With every world leader uniting their efforts for the common goal of stopping COVID-19, parents and pet owners have started worrying about the stark reality that is to follow in the coming weeks. Virologists everywhere are still in the race to crack the science behind this killer virus; how is it transmitted, who can transmit it and so on. Our focuses today are towards feline critters and how the virus waltzes with them…
What Is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a group or family of viruses, with the COVID-19 being just one of them. Coronaviruses are often found in animals, and many of the past pandemic-like-situations such as the SARS, MERS, and Swine Flu among others were all contracted by the virus jumping from an animal to a human host. The virus infects the upper respiratory tracts or the gastrointestinal tract in various animals. In human, these viruses are the cause of the common cold!
Now pertaining to our feline friends, the house cat, there is no evidence to say that they spread the disease or that they can be infected by it. There is no study to contradict or support this. Which is why we should be prepared and on the back foot! Be sure to wash your hands after each interaction and wear face masks to the maximum extent. You can find some great quality, affordable face masks at hdfacemask.com
So, What Kind Of Coronavirus Infects Cats?
That would be Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). The FIP is a viral disease that occurs all over the world and in most cases is fatal. The FIP is caused by the virus called the feline coronavirus or FCoV. This very different from the COVID-19 virus that we’re hearing all over, and the FCoV cannot be transmitted to humans.
What Are The Effects Of The FCoV And How Does It Mutate?
In most cases they lead to severe diarrhoea. But sometimes the virus mutates to a strain of coronavirus. This mutated strain is the cause of what we call the FIP.
The virus grows and multiplies in the intestinal tract of the cat, and in shed in its faeces in which the virus may survive upto days or a couple weeks. The virus makes its way into the host due to the cat licking.
The FCoV that lies in the intestinal tract undergoes spontaneous mutations. This leads to the development of different strains of the virus, and eventually a strain is formed that has lethal potential called the Feline Infectious Peritonitis virus (FIPV).