Feline Rhinotracheitis Virus & Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
Feline respiratory disease is caused primarily by either feline rhinotracheitis virus, more commonly known as feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1); or feline calicivirus (FCV). FHV-1 is a member of the family Herpesviridae, while feline calicivirus (FCV) is a member of the Vesivirus genus of the Caliciviridae family.1 These viruses are mainly shed in ocular, nasal, and oral secretions, and are primarily spread via contact with an infected cat.2 Both viruses can cause depression, fever, lethargy, sneezing, conjunctivitis, hypersalivation, ocular and nasal discharge, and oral ulceration; however, such symptoms are markedly more severe in cases of FHV-1, with the exception of oral ulcerations, which are typically more severe when caused by FCV.3
Fleas are able to transmit FCV from infected to susceptible cats.8 See Flea & Tick Prevention for more detailed information regarding the prevention of this and other diseases transmitted by fleas and/or ticks.
Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV)
Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), also known as feline parvovirus and sometimes feline distemper virus, is closely related to Canine Parvovirus (CPV), and can cause vomiting, fever, anorexia, lethargy, dehydration, diarrhea, and sudden death.9 While the virus is shed from all body secretions, it is most commonly spread via contact with infected feces, where it can survive outdoors for five (5) to ten (10) months or more and indoors at room temperature for up to one (1) year.10 Due to the high presence of FPV antibodies in the cat population, FPV typically affects kittens between one (1) to twelve (12) months of age, with the most severe illness affecting those between three (3) and five (5) months of age.9
Fleas are able to transmit FPV from infected to susceptible cats.1112 See Flea & Tick Prevention for more detailed information regarding the prevention of this and other diseases transmitted by fleas and/or ticks.
Rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (RCP) are components of the core cat vaccine, which is administered according to the following schedule:
|Eight (8) Weeks||Initial Feline RCP Vaccination|
|12 Weeks||Second Feline RCP Vaccination|
|16 Weeks||Third Feline RCP Vaccination|
|One (1) Year Later||Feline RCP Vaccine Booster|
|Every Year Thereafter†||Feline RC Vaccination|
|(†Except Every Third Year Thereafter)||Feline RCP Vaccine Booster|
- Gaskell RM, Dawson S, Radford A. Feline Respiratory Disease. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2012: 151.
- Gaskell RM, Dawson S, Radford A. Feline Respiratory Disease. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2012: 153.
- Gaskell RM, Radford AD, Dawson S. Feline infectious respiratory disease. In: Chandler EA, Gaskell CJ, Gaskell RM, eds. Feline Medicine and Therapeutics 3rd ed. Oxford, UK: Blackwell; 2004: 577-595.
- Bannasch MJ, Foley JE. Epidemiologic evaluation of multiple respiratory pathogens in cats in animal shelters. J Feline Med Surg. 2005; 7: 109-119.
- Binns SH, Dawson S, Speakman AJ, et al. A study of feline upper respiratory tract disease with reference to prevalence and risk factors for infection with feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. J Feline Med Surg. September 2000; 2(3): 123-133. doi:10.1053/jfms.2000.0084.
- Helps CR, Lait P, Damhuis A, et al. Factors associated with upper respiratory tract disease caused by feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, Chlamydophila felis and Bordetella bronchiseptica in cats: experience from 218 European catteries. Vet Rec. May 21, 2005; 156(21): 669-673.
- Pedersen NC, Sato R, Foley JE, Poland AM. Common virus infections in cats, before and after being placed in shelters, with emphasis on feline enteric coronavirus. J Feline Med Surg. April 2004; 6(2): 83-88.
- Mencke N, Vobis M, Mehlhorn H, et al. Transmission of feline calicivirus via the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). Parasitol Res. 2009; 105: 185-189.
- Newbury S. Feline Panleukopenia. In: Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Conference. Gainesville, FL: NAVC. 2007; 1299-1302.
- Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2012: 81.
- Bowman DD. Georgis’ Parasitology for Veterinarians 9th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2009: 45.
- Torres S. Infectious feline gastroenteritis in wild cats. Vet Clin N Am. May 1941; 22: 297-299.