Calicivirus

Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
I am thinking of adopting a cat that was rescued from a cat hoarder. He has proved negative for both FIV and FeLV, but has a lingering tendency for one eye to tear. The foster mother, a well-known cat expert, is fairly sure that this is due to calicivirus rather than herpes. My question: I have read two opposing accounts of calicivirus on the Internet. One says that the cat remains infected with the virus and periodically sheds it, as in herpes. One says that most cats eventually clear themselves of calicivirus. Which is correct? Also, he has red gums, which the foster mother says he didn't have originally, and that this is a standard reaction to losing baby teeth. I already have one cat with chronic gingivitis, so am a bit wary of a cat with red gums, for it seems that calicivirus can be a cause of gingivitis (the cause of my other cat's gingivitis is unknown). For details, see my question in the Health Forum.

Best Answers

  • Caitlin CarpenterCaitlin Carpenter MilwaukeeMember Posts: 6
    Accepted Answer
    My cat had an episode of calici virus about 9 mos. ago. That was his first an only episode. During this time, I did a lot of research and talking to my vet. The vet told me that for some cats with calici they will have another outbreak, some won't. She also told me that the virus stays with the cat for 3 yrs and they can pass it to any other cat they come in contact with. So this may not be so good for your other kitty. Calici can be fatal and my little Oliver almost died from it. He had alot of ulcers in his mouth, very lethargic, and wouldn't eat. I had to give him water through an eye dropper and mix wet cat food with Lactaid milk to get it thin enough for him to eat. I also had to give him antibiotics around the clock. Trust me, no fun! So to answer your question, both are true. The virus does stay in the cat's system, but most cats don't get sick twice. Then again, some do and many don't make it through the first time. Good luck.
  • Amanda SundbergAmanda Sundberg TulsaMember Posts: 257
    Accepted Answer
    I had to assist in a euthanasia for a 6 week old kitten with Calicivirus yesterday. She was so sick and no one could keep her due to her being contagious. If you have healthy pets I would recommend not bringing one into your household with a known illness. How would you feel if Leila got really sick?
  • terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
    Accepted Answer
    ok. what i keep running across is that calcivirus is the most common cause of URIs, meaning that Leila has probably already been exposed to it and has developed an immunity. either way, most of the time, calcivirus doesn't even necessitate a vet visit...causes "kitty colds" for the most part. however, even a cat who only has one outbreak can remain a latent carrier for years. as for the red gums...can't be sure, but he could possibly just be teething. yes, calcivirus can cause gastroenteritis which can lead to dehydration...which could conceivably go horror-show and lead to hepatic lipoidosis, for all i know. but within the realm of the probable? you might increase the chances of your older cat or cats developing URIs...or you might not, as she/they may well have developed an immunity to calci by now. calcivirus is incredibly common (esp. in multi-cat homes) and usually doesn't require intervention. anything is possible-but most things aren't probable. make sense?
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