Epidemiologic evaluation of multiple respiratory pathogens in cats in animal shelters

J Feline Med Surg. 2005 Apr;7(2):109-19. doi: 10.1016/j.jfms.2004.07.004.


Upper respiratory tract infection (URI) propagates readily within cats in shelters and often results in euthanasia of affected cats. In a case-control evaluation of 573 cats in eight shelters in California in 2001 and 2002, the prevalence of feline calicivirus (FCV) was from 13 to 36%, feline herpesvirus (FHV) was from 3 to 38%, and prevalence of Bordetella bronchiseptica, Chlamydophila felis, and Mycoplasma species was from 2 to 14%. Cats with URI tended to be housed in isolation, dehydrated, and younger than cats without URI, and infected with FHV, Mycoplasma species, FCV, or C felis. Shelters differed in the prevalence of pathogens and many cats appeared positive for infection after about 1 week of sheltering. It is helpful for shelters to understand the risk factors associated with URI in order to evaluate the costs and benefits of treatment and improve their procedures to decrease the incidence of URI within their facilities. Antiherpetics and antimycoplasmal drugs may be beneficial for individual animal care. Results document the utility of comprehensive URI surveillance and herd management for specific pathogens typical in that shelter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Welfare
  • Animals
  • Bordetella Infections / veterinary
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cat Diseases / microbiology*
  • Cat Diseases / transmission
  • Cat Diseases / virology
  • Cats
  • Chlamydophila Infections / veterinary
  • Coronavirus Infections / veterinary
  • Environment, Controlled
  • Herpesviridae Infections / veterinary
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Incidence
  • Mycoplasma Infections / veterinary
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / veterinary*
  • Risk Factors