Feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) causes a severe, immune-mediated disease called FIP in domestic and wild cats. It is unclear whether FIP transmits from cat to cat through the oral route of FIPV infection, and the reason for this includes that FIP is caused by oral inoculation with some FIPV strains (e.g., type II FIPV WSU 79-1146), but is not caused by other FIPV (e.g., type I FIPV KU-2 strain: FIPV-I KU-2). In this study, when cats passively immunized with anti-FIPV-I KU-2 antibodies were orally inoculated with FIPV-I KU-2, FIP was caused at a 50% probability, i.e., FIPV not causing FIP through oral infection caused FIP by inducing antibody-dependent enhancement. Many strains of type I FIPV do not cause FIP by inoculation through the oral route in cats. Based on the findings of this study, type I FIPV which orally infected cats may cause FIP depending on the condition.
Keywords: antibody-dependent enhancement; feline coronavirus; feline infectious peritonitis; oral infection.