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W08-036: Blood parameters potentially associated with susceptibility to feline coronavirus in Birman cats

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is caused by the feline coronavirus (FCoV). FCoVs are common in feline populations. Many cats are infected but do not develop FIP. Occasionally, the virus acquires the ability to cause a generalized and lethal infection. The immune system of susceptible cats participates in the development of FIP. By contrast, “resistant” cats (those that are infected without showing clinical signs of the disease) mount a protective immune response. Resistant cats shed large amount of FCoVs in their feces that can re-infect susceptible cats, thus predisposing those cats to FIP. The ability to identify resistant or susceptible cats by blood tests would allow the design of breeding strategies to select resistant cats, or to avoid mixing cats with different susceptibilities to the infection, thus preventing mortality due to FIP. This would be particularly important for Birman cats, one of the breeds in which FIP occurs with a high frequency. Several studies suggested that resistant cats have certain changes in their immune response, such as increased lymphocyte subsets, transient increases of pro- inflammatory molecules (cytokines), or increases of or changes in the inflammatory protein α1-acid glycoprotein (AGP). The opposite changes are detected in cats with FIP. This study will evaluate these parameters in Birman cats, to assess whether they can be used to explain the susceptibility of this breed and/or to identify families or individuals at high risk to develop FIP. (Bria Fund Study)

Grant ID: W08-036

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2008

Amount awarded: $14,780

Investigator: Saverio Paltrinieri, DVM, PhD, DECVCP; University of Milan