coronavirus in cats

feline coronavirus | coronavirus in cats
Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Mar 05 2020

Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is a virus that infects the intestines and is shed in the feces. It is very common in cats, with eighty to ninety percent of cats in multi-cat households being infected.

It is not the same as the novel coronavirus COVID-19 which affects humans.

How can I tell if my cat has coronavirus? 

Typically, cats infected with feline coronavirus are asymptomatic or have mild, self-limiting diarrhea.

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How is feline coronavirus transmitted?

Transmission of feline coronavirus occurs through the fecal-oral route; a commonplace to pick this virus up is in a shared litter box. Some cats with feline coronavirus will shed the virus in feces for a few months, but up to ten percent of cats will continue to shed the virus forever.

Sadly, in some cats, mutations in the virus occur causing it to morph into a terminal disease called feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

Is my cat at risk?

While the thought of having a cat test positive for feline coronavirus is a scary thing, the odds are in your favor.

Feline coronavirus antibodies are found in ninety percent of cats in catteries and multi-cat households. They are also found in up to fifty percent of cats in single cat households.

Fortunately, only five to ten percent of cats affected with feline coronavirus will develop FIP.

While any cat can develop FIP, a few breeds seem to be overrepresented. These are the Abyssinian, Bengal, Birman, Himalayan, Ragdoll, and Rex breeds.

For more information on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and pets, visit our COVID-19 resource center

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