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What is Feline Calicivirus?
Feline Calicivirus (FCV) is a highly contagious virus that is one of the major causes of upper respiratory infections (URIs) or cat flu in cats and causes disease in cats all over the world. The virus attacks the respiratory tract — lungs and nasal passages — the mouth, with ulceration of the tongue, the intestines, and the musculoskeletal system.
This infection can occur in cats of any age, but young kittens older than six weeks have been found to be most susceptible.
What are the symptoms of Feline Calicivirus?
The most common signs include fever, ulcers on the mouth and tongue, sneezing and mild conjunctivitis. Infected cats may be depressed/lethargic and may have discharge from the eyes and nose. If mouth ulcers are present there may be excessive salivation/wetness around the mouth. Infected cats may be unwilling to eat. Some less common signs include difficulty breathing or lameness/limping.
How do cats contract the infection?
Cats typically acquire feline calcivirus (FCV) after coming into contact with other infected cats, such as in a shelter, cattery, or boarding facility. But because FCV is resistant to disinfectants, cats may come into contact with the virus in almost any environment.
Why do I need this Test?
FCV infections are frequently complicated by secondary bacterial infections, so supportive treatment with antibiotics is usually required. Good nursing care is critical and cats may need to be hospitalised for intravenous fluid therapy and nutritional support in severe cases, so early diagnosis can be vital.
In addition, it is estimated that up to half of infected cats become carriers of the virus for months or even years and thus, can later infect other cats.
How do I perform the Test?
It is very simple – just use the enclosed cotton swab to obtain a mouth or nasal sample, mix it with the test solution and then add 3 drops to the test cassette. You will then be able to read the results after 5 minutes. A positive or negative result is indicated by 2 or only 1 line in the test window respectively.
The best time to test is during the shedding phase and/or when the symptoms appear. If tested outside this time period, you may get a false negative result.
What should I do if I get a positive result?
You must see your Vet immediately so that he/she can start treatment ASAP.