Are cats responsible for the flu in your house? If not, which are the main culprits behind the spread of illness in your home?
We know that dogs can get infected with the dreaded cat herpes (HHV-8., but what about calicivirus, which is another contagious disease found in cats? The short answer is, not really. In a nutshell, calicivirus has been linked to “cat flu” and can cause severe inflammation of the stomach lining in some animals. However, it’s not the type of disease that causes “cat flu” or other serious illnesses in humans.
Some cats have been known to carry a serious illness called feline calicivirus. This illness is typically transmitted from cat to cat through a bite or scratch wound.
What is feline calicivirus?
One of the most common viruses that causes upper respiratory infections and oral sickness in cats is feline calicivirus. Both domestic and exotic cat species are infected by this virus, which can cause a wide range of illnesses. Cats can get respiratory sickness from a variety of viruses and bacteria, but calicivirus is one of the most commonly found pathogens in cats who have a respiratory infection. “Feline Upper Respiratory Infection” has information on various infectious agents that can cause an upper respiratory infection in cats.
What are the clinical signs of a calicivirus infection?
Sneezing, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membranes lining the eyelids), and discharge from the nose or eyes are all symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Depending on the source, the discharge may be crystal clear or become yellow/green. Cats with a calicivirus infection commonly develop ulcers on the tongue, hard palate, gums, lips, or nose in addition to these normal symptoms. The ulcers in these cats are extremely painful, and as a result, they frequently exhibit excessive salivation or drooling. As well as squinting and anorexia, other non-specific symptoms of an upper respiratory infection include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.
Infected kittens are more likely to experience abrupt, painful lameness in one or more joints due to certain calicivirus strains. A particular type of feline calicivirus, despite its rarity, can cause a wide range of serious and debilitating illnesses. It starts with a runny nose and eyes but soon progresses to high fevers, severe depressive episodes, limb and/or facial edema, jaundice and signs of multiple organ illness in the infected cat. This strain is extremely contagious, with a fatality rate as high as 67%.
Diagnosing Calicivirus in Cats
Calicivirus is often diagnosed by examining the patient’s symptoms. In order to diagnose your cat’s ailment, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough history and physical examination.
The identification of calicivirus is not always necessary before therapy may begin. However, a precise diagnosis might be useful in some cases. An example of this is when an infection spreads to numerous cats in the same home. There are other cats that are used to breed.
A swab from the eye, nose, or mouth would be collected by a veterinarian and sent to a diagnostic lab for viral detection. There are two ways to tell if a virus has infected your computer:
Viral DNA can be detected using a molecular test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Petri plate culture of the virus.
False positive results are conceivable even with these precise techniques of testing. Cats who have been exposed to the virus in their surroundings before would likely test positive, although they may not be sick as a result of the infection.
X-rays can help rule out alternative possibilities for lameness in cats suspected of being caused by FCV, such as trauma.
It is possible to identify a cat’s chronic respiratory complaints using chest X-rays, bloodwork, and an examination of eye and nose discharge.
How to Treat Calicivirus in Cats
In treating cats with calicivirus, the focus is on symptom relief rather than eradicating the virus.
There is good news for cats sick with calicivirus, since many of them recover completely. However, there is a catch. Carriers of the virus can be found in cats that have been vaccinated and are no longer infected.
Approximately 50% of cats become carriers, either temporarily or for the remainder of their life, after they have recovered from their illness. Carriers can sporadically shed the virus, making them a source of infection for other cats in the home or neighborhood.
Calicivirus symptoms can be treated with a variety of drugs.
Secondary bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.
To boost hunger, use appetite stimulants.
Nasal congestion can be alleviated by using saline nose drops.
Oral pain relief using anti-inflammatory drugs.
Cats afflicted with calicivirus should also get supportive treatment. These are some examples:
Using a tissue to remove the discharge from the nose and eyes.
Increasing the caloric content of the diet to make it more appetizing.
Nasal and respiratory congestion can be alleviated with the help of environmental humidification (such as steam from a hot shower).
Cats with FCV-VSD require intensive therapy, such as intravenous hydration, in order to recover. Cats infected with FCV-VSD have a 70 percent chance of dying despite therapy.
Anti-inflammatories can help alleviate joint pain in cats with FCV-related lameness.
Cats that are infected with calicivirus should be isolated while they are receiving therapy. Add 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water to the sick cat’s possessions (toys, bedding, litter box, food, and water bowls). Lysol should never be used around cats due to its toxicity.
Treatment prices for the calicivirus virus in cats can range from $300 to $400, depending on the veterinarian and geographic region. Hospitalization and extensive care for an infected person might greatly increase the expense.
How does a cat get a calicivirus infection?
Infected cats can spread calicivirus through their saliva, nasal secretions, or eye or eyelid secretions. A cat’s sneeze can send virus particles flying up to a few meters in the air. However, it is possible that the virus can also be transmitted by the transmission of urine or feces.
In a polluted environment, the virus can persist for up to a week (and possibly longer in a cool, damp location). It is possible for a cat to become infected via direct contact with an infected cat or by exposure to contaminated materials in the environment. People who have come into contact with contaminated things or a cat afflicted with the virus can infect other cats.
Cats of all ages can become infected with calicivirus, although kittens’ symptoms are more severe.
How long does a typical calicivirus infection last?
The incubation period for calicivirus in cats is 2-6 days before any clinical indications appear, and the illness usually lasts 14-21 days. During this period, the cat is at risk of transmitting a contagious disease to other animals. Two to three weeks after infection, infected cats’ body fluids will shed the virus.
One in five cats afflicted with feline leukemia will remain in a carrier condition even after they appear to be completely recovered from the disease. The carrier status may only last a few months in some of these cats, but it may last for the rest of their lives in a tiny number of them. Calicivirus-carrying cats may or may not display any visible indications of infection while doing their job of spreading the disease to other cats. It is possible for female cats that are infected with this virus to pass it on to their kittens.
How is a calicivirus infection diagnosed?
As a rule of thumb, a calicivirus infection is diagnosed based on the distinctive clinical indications, especially if ulcers are present. Breeding animals or a cat with an illness that isn’t responding well to therapy may benefit from a confirmed identification of the virus.
Samples from the mouth, nose, or eyes can be used to collect cells and discharges, which can then be sent to a lab for testing. This testing may include viral isolation, polymerase chain reaction identification, or immune-histochemical staining. If the infection has migrated to the lungs, a transtracheal wash may be used to collect samples for testing. X-rays may be advised to rule out other possible reasons, such as an injury, if a cat exhibits sudden indications of lameness. Cats with chronic respiratory problems may require further diagnostic testing, such as chest or skull X-rays, blood tests, or culture and sensitivity testing of aberrant discharges, to determine the cause of the problem.
How is a calicivirus infection treated?
Calicivirus infection can be treated symptomatically at home for the majority of cats that have a simple case. To treat a purulent (green/yellow) eye discharge, your veterinarian may prescribe an eye medicine that is administered topically. In order to avoid subsequent bacterial infections worsening the condition, particularly in kittens, wide range antibacterial medications (e.g., amoxicillin-clavulanic acid combination, trade name Clavamox®) may be recommended even if viral infections do not respond to these treatments.
Your veterinarian can offer a one-time injection of anti-inflammatory medicine to alleviate your dog’s lameness symptoms. Treatments that boost the immune system may be helpful for cats with chronic ulcers.
Nebulization and Coupage in Cats: Techniques for Nebulization and Coupage in Cats A wet tissue can be used to remove discharges from a cat’s face or eyes, which can help reduce the cat’s discomfort. The diminished sense of smell in cats with respiratory infections contributes to their lack of appetite, which can be alleviated by feeding them a mildly warmed, very appetizing canned food. An appetite stimulant may be administered in specific instances.
Hospitalization for more intense care, including as intravenous fluids and other supportive therapies, may be recommended by your veterinarian if your cat is severely unwell or dehydrated.
How can calicivirus infections be prevented?
It might be tough to keep your cat safe from calicivirus because it is such a contagious disease that even healthy cats can carry it. Cats can be exposed to calicivirus at boarding facilities, humane societies, animal shelters, and cat exhibits.
The risk of your cat contracting an illness is substantially reduced if it does not come into close touch with other cats. As an additional precaution, washing your hands properly before and after handling another cat can help prevent the transfer of the disease to your kitty.
Objects like brushes, food dishes, litter boxes, and blankets that have been contaminated with infectious secretions can infect a cat that is susceptible to an illness. Disinfect calicivirus-infected items by immersing them for at least 10-15 minutes in a bleach and water solution (1 part bleach to 32 parts water).
As part of the routine core immunizations given to cats, calicivirus immunization is included, which can help lower sickness severity and shorten its duration. Between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks, kittens need at least one more dosage of this vaccination. Booster doses will be required for the vaccination for the next 1-3 years after the initial series.
A booster vaccination is especially vital before your cat is placed in a high-risk setting, such as being boarded or groomed or attending to a cat exhibition or being exposed to calicivirus-carrying cats. Your veterinarian will tell you how often your cat should be vaccinated.
Are other cats in the household at risk of infection?
During the incubation period and for at least three weeks following the onset of symptoms, a cat with a calicivirus infection is contagious. It’s possible for a cat to be a calicivirus carrier at all times. An unvaccinated cat is more likely to get a severe illness if it is young, unwell, or otherwise vulnerable. Adult cats over the age of three or cats that have had enough vaccinations are less likely to be seriously ill from most calicivirus strains and may recover on their own.
In order to prevent the spread of calicivirus or any other infectious condition, it is always best to separate a new cat from the rest of your home for at least 1-2 weeks.
Can Dogs Get Respiratory Infections From Cats?
People may assume it is dog-borne because kennels are common sources of respiratory illnesses and kennel cough. Cats, on the other hand, can transmit the disease to dogs. Continue reading to learn more about the signs and symptoms, the spread of the illness, and the available treatments.
Does My Dog Have A Respiratory Infection?
If your dog develops kennel cough, you should be on the lookout for numerous telltale symptoms. Your dog’s coughing up a lot of dry mucus? Is your dog always choking? Is there any nasal discharge visible? Are symptoms worsened if your dog exercises or if you tug at his or her leash? The appetite and energy levels of your dog have dwindled recently. It’s possible that all of these are signs that your dog has kennel cough.
Kennel cough is caused by a virus, but how can your cat spread the disease? The Parainfluenza virus and the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium are the two most prevalent causal agents of kennel cough. Direct contact with infected animals or items, such as your cat, can transfer these viral and bacterial agents. kennels, animal shelters, dog spas, dog parks, and other boarding facilities are the most common sources of kennel cough. Your veterinarian will perform a physical check and listen to the lungs and coughing to determine if your pet has a respiratory illness. As well as fever and nasal discharge, they’ll be on the lookout for these symptoms. They’ll want to go over their history with you to figure out when they were exposed. Check out our guide on Parainfluenza Virus Infection in Dogs for more information on respiratory illnesses.
In conclusion, The best and easiest way to prevent your dog from catching calicivirus is to vaccinate them regularly and also to not allow other dogs into their home when one of your pet is sick. Vaccines are effective in protecting against many diseases and conditions that can be spread by contact, such as calicivirus. There is no cure for calicivirus so there is no known way to prevent it.