Role of feline coronavirus as a contributor to diarrhea in cats from breeding catteries
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Virus. 2022 Apr 21;14(5):858. doi:10.3390/v14050858.
(1) Background: Feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection is common in multi-cat environments. A role of FCoV in diarrhea is often assumed, but has not been proven. The aim of this study was to evaluate an association between FCoV infection and diarrhea in multi-cat environments. (2) Methods: The study included 234 cats from 37 catteries. Fecal samples were analyzed for FCoV RNA by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Potential co-infections were determined by applying a qPCR panel on different potential enteropathogens and fecal flotation. A fecal scoring system was used to classify feces as diarrheal or non-diarrheal. (3) Results: Of the 234 cats included, 23 had diarrhea. The prevalence of FCoV infection was 87.0% in cats with and 58.8% in cats without diarrhea. FCoV infection was significantly associated with diarrhea (odds ratio (OR) 5.01; p = 0.008). Moreover, presence of Clostridium perfringens α toxin (OR 6.93; p = 0.032) and feline panleukopenia virus (OR 13.74; p = 0.004) were associated with an increased risk of diarrhea. There was no correlation between FCoV load and fecal score. FCoV-positive cats with co-infections were no more likely to have diarrhea than FCoV-positive cats without co-infections (p = 0.455). (4) Conclusions: FCoV infection is common in cattery cats and may be associated with diarrhea.