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FIP is most frequently seen in young kittens raised in colonies, although occasional cases are also seen in older pet cats. The main sources of infection within a colony in which FCoV infection is enzootic appear to be carrier queens. This virus is passed on to their kittens before weaning, and these infected kittens may be a further source of infection to other kittens in the colony. In coronavirus-free colonies, or among pet cats which do not meet other cats very often, the main source of infection is other carrier, or acutely infected, cats.

Cats may also be infected with canine coronavirus through contact with dog faeces, although the role of CCV in FIP in the field is not known.

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