Feline coronavirus is a positive stranded RNA virus that infect cat population by invading the epithelium of the villous tip in the intestine, causing mild enteritis and villous entropy. The virus belongs to the species Alphacoronavirus 1 that includes viruses like canine corona virus, which affects dogs. Two different forms of the virus are FECV (Feline enteric Coronavirus) and FIPV (Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus). Random errors lead to FECV mutating to FIPV.
FECV that infects the intestines is shed in the feces of healthy cats and gets transmitted to other cats when they ingest or inhale the feces. Viral shedding via the feces begins within the first week of viral infection, with the shedding continuing at high levels for 2-10 months. The 2-10 month period is followed by a 24 month period characterized by lower levels of viral shedding.
Coming in contact with contaminated fomites like litter boxes, housing equipments, personnel etc as well as close contact between cats leads to viral transmission. Transmission from mothers to kittens also can occur. Kittens infected with the virus do not begin to shed the virus till they become 9-10 week old, although some reports suggest that viral shedding might begin from 4 weeks of age.
How Long Does The Feline Coronavirus Survive?
The survival duration of Feline coronavirus depends on the nature of the environment that the virus thrives in. Although FECV is fragile, it can survive up to 7 weeks in dry environments. Soon after the virus infects the cats, it may replicate in the oropharyngeal tissue leading to hours and days of consistent salivary shedding.
What Are The Clinical Signs Of Feline Coronavirus?
In young kittens, especially the ones belonging to 4-12 weeks of age, feline coronavirus causes mild enteritis and diarrhea. Diarrhea might be accompanied by infrequent vomiting, anorexia,low grade fever etc. Being practically ubiquitous, the spread rate of feline coronavirus is very high making prevention impractical most of the times.
What Are The Two Forms Of Feline Coronovirus?
FECV infects the epithelial cell of the gastrointestinal tract, with the chronic infection showing minimal outward symptoms. The viruses excreted in the feces of healthy cats that act as carriers can be detected by polymerase chain reaction of feces.
The second form of feline coronavirus is Feline infectious Peritonitis virus that causes the incurable disease, feline infectious peritonitis. FECV mutates to FIPV due to the random errors that occur in the virus that infects an enterocyte.
COVID-19 disease that affects humans is caused by Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARA CoV-2), with the infection spreading through the droplets of infected individuals. In order to protect yourself from getting infected, it’s recommended to cover your face and mouth using hd face mask.