Cats, especially those that are not vaccinated and / or have a weak immune system, can end up suffering from a disease at any time. One of the most common is what is known by the name of feline calicivirus , which is a type of cat flu.
Caused by a virus, it is very contagious, and the worst thing is that today there is still no definitive cure. But yes prevention. Next we will tell you everything about him.
What is feline calicivirus?
As we anticipated, feline calicivirus is a viral disease that affects cats. It is caused by a Vesivirus, which belongs to the Caliciviridae family. It is very contagious , almost as much – or the same – as the cold that humans sometimes have, since the virus passes from one animal to another through the air that accompanies sneezes, tears and, also, nasal secretions .
In addition, it must be taken into account that it mutates easily , so that the same strain adapts and changes depending on the conditions of the environment in which it is found to the point that even vaccinated felines can contract it. This is rather rare, but it does not mean that it does not happen.
Which cats are the most vulnerable?
Basically, the most vulnerable cats are those that are not vaccinated, have a weak immune system, go outside and / or live in shelters or animal protection centers .
Those who live at home without permission to go abroad, and receive the necessary vaccinations, are quite protected.
How is it spread?
The routes of contagion are three:
- Direct contact: if a healthy cat comes into contact with the fluids of a sick one, it can be infected.
- Indirect contact: for example, if the healthy cat uses the same feeders, drinkers, etc. than the sick cat.
- Contact with a carrier cat: the cat can transmit the virus to her kittens if she is a carrier.
It is not contagious to humans , but it is important to follow basic hygiene measures out of common sense, especially if we have more than one cat, such as washing hands before and after touching the sick person, ensuring that healthy cats do not come into contact with sick and vaccinated, and make sure cat accessories and beds are cleaned daily.
Does it have a cure?
No . What does usually happen is that cats that stop having symptoms become carriers, and as we have seen, if they have contact with other healthy felines they can infect them.
In any case, the best thing is always prevention. Keeping vaccines up to date can avoid problems for us, and for our furry ones.
What are the symptoms of feline calicivirus?
The main ones are the following:
- Mouth and nose sores
- Nasal and eye discharge
- Loss of appetite
These appear after 2-10 days of infection , and usually last an average of four weeks. Sick cats that recover will no longer be able to infect others after 75-80 days after they have healed, but there are others (representing more or less 20% of the total) that will become carriers.
Apart from these signs, in recent years a more dangerous strain called FCV-VS has been discovered, and it is called systematic virulent feline calicivirus, whose symptoms are, in addition to those mentioned, these:
- Hair loss
- Jaundice or yellow skin
- Ulcers on the pads, nose, mouth and ears
How is it treated?
If we suspect that our cats have calicivirus, we have to take them to the vet where they will do a series of tests (physical examination, analysis) and, if the diagnosis is confirmed, they will administer antibiotics . In addition, they may need other medications to help them breathe, as well as others to stop a runny nose and / or eye.
At home it will be highly advisable to give them moist food to stimulate their appetite, since this type of food is easier to eat and more fragrant. But if they have reached the point where they do not want to eat anything, the professional will keep them hospitalized to give them food and medications intravenously.
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