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Experimental induction of feline viral rhinotracheitis virus re-excretion in FVR-recovered cats
  1. RM Gaskell and
  2. RC Povey


The re-excretion of feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) virus (feline herpesvirus I) by FVR-recovered cats is recorded both spontaneously and following a variety of stimuli, namely, corticosteroid administration, change of housing, and parturition and lactation. At least 27 of 33 (82%) FVR-recovered cats studied were shown to be viral carriers. The carrier state was characterised by periods of viral latency interspersed with episodes of viral shedding. Administration of 0-75 mg dexamethasone trimethylacetate and 2-25 mg prednisolone on days 0,2 and 4 resulted in re-excretion after a mean lag period of 7-2 days in 22 of 32 (69%) FVR-recovered cats on a total of 31 of 57 (54%) occasions. Rehousing resulted in virus re-excretion after a mean lag period of 7-2 days in four of 22 (18%) cats tested on a total of six of 40 (15%) occasions. Apparently spontaneous shedding occurred on a total of 10 occasions in nine of 31 (29%) cats during a mean observation period of 8-8 months. Four of six FVR-recovered queens in a total of four of 10 litters (40%) shed virus within two to 10 weeks of parturition. Serum neutralising antibody titres were generally boosted at the time of first re-infection but afterwards remained essentially constant. Although 82% of cats in these studies were shown to be viral carriers, only 45% of cats shed virus spontaneously or as a result of the natural stress situations and it is postulted that these naturally excreting cats are of most significance epidemiologically.

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