Categories: viruses

Feline Foamy Virus (FeFV) – high levels across the USA

FFV affects pumas and domestic cats and is highly prevalent. Photo (modified) JAVMA.

As a concerned cat owner, have you heard of feline foamy virus (FFV or FeFV)? It is not listed in the excellent Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook and yet the AVMA in their online journal recently say that it is present in a high proportion of domestic cats. For example 64% of domestic cats in eight shelters have it in some US states. It is called a Spumavirus and it is a retrovirus.

To measure how widespread it is scientists use the word ‘seroprevalence’ which means the existence of the disease as evidenced by its presence in the cat’s blood (blood serum). I’ll presume that this refers to the existence of antibodies against the disease in the blood.

This is what Katie Burns wrote on Feb 12 2020 in JAVMA News:

Among domestic cats admitted to shelters because of nonowner surrender or that were involved in trap-neuter-return programs, the FFV seroprevalence was 75.0% in Southern California, 52.4% in Colorado, and 41.9% in Florida. Among pumas, the FFV seroprevalence was 69.1% in Southern California, 77.3% in Colorado, and 83.5% in Florida.

So FFV is everywhere in the domestic cat population. And it also infects mountain lions to the same level (78.6% of pumas in three states). There is transmission of the virus between domestic/feral cats and mountain lions. Transmission between domestic cats is said to be through ‘intimate social contact’ and less commonly aggressive behaviour i.e. biting.

So what the hell is it? Well, it seems that the reason why we don’t hear about it is because there are no symptoms of illness but I think this is work in progress. It is said to be ‘apathogenic’ meaning not pathogenic i.e. not capable of causing disease. So the virus is simply present in the body with no effect. Is that correct? It sounds odd that a disease does not cause disease!

However, the virus is still ‘poorly understood’. Can it work in conjunction with well know viruses such as FIV and FeLV and make them worse?

A study published in May 2008 on sciencedirect.com says that cats show no outward symptoms of disease but that an examination of the kidney and lung tissues of the cats by microscope showed changes. The researchers said that more work was needed to assess the significance of the finding.

It was referred to in a study as long ago as 1999. That study said that in domestic cats over 9-years-of-age it was present in over 70% of them. FFV seems to have been under the radar of concerned cat guardians. I sounds a bit like toxoplasmosis in terms of it’s asymptomatic behavior. But the question is whether FFV does have an impact on domestic cat health in hidden way.

Sources: JAVMA, 2 studies and dictionaries.

SOME MORE ON FELINE VIRUSES:

WSAVA says cats should be kept indoors until coronavirus peters out

This advice by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) applies to any country. Dr Michael Lappin the chairman of ...
Read More

Vet explains basic difference between FeLV and FIV (audio)

Dr. Diane Delmain of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine explains the basic differences in an interview by WLTZ First ...
Read More

Can I catch a cold from my cat?

Can I catch a cold from my cat? No, you can't. Most infectious diseases are species-specific. They only affect a ...
Read More

How do indoor cats get colds?

Full-time indoor cats can get colds because the virus that produces the cold can get inside the house where the ...
Read More

Feline panleukopenia puts hundreds of cats from Central California SPCA at risk including at PetSmart

Hundreds of kittens and cats that have passed through the Central California SPCA (some to PetSmart) are at risk of ...
Read More

Animal Adoption Centre and Animal Shelter Screw Up Resulting in the Death of 12 Cats

An animal adoption centre failed on this occasion to vaccinate the cats at their centre. They imported, from a rural ...
Read More

Household bleach kills feline viruses but there is a link between bleach and infections in children

I am just flagging this up, no more no less. A recent study published online in the journal Occupational & ...
Read More
Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

Recent Posts

Second domestic cat tests positive for Covid-19

Currently there is no evidence that companion animals can be a source of the virus.…

1 hour ago

Picture of a Chinese desert cat a.k.a. Chinese mountain cat

This cat should be called the Chinese steppe cat (an area of flat, unforested grassland).…

2 hours ago

How a nursing home cat had the unusual ability of predicting death within the next hours

You may remember Oscar. He is quite famous (actually very famous). He's a fluffy, grey-and-white…

7 hours ago

Netflix film about the battle between Big Cat Rescue and Joe Exotic is a big hit

It's been reported that the feud over big cats between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin,…

8 hours ago

Are cheetahs solitary?

The social organisation of cheetahs is unique among the wild cat species. Females are solitary…

12 hours ago

Talking about a cat at a distance because of social isolation

LEEDS, UK: Pictures of a conversation, posted on Twitter, between neighbours at a distance through…

12 hours ago