Our humanity cannot do without our smaller brothers, like cats. Cats are beautiful and kind animals but at the same moment, they can carry the coronavirus. I want to warn you right away that it is not transmitted to people, and we should not be afraid of it. But every loving owner should know about coronavirus infection in cats.
Let’s look at what happens to feline coronavirus, its symptoms, therapy, and whether there is a vaccine. Firstly, of all infectious diseases, it is this virus that has been less studied than ever since it can mutate and behave extraordinarily, confusing all scientists. It is essential to know that if you choose a cat in shelters where there are a lot of them, then there is a chance that they can get sick, so when choosing, make sure that the animal is healthy. Sometimes it happens that feline coronavirus is transmitted from mother to kittens. All cats lick each other, which is why one of the reasons for the transmission of the virus is the oral-fecal pathway.
Most often, with such a disease, a cat can tolerate the following properties.
- Intestinal upset (diarrhea, soft stool, possibly with mucus and an admixture of blood), this means that the cells of the small intestine are affected.
- Lost weight dramatically.
- They lose their appetite, react poorly to odors, and refuse to eat.
- Constantly in hibernation.
Types of Feline Coronavirus
It is worth paying attention to if your cat only picked up the virus, then it will appear weakly, without any signs. At the next stage, you can notice that the cat has a weakened immunity, this is because lamblia and coccidia have entered the stomach, they can cause diarrhea with blood, that is, they damage intestinal cells.
It is worth noting that throughout life, our pets can get coronavirus and without symptoms, and eventually die from another because the virus has a mild form.
It’s okay if the cat suffered a simple form of coronavirus, but the worst thing is that the virus can mutate. The most dangerous is the FIP virus – FCoV. It is he who causes death. If your cat had a common coronavirus, then it can mutate in a more severe form of the virus, this is because the cat was in a stressful situation, based on this, infections gradually kill immunity. It is FCoV that kills the gastric mucosa, which is a protective mechanism, after which the bacterium gains access to the formed blood elements (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets). Later it begins to accumulate in the blood vessels, removes proteins, and forms a fluid that is found throughout the body. This form of the virus is called “wet” due to fluid buildup. He second form is called “dry,” this is because the virus accumulates in the internal organs and does not enter the blood. If you want to find out if your animal has a virus, do a test in the laboratory; there, he will show the stage of infection if the test is positive.
Tests and diagnostics for coronavirus
You found the symptoms in your cat, which we pointed out above, what to do? Do not drag out for a long time and consult your veterinarian. In the clinic for animals, several diagnostics will be carried out.
- You should have a blood test for the virus.
- Also, feces will be taken from a cat to check for infection.
- Be sure to do an ultrasound of the intestine and internal organs.
Now you know what tests you need to pass. After you have done the tests, the result came to you; the doctor will be able to tell you precisely whether your cat has the disease, how the stage is, and what needs to be treated. But if in doubt, retake the test, as sometimes the test can give an erroneous result, do not immediately get nervous.
Diagnosis of coronavirus infection is not difficult – to pass feces or scrapings from the rectum by PCR or to ELISA if antibodies are found in the blood. But the diagnosis of infectious peritonitis is difficult because even a high titer of antibodies to coronavirus does not say with 100% accuracy that this is FIP.
Only immunohistochemical testing can be called reliable in the detection of FIP in organs. Due to the impossibility of making such an analysis, the doctor makes a diagnosis of FIP based on an examination, medical history, and other related tests.
Feline Coronavirus Treatment
FIP is not treated (treatment has not been developed at the moment) and in 99% causes the death of the animal. There are also no drugs that could prevent the mutation of the virus.
Immunomodulators, in this case, can make it worse, since the virus is fighting against its cells, increasing their number, we can cause an aggravation of the disease. Therefore, at the moment, doctors, faced with FIP, use, on the contrary, immunosuppression in the form of hormonal therapy – prednisone.
Coronavirus Prevention in Cats
- Until the tests pass, we advise you not to let the cat go outside.
- Buy new food bowls and make sure other cats do not eat from it.
- Be sure to wash your hands in contact with the animal.
- Do not mate cats in any way.
If you adhere to such recommendations, then the likelihood that the disease will progress is minimal.
When infected with a virus, one of the most important factors is the creation of good immunity – proper nutrition, avoiding stressful situations (moving/guests, and other cases when your cat suffers from stress).
Monitoring and treatment of concomitant diseases, treatment of fleas, the use of medicines for worms, the least number of contacts with other cats, maintaining cleanliness and order are not only the prevention of coronavirus but also the possible formation of FIP.
If you check the PCR for coronavirus (feces) in a cat every month, and this gives a positive result, it just means that the cat secretes the virus (if there are no symptoms), and not the fact of the disease.
There is no vaccine against feline coronavirus. And if there is, then this is just a fiction.
There are vaccines for dogs, but they do not work on cats. Even excessive use of immunomodulators can harm the body and ultimately kill your immunity in the cat.
That is, the vaccine is not a panacea. This is not a cure. If your cat is already sick, then this vaccine will not help him. The vaccine is used during periods of the epidemic (to stop the spread due to antibodies). The vaccine (if that were the case) could be used at the very beginning when you understand that you have encountered or may be facing an infection, but your cat is still healthy.
WSVA coronavirus vaccination is not recommended; the vaccine has not yet been recognized as valid. And, if in the case of treatment of a kitten that has never met the virus, vaccination can work, then if there was already an infection and at the moment the infected animal (the course may be asymptomatic) can aggravate the progression of the disease.
Popular questions and answers
No, even if you kiss your cat, don’t get infected. But if you keep in touch with coronavirus-infected animals all the time, you can bring some saliva and feces on your shoes to your domestic cats and infect them, and this risk is 1%.
Therefore, do not throw the cat in the trash, if he suddenly sneezed at you. It is necessary to treat and love.
From cats to dogs and from dogs to cats, the coronavirus is also not transmitted, just as a dog vaccine does not help cats in case of illness. Speaking scientifically, the different genesis of the virus. As in the case of the Chinese human coronavirus, the virus has one name, but for each living organism, it is different, just like feline AIDS and AIDS in humans.
They need to be treated at home. The worst thing with feline coronavirus is stress. It is against the background of stress in cats that immunity falls, and an exacerbation of the disease occurs.
Therefore, the best of all options is to create a calm home atmosphere for the cat, raise immunity to it with vitamins, and cure gastrointestinal upset and concurrent infections with antiprotozoal and antimicrobial drugs.