Animal charities say that hundreds of cats in Cyprus might have died after contracting a feline coronavirus that may trigger “feline infectious peritonitis”, or FIP.
So what are the signs of cat coronavirus and has the outbreak unfold to the UK?
FactCheck takes a glance.
What’s cat coronavirus, feline infectious peritonitis?
Feline coronavirus is a quite common virus and the vast majority of cats contaminated with it can endure solely from delicate gastrointestinal illness. Nonetheless, in some instances it could possibly become FIP, which could be deadly.
That is completely different from the coronavirus that infects individuals and results in Covid-19. Feline coronavirus impacts cats and isn’t contagious to people.
What number of instances have there been in Cyprus and are there any within the UK?
Simply 107 instances of FIP have been formally recorded by the agriculture ministry within the southern a part of the island.
However animal charities have prompt the true quantity could possibly be lots larger as a result of nation’s big stray cat inhabitants.
Head of Cat Safety and Welfare Society (PAWS) Cyprus, Dinos Ayiomamitis, informed Agence France Presse: “We’ve misplaced 300,000 cats since January from FIP.”
Although he later informed the Cyprus Broadcasting Company that the determine was a tough calculation primarily based on an estimate of a 20-30 per cent mortality fee among the many island’s roughly 1 million cats.
Martha Canon, feline specialist and co-owner of Oxford Cat Clinic, informed Occasions Radio that in Cyprus “maybe the virus has developed a brand new variant which is way more transmissible and way more often inflicting this lethal situation”.
However she famous that “we don’t have any proof that this extra lethal variant has acquired to the UK”, though there’s a “frequent switch” of cats from Cyprus to the UK “so we’re completely recommending that no cat ought to go away Cyprus with out being examined for coronavirus”.
What are the signs of feline coronavirus?
The primary indicators of FIP are imprecise and signs could be widespread to different circumstances. They embody fever, weight reduction, decreased urge for food and lethargy.
If the cat’s immune system can’t clear the virus at this stage, the situation will progress to one of many two most important types of the illness – ‘moist’ and ‘dry’ FIP – though some cats might develop each on the similar time.
Signs of moist FIP embody a swollen tummy as a result of illness fluid increase within the stomach. This may also occur within the chest cavity inflicting respiration issues.
Signs of dry FIP embody weight reduction, vomiting, lethargy, and irritation that may have an effect on varied organs comparable to eyes, kidneys, lungs or pores and skin.
In each instances, as soon as the signs seem they may progress quickly in a matter of days or even weeks.
Dr Alison Richards, head of scientific providers at Cats Safety, mentioned: “If you’re involved about your cat we might all the time suggest taking them to the vet for an examination.
“Widespread signs to look out for are lethargy, fever and your cat going off its meals, although the signs can differ between cats.”
However Roisin Bolger, veterinary analysis and requirements lead at charity Blue Cross, informed FactCheck that “many different ailments present related indicators, so for those who discover any of those in your cat, it’s suggested to see your vet”.
She added: “FIP is just not simple to diagnose, your vet might have to take blood exams or carry out ultrasound scans and take fluid samples out of your cat.”