Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
Feline calicivirus (FCV) belongs to the family Caliciviridae. It is a highly infectious pathogen of cats with a widespread distribution in the feline population. The virus typically causes moderate, self-limiting acute oral and upper respiratory tract disease. It is the most common cause of upper respiratory infection in cats together with FHV. There is a high variability between different serotypes of the virus.
Sample: Oropharyngeal swab, 0,5 ml EDTA-blood
Modes of transmission
Feline calicivirus can be spread by nasal, oral and conjunctival routes. The virus replicates in oral cavity and respiratory tract tissues. Most cats shed FCV in oropharyngeal secretions for 30 days after infection, but there are cases of longer shedding the virus.
Oral and upper respiratory tract disease – the most characteristic lesion is oral ulceration. Healing generally takes place over a period of two to three weeks. Cats show varying degrees pyrexia. Pulmonary lesions occur more rarely and can lead to areas of acute exudative pneumonia and then to the development of a proliferative, interstitial pneumonia.
Lesions seen in joints of cats with Feline calicivirus associated lameness consist of an acute synovitis with thickening of the synovial membrane and an increase in quantity of synovial fluid within the joint.
FCV-associated virulent systemic disease – symptoms include fever, cutaneous edema, ulcerative dermatitis, anorexia and icterus. Necrosis in the liver, spleen and pancreas, and bronhointerstitial pneumonia can also be observed. This form of infection has a high mortality rate.
Treatment for Feline calicivirus is symptomatic. Broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment is generally recommended in cases of more severe FCV-associated oral and respiratory disease to minimize potential complications associated with secondary bacterial infection. The cat should be encouraged to eat by offering strongly-flavored aromatic foods. If eating is painful, liquidized or specialized proprietary foods may be of some help.
Recommended vaccination schedules tend to be of the “traditional” type with a primary course at 8–9 and 12 weeks followed by annual boosters. Vaccines are effective at reducing or preventing classical oral/respiratory disease, but do not protect against infection or the development of the carrier state. Hygiene is very important in managing Feline calicivirus infection.
Feline calicivirus infection is widespread in the general cat population. The prevalence is generally broadly proportional to the number of cats in the household. Privately owned pet cats kept in small numbers generally have relatively low prevalence (∼ 10%). In contrast, random cats living in colonies or shelters usually have a higher chance of being infected (∼ 25%–40%). in some colonies prevalence values of 50–90% have been found.