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15 Jul 2022
BVA issues statement following a new strain of feline coronavirus detected in a cat imported into the UK.
A new strain of feline coronavirus (FCoV-23), first identified in the recent outbreak in Cyprus, has been detected in a cat imported from Cyprus into the UK. A cat infected with FCoV-23 may go on to develop Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) which can cause death if not treated.
Feline Coronavirus and FIP are both seen in the UK but existing strains of FIP are not known to spread between cats. The speed at which FCoV-23 spread across Cyprus suggests that this new virus is behaving differently and that it is being spread from cat to cat, most likely via faeces. This is a concerning change.
BVA President Anna Judson said: “The arrival of FCoV-23 in the UK is highly concerning, but so far this looks to be an isolated case in an imported cat, and action has been taken to minimise any spread of the virus. There is no known risk to people but pet owners should remain vigilant, because the virus can cause Feline Infectious Peritonitis, which if left untreated can be fatal to cats. If owners have any concerns about their pet, they should speak to their vet immediately.”
“The discovery of FCoV-23, combined with the increasing cases of Brucella canis from dogs arriving on our shores, shows the UK is seriously vulnerable to imported diseases. The Government needs to grasp the nettle on this crucial issue by introducing the long overdue import testing measures BVA has been calling for.”
Treatment is available to treat FIP and owners should speak to their vets if they have any concerns about their pet.
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