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What is Calicivirus?

We understand that many of you have questions about the recent viral outbreak at the Prince William Animal Shelter.  We are here to support our clients and answer any questions you may have, so please feel free to give us a call.

What is calicivirus?

Calicivirus is a virus that is can cause an upper respiratory infection and oral disease in cats.

I adopted my pet from the shelter and now the shelter has this virus outbreak what should I do?

This is an upper respiratory virus.  Your kitty may or may not develop signs of upper respiratory infection.  Your cat should be vaccinated for this virus by Caring Hands Animal Hospital or the shelter.

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What signs should I watch for?

Symptoms of calicivirus should start with in 7 days of a exposure to the virus.  Watch for sneezing, runny eyes, and/or discharge from the nose or eyes.  Also keep an eye out for decreased activity or appetite.  In addition to the upper respiratory signs, cats can also develop ulcers in their mouth.  An indicator of this can be salivating or drooling excessively.

What should I do if I see these signs?

Please call and make an appointment so we can assess if your pet needs to be have medication prescribed in order to help support your cat through the viral infection.

Why did the shelter put so many cats to sleep?

Upper respiratory infections are often very contagious and spread quickly.  A cat can be exposed to the infection through direct contact with an infected cat or by being around objects that have been contaminated with infectious secretions.  In a stressful and crowded environment cats are also more susceptible to viral infections.

In order to gain control of the virus and to prevent further spreading, unfortunately the shelter needed to humanely euthanize the actively sick cats.

Should I have my cat tested for the presence of the virus?

In an individual pets health plan, knowing which upper respiratory virus does not impact how we are going to treat the patient.  In a shelter setting, it is important to know which upper respiratory virus to be able to know how to stop the spread of the virus.  If you suspect your cat is sick or showing signs of illness, please call us to schedule an appointment immediately.