What is Calicivirus?
Feline Viral Respiratory Disease is one of the common names used to describe an infection Calici virus. It is characterized by upper respiratory symptoms, pneumonia, oral ulceration and occasionally arthritis. It is a fairly mild flu-like condition and rarely causes serious complications.
The common symptoms and signs of Calici virus include:
- Discharge and redness of the eyes.
- Mouth ulcers
- Lack of appetite (due to blocked nasal passages inhibiting the sense of smell),
- Joint pain and occasionally ulcers on paws
- Fever – sometimes but not always
What Causes Calicivirus
Calici virus is caused by contact with the discharge from an infected cat – this can be airborne droplets from sneezing, or eating from a contaminated food bowl or using the same bedding or litter tray as an infected cat. This is why infections can spread like wildfire in a cattery or hospital where excellent hygiene is vital.
The vet will make a diagnosis based on the symptoms that the cat is exhibiting and also on a full medical and vaccination history. If the cat has the symptoms for more than two weeks or has the disease despite being vaccinated, further tests for FeLV and FIV should be done.
Help for Calicivirus
Treatment consists of supportive therapy and nursing, with antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections.
Supportive therapy and nursing would include:
- Ensuring adequate feeding
- Humidifiers and inhalation therapy to keep the nasal passages clear
- Keeping the cat quiet and warm
- Keeping the eyes and nose clean and lubricated
Natural remedies such as herbal and homeopathic remedies are also beneficial for treating and preventing Calici Virus. Containing natural ingredients, these herbal remedies are safe to use on your pet without any harmful side effects.
Biochemic tissue salts such as Calc.sulph. (D6) and Ferrum Phos (D6) help with infection and speed up the natural healing process, as well as distributing oxygen throughout the tissues. Herbs such as Verbascum thapsus (Mullein leaves) and Sambucus nigra (Elder flowers) are widely used to treat respiratory disorders. Homeopathic nosodes such as Feline Calicivirus (30C) are used to treat and prevent Calici Virus.
More Information on Calicivirus
Tips to prevent Calicivirus in pets
There are certain preventative measures that can be taken to prevent Calici Virus infections in cats and these include:
- Separate cats showing signs of disease from the other cats in the house, and feed them separately
- Use litter boxes and bowls that can be easily disinfected – ie glass or stainless steel
- Use a 1:32 solution of bleach to clean bowls and litter trays
- Use a humidifier and a burner with eucalyptus oil for inhalation therapy
- Wash and disinfect hands after handling the affected cat
- Provide adequate ventilation and control humidity and temperature
- Keep the cat as stress-free as possible
- Hand feed the cat if necessary, using strong smelling, slightly warmed food