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Feline Viral RhinoTracheitis

Feline viral rhinotracheitis is characterized by febrile reaction, rapid onset of sneezing copious occulonasal discharges and ulcerative and necrotic stomatitis and rhinotracheitis associated with presence of eosinophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies in the lining epithelial cells of upper respiratory tract, tonsils, and nicitating membrane.

Incidence of Feline Viral RhinoTracheitis

All the domestic cats and wild felids are believed to be susceptible to the disease, which has a worldwide distribution.

Causes of Feline Viral RhinoTracheitis

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis is caused by a single strain of feline Herpes virus-I (DNA virus), which is stable at room temperature. The virus is sensitive to chloroform and acids. The disease is often complicated with feline calcivirus and secondary bacterial infections caused by streptococci, pasteurella, mycoplasma, bordetella, etc.


The saliva and respiratory discharges of clinically affected or carrier animals are the source of infection as they are rich in virus material. Transmission of disease occurs by direct contact or through inhalation and ingestion, apart from fomites.

Clinical signs of Feline Viral RhinoTracheitis

The important clinical signs are-

  • Rapid onset of sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Pyrexia
  • Leucopenia
  • Anorexia
  • Copious mucopurulent occulonasal discharges-often stick to nostrils
  • Mild to severe rhinitis
  • Diptheritic and ulcerative glossitis
  • Stomatitis
  • Conjuctivitis

Mortality is higher in young and emaciated animals.

Diagnosis of Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis Disease

1. Clinical signs diagnosis is very difficult. Lab diagnosis has to be made by attempting virus isolation and identification.

2. Electron microscopy study of vesicular fluids.

3. Histopathology of upper respiratory tract including demonstration of Cowdry type- A inclusion coupled with clinical signs


The affected house cats may be treated with antiviral drugs such as 5-iodo-2'-deoxyuridine, cytosinearabinoside and acylogluanocine.


Rhinotracheitis is a fairly mild condition. Chronic rhinosinusitis (sneezing and nasal discharge) is noticed among certain cats. The infection may long last for at least 10 days when secondary bacterial infections develop.

Prevention and Control of Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis

The regimen of Fel-O-Vax as recommended for feline panleucopenia is followed for prevention of feline viral rhinotracheitis disease. The vaccine reduces the incidence of the disease but does not prevent infection.

Related Resources


Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis

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