An epizootic of feline herpesvirus, type 1 in a large specific pathogen-free cat colony and attempts to eradicate the infection by identification and culling of carriers

Mary A. Hickman, Gerhard H. Reubel, Diane E. Hoffman, James Morris, Quinton Rogers, Niels C Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study describes the clinical course of an inadvertent feline herpesvirus, type 1 (FHV-1) outbreak in 2 specific pathogen-free (SPF) research and breeding colonies housing 690 cats and assesses a programme that was designed to eradicate the virus from the colonies. The clinical signs observed in these cats were milder, with more eye involvement than those previously described for FHV-1 infection and did not include abortion. FHV-1 eradication was based on the detection and elimination of both active and latent viral carriers. Carrier cats were detected by virus isolation from oral swabs before and after corticosteroid-induced reactivation of FHV-1 excretion. Four per cent of recovered cats were actively shedding virus prior to corticosteroid treatment; 21 % of the virus negative cats shed virus after one corticosteroid injection, and 12% of remaining culture negative cats tested positive upon a second corticosteroid treatment 6 weeks later. The colony remained virus free for 8 months after all detectable virus carriers were culled and there was no seroconversion among new kittens. A second epizootic of FHV-1 then occurred among susceptible animals. At this time, all breeding cats that had tested negative after 2 injections of corticosteroids were treated a third time; 23% of them now tested positive for FHV-1. This study demonstrates that corticosteroid treatment can be useful in improving the rate of detection, essential as a basis for decreasing the incidence of enzootic disease, but it is unlikely to detect all possible FHV-1 carriers in large populations of cats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-329
Number of pages10
JournalLaboratory Animals
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 1994

Keywords

  • cats
  • corticosteroids
  • Feline herpesvirus type 1
  • latent infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

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