15 adult cats and 18 kittens from a single cattery were used to determine patterns of faecal shedding of feline coronavirus (FCV). Blood and faecal samples were collected from adult cats every other month for 13 months. Serum FCV antibody titres were measured using an indirect immunofluorescence assay. A reverse-transcriptase, nested polymerase chain reaction assay was used to detect FCV in faeces. Blood and faecal samples were collected from kittens at approximately 2-week intervals from 3 weeks to 15 weeks of age. Adult cats shed FCV intermittently. All adult cats shed virus in their faeces at least once during the year, and 4 of 15 shed virus >75% of the time. Serum antibody titre was not significantly associated with shedding of FCV. For the kittens, median age at the time FCV was first detected in faeces was 67 days (range, 33 to 78 days). All except 1 of the kittens was shed virus in their faeces before or at the time of seroconversion. It is suggested that serum FCV antibody titres are not a good indicator of shedding of FCV in the faeces. Kittens may shed FCV in their faeces before they seroconvert, and all kittens in a cattery in which FCV infection is endemic may be infected before 12 weeks of age.
- age differences blood serum cat diseases diagnosis faeces immunofluorescence kittens seroconversion shedding viral diseases cats Coronavirus feces fluorescent antibody technique IFAT viral infections Felis Felidae Fissipeda carnivores mammals vertebrates Chordata animals small mammals eukaryotes Coronaviridae Nidovirales positive-sense ssRNA viruses ssRNA viruses RNA viruses viruses
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