Feline calicivirus infection is a common respiratory disease in cats. The virus attacks the respiratory tract (nasal passages and lungs), the mouth (with ulceration of the tongue), the intestines and the musculoskeletal system. It is highly communicable in unvaccinated cats, and is commonly seen in multi-cat facilities, shelters, poorly ventilated households and breeding catteries. Vaccination against the calicivirus is strongly advised. This infection can occur in cats of any age, but young kittens older than six weeks have been found to be most susceptible
The symptoms that can be observed in a cat infected with this virus typically present themselves suddenly:
- Loss of appetite
- Eye discharge
- Nasal discharge
- Development of ulcers on tongue, hard palate, tip of nose, lips or around claws
- Difficulty breathing after development of pneumonia
- Arthritis (inflammation of joints)
- Painful walk
- Bleeding from various sites
Again, this disease is very contagious, it is easily transmitted from one cat to another by direct contact (nose-to-nose) or indirect (objects). On the other hand, unlike rhinotracheitis, calicivirus is quite resistant in the environment; it is therefore necessary to do a good disinfection of the environment of your pet. In addition, up to 80% of cats who have recovered from the infection will remain carriers of the virus for several months if not several years and will, for some, continue to be contagious for their congeners. That is why it is even more important to vaccinate all cats in the household.
The calicivirus is easily treatable. During the examination, your veterinarian can prescribe the appropriate treatment to relieve your cat of his respiratory symptoms and heal his ulcers as quickly as possible.