Background: The epidemiology of feline calicivirus (FCV) infection in cats with idiopathic cystitis (FIC) has not been investigated by contemporary molecular biologic methods.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of and evaluate risk factors for FCV viruria, oral carriage, and virus neutralizing (VN) antibodies in cats with and without FIC.
Animals: Cats with nonobstructive FIC (n = 47), obstructive FIC (n = 22), and FCV upper respiratory tract infection (URI; n = 25), and healthy client-owned (n = 18) and colony-housed (n = 24) cats.
Methods: Oropharyngeal secretions and urine were evaluated with a FCV p30 gene-based real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay. Serum VN antibody titers were determined by a modified microtiter assay. Associations of risk factors with log-transformed antibody titers were determined by multivariable generalized linear regression.
Results: FCV viruria was detected in 4 (6%) and 3 (12%) cats with FIC and URI, respectively. In 3 FIC cats, viruria was unassociated with detectable oral virus carriage. Oral FCV carriage was detected in 7 (10%) FIC cats. Median antibody titers were significantly higher in cats with obstructive FIC (1 : 256), nonobstructive FIC (1 : 128), and URI (1 : 512) compared with healthy client-owned (1 : 16) and colony-housed (1 : 4) cats (P < .001). Other than disease, multivariate analysis did not identify any other explanatory variables for increased titers in cats with FIC or URI.
Conclusions and Clinical Importance: FCV viruria was detected in cats with FIC and URI, however, its etiologic significance is uncertain. Serologic results suggest increased FCV exposure in FIC cats compared with controls. Further investigations are needed to clarify the potential role of FCV in FIC.