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Prevalence and pathogenicity of retroviruses in wildcats in France
  1. E. Fromont, DVM, PhD1,
  2. D. Pontier, PhD1,
  3. A. Sager, DVM2,
  4. E. Jouquelet2,
  5. M. Artois, DVM, PhD2,
  6. F. Léger3,
  7. P. Stahl, PhD3 and
  8. F. Bourguemestre,4
  1. 1 UMR CNRS 5558, bat 711, Université Lyon I, 43 Boulevard du 11 novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne, France
  2. 2 AFSSA Nancy, Unité Santé et Gestion de la Faune Sauvage, BP9, 54220 Malzéville, France
  3. 3 Office National de la Chasse, Montfort, 01330 Birieux, France
  4. 4 Fédération Départementale des Chasseurs de l'Indre, 46 Boulevard du Moulin Neuf, BP12, 36001 Chateauroux, France

Abstract

Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are frequently encountered in domestic cats (Felis catus) and in wild felids, but only FeLV has been previously identified in wildcats (Felis silvestris). Thirty-eight wildcats, either captured alive or found dead, were sampled in eastern and central France. Nine of them (23.7 per cent) carried the FeLV p27 antigen, and three (7.9 per cent) had antibodies to FeLV. There was a significant relationship between two measures of body condition and FeLV status; the FeLV-positive cats being in poorer condition than the FeLV-negative cats. The results suggest that FeLV is common in wildcats and may increase mortality in this species. The FIV-positive results constitute the first indication of a Flv-related virus in wildcats.

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