A representative sample of the pet cat population of the United Kingdom was surveyed. Blood samples from 1204 sick and 1007 healthy cats of known breed, age and sex were tested for antibodies to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV). The prevalence of FIV was 19 per cent in sick cats and 6 per cent in healthy cats, and the prevalence of FeLV was 18 per cent in sick cats and 5 per cent in healthy cats; both infections were more common in domestic cats than in pedigree cats. Feline immunodeficiency virus was more prevalent in older cats but FeLV was more prevalent in younger cats. There was no difference between the prevalence of FeLV in male and female cats but male cats were more likely to be infected with FIV than female cats. No interaction was demonstrated between FIV and FeLV infections. Of the cats which were in contact with FIV in households with more than one cat, 21 per cent had seroconverted. The prevalence of FeLV viraemia in cats in contact with FeLV was 14 per cent. The clinical signs associated with FIV were pyrexia, gingivitis/stomatitis and respiratory signs, and with FeLV, pyrexia and anaemia. It was concluded that both viruses were significant causes of disease, and that the cats most likely to be infected with FIV were older, free-roaming male cats and for FeLV, younger, free-roaming cats.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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