Like the calicivirus, the feline coronavirus is very contagious and potentially serious if your kitten relapses, since other diseases and complications incompatible with its life could surface. Therefore, once again we must emphasize the importance of vaccination and adequate hygiene measures to prevent your cat from contracting the disease.
Have sandboxes for exclusive use for each of your pets and avoid contact between them if one of them has been infected . Do you want to know how long the feline coronavirus lasts, what are its symptoms and how to treat it? Let’s go there.
You may also be interested in: What is feline calicivirus?
Feline coronavirus What is it and how does it manifest?
It is a virus that is not very resistant to high temperatures and certain disinfectants, but it mutates very easily. In fact, the same cat can relapse after a certain time, once its immunity to the disease has been overcome , with its own feces and show aggravated and incurable symptoms. We refer to feline infectious peritonitis.
The feline enteric coronavirus owes its name to the crown-shaped projections that it has in its external appearance, under a microscopic view. It affects the epithelial cells of the cat’s intestine causing mild and chronic gastroenteritis , a situation that is lethal for cats under one year of age due to the severe dehydration it generates.
Apart from puppies, elderly cats, those immunosuppressed by the presence of leukemia or immunodeficiency and those living in large colonies are the main risk groups. However, even if your cat does not belong to these profiles, if it has contact with the outside, it could be infected.
Symptoms of feline enteric coronavirus
The most characteristic manifestation of the coronavirus are vomiting, apathy and lack of appetite. However, some cats are resistant to the virus and can act as carriers without showing any discomfort.
At present, it is studying what genetic conditions are those that determine that some cats get sick and others do not. In the case of pregnant and infected cats, it should be noted that the virus does not cross the placenta nor does it reach breast milk once lactation has been established.
Humans are immune to this virus, although we can contribute to its spread through our clothing and shoes. Hence the need to dispose of these garments after contact with a cat sick with coronavirus. The major vehicles of transmission are the feces of the infected cat, its urine and the waters infected by its saliva.
Feline infectious peritonis
As we say, it may seem that the coronavirus itself does not constitute a particularly severe pathology. However, given its enormous capacity for mutation, a high percentage of affected kittens relapse if the proper cleaning precautions are not taken.
Infectious peritonitis and enteritis are mutations of the coronavirus that induce other pathologies by compromising the correct functioning of vital organs. Peritonitis is very aggressive and can be somatized in a dry or wet way . It begins with anorexia and anemia to aggravate damaging the liver, kidneys and nervous system.
Dry infectious peritonitis
This variant affects, above all, adult specimens and is characterized by its systemic damage to the body of the pussycat. Symptoms include weight loss, fever , anemia, viscera irregularities, and pneumonia with a persistent cough. However, neurological and ocular injuries are its most outstanding identifier .
Thus, neurological damage includes posterior paralysis and difficulty in limb coordination that progresses to total limb paralysis. Ocular damage, on the other hand, includes uveitis, corneal edema and hyphema, or what is the same, the accumulation of blood in the iris.
Infectious dry peritonitis has a longer clinical course than wet peritonitis, but few cats survive one year after the onset of the disease.
Wet feline infectious peritonitis
This is the most devastating variant, as the survival time is generally set at 5-7 weeks from the first symptoms. In this case, there is an accumulation of fluid, rich in proteins, in the peritoneum and in the pleura, showing the cat an unmistakable bulge in the abdomen . This variant is more prevalent in young cats.
As the pathology progresses in time, inflammation of other organs takes place (liver, kidneys and lymphatic system, mainly), which causes jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, persistent lacrimation, nasal congestion, as well as enlarged kidneys and lymph nodes .
What is the indicated treatment for feline coronavirus?
As it is a viral disease, its treatment is aimed at alleviating the symptoms and preventing complications. In this sense, your vet will prescribe antivirals, antibiotics and corticosteroids to reverse the inflammation.
In turn, a saline and glucose solution can be prescribed to counteract the loss of fluids in your pet, derived from vomiting. Vitamin and mineral-rich supplements will help strengthen your cat’s defenses.
First of all, they foresee
As preventive measures, you should take extreme care of the cleanliness of your cat and the space it shares. Disinfect their belongings and avoid their contact with other cats , if you have several at home. Remember that, on occasions, remains of dry stool can adhere to his tail or perineum after episodes of diarrhea. You will have to get rid of these remains.
From 6 months of age your cat is ready to receive its vaccinations and annual memories. Go to the vet regularly, every 6 months or at least once a year, for routine checkups, as well as if you notice anything unusual. Detecting the first signs as soon as they occur can save your cat’s life. Keep that in mind.
How long does the feline coronavirus last?
Infected and treated cats can show, after receiving their appropriate treatment prescribed by a veterinarian, improvement from the second week of treatment. Although that does not mean that it is cured, since the virus itself can last for several months in your stool, litter box, etc….
Following the prescribed treatment completely will allow our cat to pass this disease in a few weeks, but we must completely disinfect our home to prevent it from relapsing. Thus eliminating any rest of the virus.