Both FHV and FCV are highly successful pathogens of the cat and, despite vaccination, infection and disease still occur. The viruses are generally less common in isolated household pets than in colony animals. Thus the disease occurs mainly in boarding catteries, breeding colonies, stray cat homes, or other situations where a large number of cats have been brought together.
The feline respiratory viruses persist in such populations in three main ways:
- By passing directly from acutely infected to susceptible animals: this depends on sufficient numbers of susceptible animals in the population, and sufficient opportunities for contact between them.
- By persisting in the environment: although this is for only relatively short periods of time, it is long enough for indirect transmission to occur, particularly within the close confines of a cattery via contaminated secretions on cages, feeding bowls, cleaning utensils or personnel.
- By persisting in the recovered cat by means of carriers.
- There are no known reservoirs or alternative hosts for these viruses, and in utero transmission does not generally seem to occur.
- With both viruses the carrier state is a common phenomenon, and probably the main reason why these viruses are so successful.
Features of the FHV carrier state
Practical implications of these findings
Features of the FCV carrier state
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