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Development of clinical signs and occurrence of feline corona virus antigen in naturally infected barrier reared cats and their offspring



Development of clinical signs and occurrence of feline corona virus antigen in naturally infected barrier reared cats and their offspring



Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 34(4): 345-356



The onset and pattern of the clinical signs of feline corona virus (FCoV) infection in cats were studied in a setting behind an isolation barrier. Two FCoV-seropositive cats were the source of the infection, and 3 barrier reared cats - initially FCoV-seronegative - were the recipients. The first clinical sign in the recipients appeared 11 days after contact with the source of infection. After 2 years 1 male and 1 female of the recipients started to breed. Their offspring developed clinical signs of disease at an age of 4-5 weeks. A pattern of recurring upper respiratory tract signs and conjunctivitis at intervals of about 4 months was observed in both the recipients and their offspring, while CNS dependent signs and wasting remained or got worse, once developed. Once demonstrated, FCoV antigen persisted in membrana nictitans throughout the investigation, and was found in all cats but 4 (90%). The offspring died during 2 periods, around the first week of life (9/37), and at 3-5 months of age (5/25). For comparison 3 offspring were euthanised at an age of 1 day and 16 offspring at an age of 3-6 months. FCoV antigen was demonstrated in all organs investigated (100%) from offspring dying during the first period, and in 97% from those dying during the second period. For the offspring euthanised during the same 2 periods the corresponding findings were 95% and 85%. Offspring euthanized between 9 and 17 months (4 kittens) had antigen in 67% of all investigated organs. The incidence of FCoV antigen in almost every organ in the investigated newborn kittens suggests an intrauterine infection. The demonstration of FCoV antigen in all euthanised cats, suggests a persistant infection. Virus was cultivated from membrana nictitans, that was FCoV antigen positive in the M3 test.

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Accession: 002343418

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PMID: 8147286


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