Coronavirus is a term used to describe infections caused by different strains of the virus, but different animal species are affected by different types of coronaviruses. It’s important to know which coronaviruses your cat gets and what you can do to keep your cat safe.
Is feline coronavirus contagious to humans (or vice versa)?
Feline coronaviruses are different from coronaviruses that cause respiratory problems in humans. These are different strains of the virus, and there is still much unknown about whether cats may or may not be affected by the human respiratory coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, formerly known as 2019-nCoV that causes COVID-19). In April 2020, leading veterinary laboratory IDEXX reported that it had tested more than 5,000 samples from cats, dogs and horses with respiratory symptoms for COVID-19 in 17 countries, but found no positive results . IDEXX concluded that this suggests that dogs and cats living with infected people are generally not infected, except in rare and isolated cases.
Cats can be susceptible to COVID-19 infection from pet owners, but the few cats who test positive have no symptoms or show mild symptoms.There is also no evidence that cats can transmit the disease to humans, only to other cats, and it is usually very rare for cats to test positive. There is still a lot to learn about this virus and its effects on cats and other pets, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does recommend that if you have COVID-19, avoid or limit contact with your pets until More information about this virus.
COVID-19 and animals
Although there have been some documented cases of animals testing positive for COVID-19, the virus does not appear to have had a significant impact on animals. The risk of animals transmitting COVID-19 to humans is considered low.
- Tigers and lions in New York, April 2020
- Two domestic cats in New York, April 2020
- A Dog in North Carolina, April/May 2020
- Two dogs in Hong Kong, March 2020
- A cat in Belgium, March 2020
- Two mink farms in the Netherlands, April 2020
- Two domestic cats in France, May 2020
- A domestic cat in Spain, May 2020
- A domestic cat in Germany, May 2020
- A dog and a cat in the Netherlands, May 2020
- A cat in Russia, May 2020
Some of these animals did get sick. Most people are thought to have contracted the virus from an infected person. To date, there is no evidence that animals can transmit COVID19 to humans.
What is feline coronavirus?
Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is a viral disease that causes diarrhea in cats, but can also cause a more serious disease called feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).Feline coronavirus is a worrying virus due to the risk of developing FIP.
Signs of feline coronavirus
- Difficulty breathing
- lose weight
- loss of appetite
- yellowing of the skin and/or eyes
- increased thirst
- increased urination
Feline coronavirus can occasionally cause severe diarrhea in cats, but it is usually a very mild form if not the strain associated with FIP.
However, symptoms were more severe in cats with the feline coronavirus strain that causes FIP.Decreased activity and appetite are not uncommon in any cat who is not feeling well, and if left untreated, cats with coronavirus may begin to lose weight and vomit. FIP can cause fluid to build up in the abdomen and chest, so if the coronavirus causes the wet form of the disease, cats will have a swollen abdomen or may have trouble breathing. Finally, if FIP from the coronavirus causes organ damage, yellowing of the skin and eyes may occur if the liver is affected, and increased thirst and urination may occur if the kidneys are damaged.
Causes of Feline Coronavirus
Different species of feline coronavirus can cause the disease in cats, and researchers are uncertain about the exact route of transmission. They know it spreads between cats, but the transmission can be through feces, saliva or even urine, making it highly contagious among cats.
Diagnosing coronavirus in cats
Following a complete medical history and a physical examination of your cat by a veterinarian, a stool sample will be collected to screen for parasites, bacterial and toxin overgrowth, and other microscopic causes of diarrhea.
Blood tests and x-rays may also be done if the disease is severe enough to rule out other diseases or to look for changes that may indicate that the cat has FIP. If the FIP form of the coronavirus is suspected and there is excess fluid in the cat’s abdomen or chest, a fluid sample can also be obtained for special testing for FIP.Overall, a definitive diagnosis of coronavirus is difficult due to inaccurate test results and the inability to distinguish between different coronavirus strains that cause or do not cause FIP. Therefore, the diagnosis is usually made based on the cat’s symptoms.
Treatment of Feline Coronavirus
The coronavirus that causes diarrhea can be treated simply symptomatically with drugs and supplements to harden stools, but the coronavirus that causes FIP cannot be easily treated. There is no cure for FIP, so symptoms will be controlled as long as the cat’s quality of life remains good.
How to Prevent Coronavirus in Cats
Since the coronavirus in cats is highly contagious, it is important to keep your cat away from cats that have it.If your cat has coronavirus, you should also avoid bringing in any new cat until it dies, and dispose of everything the cat has used, especially the litter box, before buying a new cat. Clearing the virus from the environment can be very difficult, especially if multiple cats are infected because no one knows exactly how it spreads.
FIP vaccines are available for cats, but their use and effectiveness are controversial.Discuss the pros and cons of this vaccine with your veterinarian.