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Do breeders test for FCoV

Discussion in 'Cat Breeding' started by mootie, Apr 18, 2011.


  1. mootie

    mootie PetForums Junior

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    Do many breeders test for this.A few people on another thread said about getting a test done for this,some say it is a waste of time and results can change so quickly.What do breeders think?
     
  2. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    Some do routinely (sticking my neck out I'll call them a very small minority) and some don't. What prompts most breeders to test for FCoV is having had a problem with FIP whatever the scale of the problem might be/have been. As a result, many breeders choose not to discuss the subject on forums such as these or in breeding circles, even if they are doing their utmost to prevent a reoccurrence; unfortunately there is still a lot of stigma attached to FIP... and then there are those who choose to do nothing, even in the face of (pretty rare) multiple confirmed cases of FIP.

    Coming up to two years ago a kitten I bred was put to sleep with suspected FIP. Prior to that, I had not experienced any problems with FIP for almost twenty years. In between times, for 15 years of those 18 to 20 years (forgive me, memory not perfect), I did not FCoV test as I considered by that time, by any standard or 'expert' opinion, my breeding household to be very low risk.

    For me, it's a case of now doing what I can without being constantly in fear of it. I resumed FCoV testing as I want to, as far as I can, remove the possibility of it happening again but I'm under no illusions. I 'manage' my cats no differently - with one exception re possible early weaning - than I did two years ago because the truth is I already 'managed' my cats/kittens in a certain way; when all is said and done there is little or nothing more that I COULD have done. A few of my cats were FCoV+, a few FCOV-. Last year, with the two girls who tested positive 4 weeks post birth, their kittens were early weaned (no, not at 4 weeks!) and tested at 13 weeks - all were negative. Diane Addie and the information on her web site is the most frequently quoted source of being the last word on FcoV/FIP, yet other eminent (some might say even moreso than Ms Addie) opinion greatly differs in many aspects.

    The dilemma for many breeders is that at some point we all have to go out to stud or buy a kitten from another breeders. We don't 'have' to show but many of us do and I defy anyone who tells me it isn't perfectly possible to bring FCoV home from a show. So you'll understand why I am very sceptical about those breeders who proclaim they are "FCov free" without repeated testing, on every cat, after every show, after every trip into a breeder's home or to the vet... ad nauseum.

    I know you're looking for an FCoV free kitten as a result of what sadly happened to your kitten. Ironically, I think you probably have a better chance of acquiring such a kitten from a breeder who HAS has experienced FIP and who is actively working (for what it's worth, some might say) towards not repeating that. But the only way of guaranteeing that is for the kitten to be tested no earlier than 13 weeks old (and sorry to blur the issue but some opinion refers to not FCoV testing earlier than 16 weeks old due to the possibility of maternal antibodies still being present) and isolated and (successfully) barrier nursed for a few days before joining you.
     
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  3. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    Sorry, I wanted to add something else but needed to stop somewhere with my horribly lengthy post :) A general worry for me is what happens to FCoV- negative kittens post leaving the breeder. It throws up several questions - does the owner have other cats that are FCoV+ thus putting a negative kitten at greater risk? Does the owner plan on introducing other kittens; will they also be FCoV free? A part of me believes that, for some breeders who proclaim their cats/kittens to be FCoV, it's a case of 'phew, well, at least it didn't come from here'. Of course I'm not that implying that the breeder wouldn't care... but I think the above are realistic questions which, if the breeder has the kitten's future welfare uppermost, must surely be taken into consideration.
     
  4. angel a

    angel a PetForums Junior

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    Hi gskinner, I tested all my kittens last year prior to going to their new homes and thankfully they were all negative. But as you rightfully said, a negative kitten is at risk from a multi cat household where FCoV may already exist without the knowledge of the owner. Although I am always very fussy where my babies go, last year I was even more so because I knew they were FCoV negative. I tried to educate the new owners the dangers of introducing another kitten and the dangers that lurk when allowing them outside, not just from FCoV but the other nasties as well. I really dont know what else as breeders we can actually do?
     
  5. popoki

    popoki PetForums Member

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    Interesting question.

    Not a breeder, but what about the kittens that test positive?
     
  6. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    Unfortunately, I don't think there *is* any more we can do. FCoV testing, for me, kind of takes away one real concern but adds another in the form of negative kittens going to multicat households. As you've said, I suppose all you can do is try to educate the new owners.
     
  7. mootie

    mootie PetForums Junior

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    Thankyou so much for that honest and thorough reply.Before my cat passed away with FIP,i had never given FCoV a second thought. What i understand is that you could pass it on at shows,on your feet at the vet etc,so really can you ever be really sure your cat won't come into contact with it. FIP has really scared me,and now i feel quite stressed at the thought it may come into my house again.
     
  8. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    I've not yet been in that situation. With the girls who were positive last year, the kittens were early weaned and all tested negative. The kittens from the girls who were negative were at absolute minimal risk as I don't mix litters of kittens together. There is always that very small chance of cross infection but I, for one, am not prepared to put 13 week old kittens through the stress of blood tests (in most cases blood needs to drawn from the jugular) unless I feel it absolutely necessary. Bear in mind that this disease killed one cat - the the very best of my knowledge - I have bred in the last 18 years.

    I'll cross the bridge of any future possibly positive kittens when I get to it, if that happens. I would probably strongly consider single cat homes for them and there are always those homes where people do not want a '0' titre kitten as they have existing cats that are positive. I have probably bred and placed in new homes many kittens over the years that were FCoV+, as have the vast majority of other breeders and shelters alike, bearing in mind that coronavirus is more common and widespread amongst all cats than the common cold is in humans. You can only do what you can without allowing the worry of it to become all consuming.
     
  9. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    Mootie, I hope I didn't add too much to your worries. I personally still believe that prolonged contact and litter tray sharing is the main route of FCoV infection. Though I mentioned other methods of transmission, that was more with breeders in mind, because of their activities within their hobby such as showing, visiting other breeders' homes, going out to stud, etc. Those activities also tend to put cats under more stress and we all know that stress is a big factor in triggering the mutation from FCoV into FIP.

    I still believe though that, for the average pet owner, the risk of introducing coronavirus to a previously coronavirus free cat/kitten is very minimal indeed. But believe me, I know how hard it is to shake off the fear of it happening again.
     
  10. popoki

    popoki PetForums Member

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    Thanks gskinner123 - I find it really interesting to hear from a breeders perspective. When we were doing research into breeds before we got our kittens, we found a blog of an abyssinian owner who had one cat die from FIP. We looked into it and thought - oh it's so rare, that's one disease we don't need to worry about. How wrong we were. :(

    mootie, I really feel for you and your worries, but it is rare and you just have to remember that and try to put it into perspective. I know it's easier said than done though. We debated getting our new kitten tested, but by the age they can be tested we know we'd already have fallen for him and the results of being a positive test don't really mean anything anyway as chances are it'll never mutate into FIP. Admittedly there is a risk but we're prepared to take it.

    Also, as gksinner points out that stress can trigger the mutation and having witnessed what poor Kiki went through on the jugular blood tests, which was highly stressful, and I wouldn't want to do that to a FCoV positive kitten.

    What really helped us was finding a breeder we could voice our concerns to, be totally honest and open about the situation. She was great, she's never had a case of FIP to her knowledge (and she's the kind of breeder who would know!) and she went off and read up about it and was so supportive it really helped us to put the risk into some kind of reality rather than the constant fear we'd been living with before.

    I'm so sorry you lost your kitten to this, but if you're looking for a breeder find one you can talk to about your worries and most importantly one that understands FIP.

    Wishing you luck in your search, feel free to PM me if you want to talk.
    xxx
     
  11. angel a

    angel a PetForums Junior

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    I dont think I can add anything more to this discussion really, just to reiterate that the chances of randomly introducing the virus back into your house are minimal. so please try not to worry
     
  12. Cooniemum

    Cooniemum PetForums Junior

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    I remember my vet telling me once that she would be willing to test for FCoV but that the presence of a positive titre level didn't always mean that your cat had FCoV, just that it had encountered it in the past. As long as you keep your cats in small groups ie 3 or less, they tend to get over the virus by themselves as it can only mutate to a different form of the virus in bigger groups.

    A friend of mine bred FCoV negative cats by early weaning at 4 weeks old....they went to their new homes and died of FIP because they came into contact with the virus when they were older and had no previous immunity to it or way of dealing with it.

    It is very difficult but it is thought to be in around 90% of cats, both pedigree and domestic. The chances of it developing into FIP are based on 2 factors - genetics and FCoV strain. If your cat is one that constantly has a high titre reading and the strain is the specific one that will mutate then it may go into FIP. Most cats have it in their systems and get over it, get it again, get over it again etc etc.

    It isn't talked about much at all but it is the same as a lot of the other cat viruses - most breeders have something in their house whether they admit to it or test for it or not....it is just how it is handled and how the cats and kittens are cared for. When you go to stud or accept a girl to your stud, the standard test is for FIV and FELV but what about FHV and FCV and FCoV? These can lay dormant and vaccines only work some of the time. Even the tests can be misleading as you can get false negatives and false positives.

    I don't think it is possible to have a multicat household without any virus at all and as scary as it sounds, breeders and multi cat owners can only do their very best.
     
  13. Cerridwen

    Cerridwen PetForums Member

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    I don't test for FCoV. I run a small cattery (maximum 3 adults at home), breed one litter maybe once a year and I stay away from blood lines with multiple FIP cases.

    Keeping a low stress level at home and avoiding blood lines with apparent health issues prevent lots of health problems, including FIP.

    So far it's been a success. It's worked for 10 years, I'm gonna give it another 10 years unless something drastic happens.
     
  14. angel a

    angel a PetForums Junior

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    What a brilliant plan...lets all bury our heads in the sand together...
     
  15. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

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    I'm not sure what else you think we should do. Anyone who has answered this thread has obviously thought about their protocols and will be taking as many precautions as sensibly possible.
     
  16. angel a

    angel a PetForums Junior

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    Well I think that breeders that post replies like Cerridwen are burying their heads in the sand ..... *fingers crossed* her ten year plan works...
     
  17. Cooniemum

    Cooniemum PetForums Junior

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    But cerridwens protocol is exactly how you should deal with fcov - keep your cats in small groups and keep them calm and stress free. If there is fcov in the cattery, that is exactly how dr addie says it should be dealt with to clear it.
     
  18. havoc

    havoc PetForums VIP

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    So I'll repeat the question, or at least make it clear - what do you think she should be doing differently?
     
  19. gskinner123

    gskinner123 PetForums VIP

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    Cerridwen, I agree with your thinking. With cats managed (sorry to keep saying 'managed' but it's the only one-word term I can think of to describe what we're all aready aware of) in a certain way and no losses to FIP in 10 years. Well, why would anyone test in those circumstances?
     
  20. angel a

    angel a PetForums Junior

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    I know most breeders don't routinely test for FCov, and luckily most breeders dont have calls from distressed kitten owners to say their kittens have died from suspected FIP, (suspected, as FIP can only be fully diagnosed after a post mortem as I understand it). However for the last couple of years a lot of my kitten enquires have been from people who had lost kittens of various breeds to FIP. My first question has always been "have you informed the breeder" and 9 times out of 10 the answer was no, or the breeder says she hasn't had a problem before. Their stories are heart breaking, I probably shouldn't breed because I am too soft hearted and take on everyone elses problems. This thread was started by a distressed owner of a kitten that died. Personally I try to do everything I can to protect my kittens, and their new owners, and if that means testing kittens for FCoV before they leave then so be it.
     
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