Call us 10AM-7PM (EDT) Mon-Sat

+ 1 (469) 465 0606

Feline calicivirus – Symptoms and treatment

En We want the best for your pet, that’s why we try to cover all the diseases, ailments and behaviors that can be presented to your furry friend.

On this occasion, we will talk about the Feline calicivirus, symptoms and treatment, because this disease is extremely common among cats and can be dangerous for your cat if it is not detected in time.

Always remember not to self-medicate your pet, go to the consultation with your veterinarian in case of any unusual symptom or behavior, and give your little friend all the love, care and food you need to be a strong, healthy animal. happy.

What is feline calicivirus?

It is a disease highly infectious that usually affects large cat colonies, due to the ease with which the virus is transmitted. However, it can also appear among house cats.

The calicivirus (FCV) is a type of feline flu. It manifests as an acute respiratory disease that affects the upper tracts of the feline, causing sinusitis and rhinitis. The virus belongs to the family Caliciviridae, of the genus Vesivirus.

Even when they seem to have been cured, the cats that have been affected can become healthy carriers, there lies the high level of transmission of this disease.

Why is the feline calicivirus risky?

Feline calicivirus is a virus whose infectious strain easily mutates, that is to say, the same strain is adapting and changing according to the environment in which it is found and the demands that it presents to it, against which the virus develops small variations.

These variations have led to the existence of a huge number of strains of this disease, which makes their exact identification and prevention difficult.

In addition, even cats vaccinated against the virus can get it, precisely because of this capacity for mutability. Of course, vaccinating them reduces the odds considerably, so it is considered mandatory to do so.

It is very frequent its appearance in wild colonies of cats or in shelters, because it spreads very easily. However, if your house cat has access to the outside, there is also possibility of infection, being able to infect other felines in the home, if any.

In addition, sometimes your feline can get this virus chronically, or even become a carrier, which means that he will not have any symptoms or discomfort but can transmit the disease to other cats.

How is it spread?

The main route of infection is through the direct contact with infected felines or carriers, because it is transported in saliva and feces, although in smaller proportions.

The most common means of contagion occurs through the objects or spaces used or frequented by an infected cat and that involve contact with fluids of the animal, such as feeders, toys and sanitary beds, because the virus can survive in these areas up to a period of 28 days.

They are more likely to get the virus felines of young age, animals in street condition, old cats and felines immunosuppressed. However, any cat can be infected with the virus, so it is important to be up to date on vaccines and necessary care to prevent infection.

It is important to note that this virus does not spread to humans or dogs.

Symptoms of feline calcivirus

El feline calivicirus It is a respiratory disease, because the virus enters the animal through the mouth or nose, staying in the lymphoid tissue that corresponds to the oropharynx, affecting the lungs. Your symptoms are:

  • Colds
  • Sneezing
  • Snot
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Ulcers on the palate
  • Ulcers in the oral mucosa
  • Ulcers in the nose
  • Depression

The disease can be aggravated causing pneumonia and arthritis, although only in rare cases. Some strains produce fever and lameness.

Symptoms usually appear from 2 to 10 days after being contracted. The pain of ulcers of the mouth causes the cat stop eating. Conjunctivitis can also bring ulcers on the cornea, due to the efforts the animal makes to scratch itself.

The cycle of the virus lasts about four weeks and most of the cats recover, although there are chronic cases and healthy carriers. Approximately 80% of felines stop spreading the virus to 75 days after they have healed, but the other 20% becomes a healthy carrier for years, or even for the rest of their lives.

In recent years, a more virulent and dangerous strain of this virus has been discovered, called FCV-VS, a feline virulent systemic calicivirus, whose symptoms are in addition to those already mentioned:

  • Jaundice (yellow skin)
  • Swelling of the face and extremities
  • Ulcers on pads of the legs, nose, mouth and ears
  • Hair loss
  • Gingivitis
  • Stomatitis

If it is not attended on time and in an appropriate manner, the virus can cause death.

What is the diagnosis?

Mainly, the symptoms help to know quickly if you are facing a case of feline calicivirus, especially when they appear ulcers in the mouth of the animal. However, laboratory tests are performed with tissue cultures from the oropharyngeal mucosa.

Feline calcivirus treatment

Once the presence of the virus is confirmed and the strain is identified, the treatment is prescribed. There is not in itself a medicine that kills the virus, but they are prescribed remedies that provide support to the animal during the cycle that lasts the disease, allowing him to alleviate the symptoms and prevent them from becoming worse.

Antibiotics are prescribed for possible infections, medicines that help the cat breathe better and analgesics for control pain. In addition, antivirals are administered to control the effects of the infection.

Hydration is extremely important, so in principle a fluid therapy treatment will be prescribed according to the doctor’s criteria.

If the cat refuses to eat because of the pain, it is recommended to offer soft and odorous foods. If this fails, you should resort to assisted feeding in liquid form, by means of a syringe, always taking care not to hurt the animal or cause unnecessary stress.

Before mucous secretion and tears, it is necessary to assist the feline with constant cleanings made with a wet cotton garment, to avoid discomfort to the cat and prevent possible complications due to bacteria.

The cat should be kept in a comfortable, warm and free of drafts, to contribute to its rapid recovery. In addition, it is essential that the animal remains isolated from other cats that are in the home, and avoid incursions to the outside.

Consult your veterinarian the possibility of performing tests to rule out leukemia and feline immunodeficiency, because cats that suffer this type of infection are likely to develop other diseases more easily.


In domestic animals, it is recommended to follow the vaccination schedule for the kittens as soon as the veterinarian indicates it, and repeat the reinforcements every year. Although this will not prevent one hundred percent from contracting the virus, it will be more protected than other animals.

If you have rescued a stray feline, you must stay isolated from your other animals until you can perform the necessary laboratory tests to rule out this and other diseases.

If it is a refuge, vaccination is also paramount. Cats whose feline calicivirus infection has been confirmed should be separated from the rest to avoid an epidemic. Everyone must have their container for food and their own sandbox. Periodically it is necessary to disinfect the objects that you use with products that eliminate the virus and are not harmful to the feline.

The people in charge of the refuge must take care of the last sick animals, after taking care of all the others, and wash their faces and arms and change their clothes after handling those who carry the virus.

The area where animals with caliciviruses will be isolated must have adequate ventilation, low humidity and a cool temperature. The spaces will be cleaned frequently.

The most important for the prevention of this disease, in addition to maintaining a vaccination regime, is to maintain a strict hygiene that prevents its spread.

This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Feline calicivirus – Symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter in our section of viral diseases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *