Feline coronaviruses; (FCoV) are often divided into two groups:
- the highly pathogenic strains, feline infectious peritonitis viruses (FIPV); and
- those strains which cause mild or no disease, the feline enteric coronaviruses (FECV).
FIPV and FECV are very closely related, and it has been suggested that FECV and FIPV strains comprise the extremes of a single population of viruses with a spectrum of pathogenicity. However, evidence is accumulating that FIPV strains may be mutants of FECV which arise spontaneously during infection.
Canine coronavirus (CCV), which causes diarrhoea in dogs, is also infectious to cats, and cats may develop antibody reactive with CCV and FCoV after contact with dog faeces containing CCV. CCV is very closely related antigenically and at the genome level to the feline coronaviruses.
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