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.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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