One of the most poorly understood and enigmatic feline viruses is feline coronavirus, which is the virus responsible for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a prevalent and much feared feline disease. While the first case of FIP was reported in 1963, there is evidence of the disease as early as 1914. Even though veterinarians have known about this virus for a long time, little is actually known about it. However, research over the past 10 years is slowly shedding more light on this ever-present feline health problem.
The common and benign form of feline coronavirus is referred to as feline enteric coronavirus (FECV). When FECV has mutated into the disease causing form, it is then referred to as feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV), which leads to the disease FIP.
FECV is a very common, highly infectious feline virus that infects the cells of the intestinal tract and affects both domestic and wild cat species (such as the cheetah). It has been estimated that in multi-cat households where FECV has been introduced, 80 to 90 per cent of remaining household cats will be infected. In the general cat population, infection rates may reach 30 to 40 per cent, while rates are lowest in feral cats. Fortunately, the majority of cats with FECV (about 90 per cent) remain healthy, although they may shed the virus in their feces. ...... [Read complete article]