Feline Viral Respiratory Disease Complex (cont.)

Chronic Carrier State

Almost all the cats who have been infected with FVR will become chronic carriers. FVR lives and multiplies in the cells lining the throat. During periods of stress (such as illness, anesthesia, surgery, lactation, medication with steroids, or even emotional stresses), the cat's immunity breaks down and the virus is shed in mouth secretions. At this time, the cat may exhibit signs of a mild upper respiratory illness.

Prevention: The most effective step by far is to vaccinate all cats, but even then, control is not 100 percent. Vaccination will not eliminate the chronic carrier states.

This article is excerpted from “Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” with permission from Wiley Publishing, Inc.