhexine. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists, on Long Island. Feline calicivirus (FCV), one such surrogate, survives well in the environment and is relatively resistant to chemical challenges (13, 14, 16, 28). Feline calicivirus (FCV) belongs to a large family of viruses named Caliciviridae, whose members infect a wide range of vertebrate animals, including rabbits, livestock, reptiles, birds and amphibians. Different strains of feline calicivirus cause different symptoms with varying severity including discharge from the eyes and nose, fever, sores in the mouth, loss of appetite, lethargy, and, in extreme cases, limping. More virulent strains can cause serious systemic illness and death. Cats that become carriers will continue to shed the virus in the home, even after they recover from the infection. Cats typically shed the virus for about two or three weeks after infection, but some cats become long-term carriers, and continue to shed the virus on and off for months. Fever can be lowered, and mouth pain reduced, with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Pets living within close proximity to cats suffering from eye discharge are more likely to become infected. Lab tests have also detected the virus in urine, feces and blood. Most cats recover completely, but some will go on to develop a chronic form of gingivitis that causes thick and inflamed gums, which makes eating painful. A vaccine called Calicivax™ is available that includes modified forms of a strain of FCV that causes FCV-VSD, and a typical strain of FCV. There are many strains of FCV with varying ability to infect cats and varying severity of disease. Parker is also looking into the finer details of how FCV gets inside feline cells, where it copies itself using the cell’s machinery. Fortunately, FCV can generally be managed successfully in both individual cats and populations through vaccines, disinfection, and isolation and supportive care for affected cats. Materials and methods 2.1. FCV-VSD is fatal in up to 60 percent of cats that develop the disease. ... Enclosures should be side by side rather than facing one another to prevent virus transmission via sneezing. Cleaning solutions that contain phenol, like Lysol, also are effective, but should not be used around cats because they cause irritation and are toxic. Feline calicivirus is highly infectious and fairly hardy. The virus mutates readily, leading to new strains that may not be fully covered by existing vaccines. Cats with low immunity also are very susceptible to catching the feline calicivirus. It spreads by direct contact with virus containing droplets from an infected cat and contaminated surfaces such as food and water bowls or bedding. Its symptoms include nasal discharge, gingivitis and mouth ulcers. Failing to wipe down counters or thoroughly wash feeding dishes could cause animals in your care to develop this nasty ailment. Feline Calicivirus Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a highly contagious virus in cats, and one of the main causes of respiratory infection. This vaccine may offer some protection against outbreaks of FCV-VSD, but since the virulent strains that cause these outbreaks arise from different mutations in less aggressive strains, it is unknown how effective Calicivax™ will be against future outbreaks. Vaccines do not protect against FCV entirely, but they can greatly reduce the severity of the infection if your cat is exposed. Feline calicivirus causes FCV, with the usual symptoms including: The feline calicivirus, not unlike most viruses, enters the host via contact with infected surfaces such as contaminated bowls, clothing, floors and bedding. Calicivirus has also been found in cats with lymphocytic-plasmacytic gingivitis and stomatitis (see Feline Stomatitis). If a cat develops FCV-VSD, it should receive intensive care, which could include IV fluids, antibiotics and other treatments as needed. However, FCV preferentially infects the lining of the mouth and the tissues within the lungs. If you have multiple cats and one or more are being treated for FCV, then you should quarantine the infected animals and clean food and water bowls, the litter box and other items that may be contaminated with the virus. Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a highly contagious virus in cats, and one of the main causes of respiratory infection. Because the virus is able to mutate and develop new strains, much like the human flu, vaccines are not always effective. Most cats recover completely after a calicivirus infection, but rare strains can be especially deadly. If an infected cat drinks from a watering dish or uses a litter box, and another cat comes in contact with these objects, he could easily contract feline calicivirus. Since the virus is present in ocular and nasal discharge, pet owners should ensure that pets are housed in individual units at boarding facilities to avoid contraction of viral or contagious diseases. The bacterial species Chlamydia felis and Mycoplasma felis also cause respiratory disease, and may complicate FCV infections. Most cats with feline calicivirus become silent carriers, shedding the virus continually. The virus spreads through direct contact with the saliva, nasal mucus and eye discharge of infected cats and through aerosol droplets that spread when cats sneeze. Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a virus that infects domestic cats, causing a range of flu-like symptoms. FCV occurs most commonly in multi-cat environments. After the virus replicates there, it likely spreads through the bloodstream to other organs. Keep the nose and eyes of the cat clean and use vaporizers and saline nose drops to help clear the nasal passages. Contact us about product information, pricing and a free consultation. In more severe cases, cats can also develop inflammation and ulcers on the tongue, and the lining of the mouth. Companion Animal Hospital in Ithaca, NY for cats, dogs, exotics, and wildlife, Equine and Nemo Farm Animal Hospitals in Ithaca, NY for horses and farm animals, Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists, on Long Island for every horse, Ambulatory and Production Medicine for service on farms within 30 miles of Ithaca, NY, Animal Health Diagnostic Center New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Ithaca, New York 14853-6401. The main route of transmission is through direct contact with infected cats or carriers, as it is transported in saliva and feces, although in small amounts. Proper sanitation is critical in keeping your animals healthy. It is especially common in shelters and breeding colonies, and often infects young cats. Contact with contaminated objects. All felids are apparently susceptible to feline calicivirus infection. However, since FCV is primarily a respiratory pathogen and appears to be less acid tolerant than HNV, its relevance as a surrogate for HNV has been questioned by some investigators . Cornell University and the Baker Institute are closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Objects that come in contact with a cat’s bodily fluids, such as food bowls, litter boxes or bedding, can also be a source of infection. A cat’s risk of exposure is higher in shelters, pet stores, and catteries, where 25 to 40 percent of cats may be carriers. Studies in his lab have shown that these viruses can’t be identified based on their genetics, but there are detectable differences among the strains when they grow in cells in the lab. It is speculated that the virus may also be shed in urine or feces, but this is not considered to be a major source of infection. The virus is readily transmitted between cats through: Direct contact – through contact with saliva, ocular or nasal secretions Inhalation of sneeze droplets For more information and details for both pet care facilities and pet parents on how best to prevent the spread of infectious disease, visit our kennel cough page. Ask about air and surface sanitation protocols used to help stop or control the spread of FCV and other illnesses. What are the symptoms of feline calicivirus. Calicivirus (FCV) is a common viral infection found in cats that is characterised by the presence of flu-like symptoms such as upper respiratory infection. Elderly cats and young kittens are more likely to suffer more severe symptoms. Vaccination does not prevent infection but reduces severity of infection. However, if multiple cats are infected or the cats are housed with others, the veterinarian may take swabs from the eyes, nose or mouth. Feline Calicivirus • Definition • Feline calicivirus (FCV) is a highly contagious, Upper respiratory and oral disease of cats which are characterized by rhinitis, conjunctivitis, lacrimation, … Transmission and Spread of Feline Calicivirus Infection Infection is attained by ingestion or inhalation of infectious virus present in saliva and excretion or secretions from infected cats . Currently there is no treatment to stop the virus, but pet owners can offer supportive care for their cat while its immune system fights the infection. Further, because congestion and mouth sores may cause loss of appetite, strong-smelling, soft foods can be pureed to make them easier to eat and slightly heated to increase their odor. An acute febrile response, inappetence, and depression are common signs. A dilute bleach solution made up of one half cup of bleach per gallon of water is effective at killing the virus. In most cases, there is no need to make a definite diagnosis, as these infections are common and will resolve with supportive treatment. These investigations into FCV not only give us a better understanding of this common feline infection, but can also help advance the study of similar caliciviruses, such as human norovirus. Tests and diagnosis Fomite transmission is another very common means of spread for Calicivirus. This infec… Contact us to learn more about results achieved by. During the course of the illness, opportunistic bacterial infections can also occur. Calicivirus is highly contagious and infected cats can shed the virus in saliva or secretions from the nose or eyes. At first the cat will have symptoms that look like a cold, with sneezing, nasal congestion, fever and sometimes drooling. PetAirapy’s UV technology has been designed and tested to quickly deliver high disinfection rates of feline calicivirus and other microorganisms that spread infection in animal care facilities. FCV is a hardy virus that survives on surfaces for up to a month in certain environments. While most of the droplets fall to the ground, contaminating the surface on which it lands, the virus can also survive on tiny dust particles or dander and survive for hours traveling throughout your facility until inhaled by another host. Importance of Disinfection: Survival of Feline Calicivirus on Surfaces and Potential for Transmission via Fomites. Most cats develop an upper respiratory tract infection and in more severe cases, the virus travels into the lungs where it causes pneumonia. Cats may lose weight, and the infection can also cause abortions in pregnant cats. Owners may wish to remove other cats from the home during this period to prevent exposure. The vaccines given nasally contain a modified live form of the virus, while injected vaccines can be modified live viruses or inactivated ones. Bacterial and viral strains and standardization of the inoculum Contact us to learn more about results achieved by PetAirapy UV systems in one air pass and why our UV products should be part of your infection control strategy. Most cats can recover at home, but severely affected cats may need intensive nursing care. If cats have not eaten for more than three days, they may need hospitalization to receive fluids and IV nutrition. Pet care facilities should have air purification systems and surface disinfection protocols in place. Transmission of Feline Calicivirus. Pet owners should always bring their cat to see the veterinarian if it shows signs of respiratory disease. The clinical course usually is 7–10 days. Like FHV-1, the oral route of infection is the most important, and direct contact with infected cats or virus-contaminated fomites is the primary method of transmission rather than aerosolized particulates. A severe form called virulent systemic feline calicivirus (VS-FCV) has been found in shelters or in environments where many cats are housed together. Both tests are equally effective, though the RT-PCR test may be more common in some areas, as part of a panel that tests for several organisms that cause respiratory disease. Feline Calicivirus(FCV) infection is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system in cats. The mouth and ears may turn yellowish from liver damage, and there may be bleeding under the skin and in the gastrointestinal tract. 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