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Feline calicivirus-associated virulent systemic disease: not necessarily a local epizootic problem
  1. A. Meyer, DVM,
  2. O. Kershaw, DrMedVet, DECVP and
  3. R. Klopfleisch, DrMedVet, DACVP
  1. Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Strasse 15, 14163 Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Klopfleisch, e-mail: klopfleisch.robert{at}vetmed.fu-berlin.de

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FELINE calcivirus (FCV) is a contagious viral pathogen that usually causes a disease with mild clinical signs of rhinitis, oral ulcers and to a lesser extent pneumonia (Gaskell and others 2006). Infection with the common low-virulent strains of FCV is associated with moderate morbidity and low mortality (Gaskell and others 2006, Radford and others 2009). However, in recent years there has been an increasing number of reports of highly virulent FCV strains that cause systemic infections with high mortality – the so-called FCV-associated virulent systemic disease (FCV-VSD) (Pedersen and others 2000, Pesavento and others 2004, Coyne and others 2006, Reynolds and others 2009). The disease caused by these strains differs from the common mild FCV infections, and is characterised by high mortality and marked viral tropism for endothelial and epithelial cells of the skin and other parenchymal organs (Hurley and others 2004, Pesavento and others 2004). Usually, FCV-VSD strains are described as highly contagious, affecting a high percentage of cat populations with close contact between animals (Pesavento and others 2004, Reynolds and others 2009).

In contrast with this observation, this short communication describes a case of FCV-VSD infection in a single, five-month-old, male cat. Although the affected animal had close contact with six other cats in the same household, none of these developed a FCV infection. The diseased cat had a three-week history of mildly reduced general condition with mild diarrhoea and a mild infection with intestinal nematodes before calicivirus infection. The other six unaffected cats in the household showed no clinical signs before, during or after the time period described. All seven animals lived in …

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