Coronavirus in a cat: symptoms, treatment, prevention
Every landlord knows how difficult it is when pets are ill. And the first thing that should be done in this case is to contact the veterinarian. Only a qualified specialist can make the correct diagnosis and in time conduct effective treatment. Today we want to talk about a coronavirus in a cat. This serious disease takes away the lives of dozens of domestic animals every year. Unvited mugs are especially vulnerable to it. However, vaccination is not always a 100% guarantee that your pet will not get sick. Therefore, it is extremely important to know what the disease is, so as not to miss the first symptoms, when the animal can still be saved.
What is this disease?
Coronavirus in a cat is an infectious disease, the causative agent of which is Feline Coronavirus (FCoV). This is a very insidious and contagious virus that affects almost all cats that face it. That's why vaccination is the best assistant for every owner, especially if your animal freely goes outside and can contact other cats. Below we will talk more about the features of the course of the disease and first aid so that you are fully armed.
Coronavirus in a cat is primarily characterized by severe lesions of the abdominal organs, which in some cases is fraught with complications and can lead to death. And its name got the disease because of the typical form of the pathogen, which can be seen in a microscope. The shell is covered with projections that create an aureole or a crown. In this case, coronaviruses cause not one, but several diseases. Among them - feline infectious peritonitis, which is incurable, as well as coronavirus enteritis. These are related strains of the same viruses, which are completely harmless to humans.
Features of the disease
As usual, most often the coronavirus in a cat manifests itself at a very young age, that is, it is affected first of all by small kittens. Of course, the lethal outcome in this case is also accelerated by the fact that the dehydration of a small calf can occur in a matter of hours. The virus affects the mucosa of the small intestine, which results in diarrhea and diarrhea. However, the first sign is vomiting, and only then it passes into diarrhea, which lasts 2-4 days. After that comes either the death of the animal, or recovery. However, even after full recovery, it remains the carrier of the virus, which means that it is potentially dangerous for its relatives.
Different variants of the course of the disease
We have already touched a bit on the fact that pets suffer differently even such a serious ailment. It depends on many factors: age, vaccinations, the state of the body (weakening against the background of another disease, exhaustion), and so on. In general, experts identify four variants of the development of events.
1) In most cases (up to 50%), the infected cat is ill with severe symptoms of diarrhea. Then comes a clinical recovery. However, for a fairly long time, the virus is excreted along with the feces. Normally, this is 1-2 months, then the immune response of the body is formed. However, if the body is weakened, the process can be delayed up to nine months.
2) In about ten percent of cases, pets that have become infected with this virus are doomed to perish. That is, in the body of one of ten cats due to mutation of a relatively harmless virus into an incurable form, infectious coronavirus enteritis develops. The mutated virus leaves the intestine in the body tissues and irreversible pathological processes begin. Almost 100% of cases of this turn of events the animal is waiting for death. Therefore, it is necessary to think in advance about the prevention of the disease, especially since veterinary services in terms of vaccination are more accessible than treatment.
3) Chronic course of the disease. It also happens: coronavirus infection penetrates the body and meets the resistance of the immune system. In this case, the complete defeat of the virus in the animal body is not enough. In this case, it remains healthy, except for chronic diarrhea (in rare cases), which the owners will treat with all improvised means with varying success. That is, throughout the life of these cats will spread the infection.
4) Coronavirus infection affects not all animals, there are separate individuals that do not suffer from this disease in general, it is resistant to the carrier. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to identify this resistance gene and learn how to transfer it to others.
Sources of disease
Feline enteritis, as it is also called, is transmitted from the individual to the individual. The sources of infection are feces of sick cats or carriers. In this case, the danger is posed not only directly by the trays themselves. These are sovochki and care items, as well as toys. We must not forget that only domestic content does not exclude the possibility of the disease. Caring people can bring home fragments of wool or tiny particles of excreta on their clothes and shoes. If you have several cats, you should always be on your guard. In the first days after infection, the virus is contained in saliva, so feeding from one bowl, as well as the love of these animals to licking each other can lead to sad consequences.
But the coronavirus in kittens with the disease of adults is not so strongly associated. The fact is that it does not penetrate the placenta from the mother to the kittens, nor is it in the milk. Up to 5-7 weeks of age, the mother's antibodies are enough in the blood of the babies, so they do not fear such a disease. However, after a month and a half months the level of antibodies in the body begins to fall sharply, and now routine vaccination is needed, otherwise the probability of getting sick in the crumbs increases dramatically.
Causes of infection
We will dwell on this moment for a while, in order to better reveal the peculiarities of this ailment. By the way, sometimes the clinical picture is not clear, as we described above, but lubricated. Within a few days the animal may be sluggish, it is bad to eat or completely refuse from feed, but the cat's diarrhea and vomiting are not observed, which means that the suspicion of coronavirus does not fall. As a result, when the symptomatology clears up, it may be too late. Therefore, it is very important to receive veterinary services in a good clinic, where experienced doctors work.
Specialists in the field of veterinary medicine have long been engaged in research into this disease. In the course of these studies, it was found that the coronavirus is often found in the intestine of the feline's representatives in a dormant state. If there are suitable conditions for the virus, it takes an aggressive form and causes inflammation of the intestine, or even mutates. And in most cases, the risk groups are young animals and cats that have reached 11-12 years of age. Veterinarians are trying to find out what exactly is the trigger mechanism for the onset of the disease, but the number one task is to identify genetic or other characteristics of the organism that allow the individual to remain completely immune to the virus. This would open a new round in the history of veterinary medicine.
Coronavirus in cats: symptoms
We have already touched on the manifestation of the disease, but now we will consider this issue in more detail. Of course, the appearance of various symptoms directly depends on the severity of the infection. Let's consider separately the manifestation of the enteritis virus and infectious peritonitis, which some veterinarians consider a complication of the underlying disease. In fact, it's just a related strain of the same disease.
So, coronavirus enteritis. By the way, other pets, in particular dogs, it is not transmitted. In dogs, there is another form of enteritis that flows with its own characteristics. It is characterized primarily by symptoms of intestinal dysfunction. This is diarrhea, sometimes vomiting, possibly an appetite disorder, but all these symptoms can pass by themselves. Sometimes they are watered or runny. Nevertheless, the condition of the cat should be closely monitored. Prolonged diarrhea leads to the fact that the body is weakened, which means that there is every chance that the intestinal infection will pass into a chronic disease with a protracted course and a possible fatal outcome.
The picture looks much more serious if a mutation of the virus is observed. Until the end it is not clear why this is happening, but cat's infectious peritonitis is very familiar to veterinarians. By the way, it is this heavy, often incurable form of the disease that is not transmitted from the animal to the animal, but develops in a specific organism. The virus itself can be transmitted to another cat, but in most cases it will be a milder, enteritis form of the disease.
Peritonitis develops at first without bright symptoms. It can be fatigue or mild apathy, loss of appetite or mild vomiting. However, gradually the symptoms increase, depressivity increases, weight decreases, mucous membranes pale, anemia appears, ascites may occur. The viral activity of the virus poisons the body, so the more it accumulates in the tissues, the more severe the kidney and liver damage. The next symptom is the defeat of the nervous system, cramps and muscle atony develop.
Two forms of infectious peritonitis
This is another feature of this disease. A severe form is wet peritonitis. In this case, the blood vessels are seriously affected. This causes a leakage of protein in the form of an effusion in the body cavity. Usually this leads to the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal or pleural cavity. People call it dropsy. Ascites form is most often manifested in young animals and kittens, in which the immune system reacts violently to the virus and is also rapidly depleted. As a result, fluid accumulates in the cavities, the stomach begins to resemble a pear. The disease develops quickly enough.
The second form (dry) is a chronic course of a viral disease. In this case, a number of organs appear nodules (granuloma formations), and the severity of the development of the disease depends on which organs and to what extent were affected. This form is typical for adult animals, with strong immunity. Characteristic for her and a longer flow. The animal loses weight heavily, but retains an interest in life. It happens that both forms of the disease are present simultaneously, and maybe one can be transferred to another.
Prevention of disease
Any trouble is easier to prevent, therefore, from the first day of the appearance of a kitten in your home, be sure to select a practicing veterinarian for him. Of course, it is very convenient for the reception point to be as close to your home as possible. The schedule of work is also important, as assistance can be required at any time of the day or night. Today almost every clinic has a service "veterinarian at home". It is very convenient also in the sense that your animal will not be in contact with carriers of other infections that are brought to the clinic. This is extremely important at the time of vaccination, which is the very first and important means of preventing this viral disease.
The vaccine against coronavirus was searched for a long time, this is an unusual infection, so there is nothing surprising in this. As a result of many studies, scientists were able to change the virus in such a way that it began to fear high temperatures. That is, the natural temperature of the cat's body (38.5 - 39) became destructive for him. In this case, the temperature of the animal's nose is lower, about 36 degrees. Therefore, the medicine is buried in the nose, then the modified virus spreads over the mucous membrane, but can not enter the intestine, since the high temperature kills it. And the body learns to produce antibodies. That is, the best prevention of coronavirus is vaccination. However, this method is not 100% reliable. Even the vaccinated animal can get sick with close and prolonged contact. But the course of the disease will most likely be easy. So the coronavirus vaccine does not completely exclude, but in most cases ensures that your pet will survive it normally and develop its own immunity.
Veterinary clinics in Moscow, for the most part, are equipped with modern laboratories, whose specialists have a sufficiently wide range of methods for investigating and detecting coronavirus infection. First of all, this is a blood or plasma intake to determine the presence of antibodies to this virus. If you have it in the body, the analysis will give a positive result. However, this does not give an answer to the question of where exactly to look for it, in the intestines or soft tissues.
The second most popular is the analysis of feces. The analysis can be positive in the isolation of the virus with feces. However, a negative result does not guarantee that the virus is not present in the body. Therefore, veterinary clinics in Moscow use this method as an additional method.
Finally, in modern laboratories, they can determine the titer of antibodies and coronavirus of cats in serum. This analysis will help to draw a conclusion about the development of the infection and its availability. In this case, by the number of antibodies the doctor can make predictions about the outcome of the disease.
Treatment of coronavirus
In fact, the most important thing is not to start a disease. With the first symptoms you need to immediately go to the clinic, also the necessary help can be rendered by a veterinarian called at home. The first drugs that are used to combat this disease are antiviral drugs. These are sources of interferon, ribavirin and immunomodulators. What do they give? Their mission is to slow down the multiplication of the virus in the cells and give the body a chance to cope with it. That is, they do not have a therapeutic effect, but only give you a little time. In addition, antibiotics and corticosteroids are added, they allow to level inflammation and weaken symptoms, but this, again, is not a full-fledged treatment.
In the rest, the treatment is symptomatic. Doctors monitor the body temperature and pressure, if necessary adjust the indicators with the help of medicines. If there is vomiting and diarrhea, these symptoms are removed by intramuscular injection of levomycitin and no-shpa or other drugs. Loss of fluid during vomiting and lack of appetite should be a signal to connect systems with saline and glucose. In addition, it is recommended to maintain the strength of the body with the help of vitamin-mineral complexes. Due care and care, symptomatic treatment - all this together gives a good chance of recovery. Even with infectious peritonitis, it is possible to maintain the life of your cat for many months, periodically pumping out the accumulating liquid. So the coronavirus is not a sentence, just do not delay with an appeal to a veterinarian. Remember that the health of your pet is only in your hands. A proper feeding and timely vaccination will reduce the risk of morbidity many times over.