Maine Coon Feline Coronavirus: Symptoms & Causes – Maine Coon Central

Maine Coon Feline Coronavirus: Symptoms & Causes


Maine Coon Coronavirus

Maine Coon

Cat owners worldwide should be mindful of the Maine Coon coronavirus. This feline coronavirus disease comes in varying strains, some more deadly than the others. So what can owners do, to protect their treasured Maine Coons from contracting the virus.

Feline coronavirus is spread via airborne contaminants and feline feces. Symptoms are mild to severe. Maine Coons with weakened immune systems should be monitored closely for signs of disease. Not all strains of coronavirus cause disease. Homes with multiple cats, or kittens, have higher risk of developing strains of disease.

So what can owners do, to reduce the chance of their much loved companions catching the feline coronavirus? In this article we shall cover key tips and tricks, to help limit your cats chances of developing Maine Coon coronavirus.

What Is The Maine Coon Coronavirus?

What you might not have realised, is that feline coronavirus has actually been around for years, in varying strains. Whilst some virus strains have been more serious than others, most strains of feline coronavirus tend to be less severe, never causing the disease to develop. In cases where the disease does develop though, veterinary professionals often diagnose feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).

Feline coronavirus is spread via airborne contaminants and feces. If your Maine Coon develops Maine Coon coronavirus, their symptoms could range from very mild, all the way up to a more severe feline coronavirus infection.

Feline coronavirus can be fatal for our feline companions, since the virus attacks a cats vital organs and immune system. Maine Coons at greatest risk of developing feline coronavirus, are:

  • Those living in multi-cat houses
  • Maine Coon kittens
  • Cats with weakened immune systems
Feline Coronavirus
Feline Coronavirus Image

Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is the most serious form of coronavirus in cats, and is caused when a particular strain of feline coronavirus mutates within a Maine Coons body. The virus goes on to attack the cats white blood cells, and is spreads throughout the cats body.

This viral disease is deadly for Maine Coon cats, since 95% of cats with this disease die within two months of contracting it. Sadly, no treatment is available (source).

Is Your Maine Coon At Risk?

According to the research, the following Maine Coon cats are at higher risk, of developing feline coronavirus:

  • Maine Coon kittens
  • Maine Coons with weakened immune systems
  • Maine Coons living in multi-cat households

Are Outdoor Maine Coons At Risk?

Although I have not come across any evidence, it seems logical to assume that free-roaming Maine Coons are also at higher risk of catching the feline coronavirus. I have based this assumption on the fact that outdoors cats have an increased chance of interacting with the disease, than cats kept indoors.

This is due to:

  • Contact with other humans outside the home
  • Interacting with other cats who carry the feline coronavirus disease
  • Touching contaminated surfaces 

The Maine Coon outdoor vs indoor debate has been around for many years, and is a highly emotive subject that divides owners across the globe. Momentum for keeping Maine Coons has grown, since many breeders now make their buyers sign a contract stating the Maine Coon kitten will be kept indoors.

If you are interested in finding out more about this subject, click here to read my article ‘Can Maine Coons Go Outside‘.

Symptoms Of Feline Maine Coon Coronavirus

As we have discussed already, feline coronavirus is more common than you would think. Its varying strains make it hard to give owners a definitive answer when it comes to outlining the key symptoms of Maine Coon coronavirus though. It is also commonly mixed up with feline peritonitis.

Symptoms will vary from cat to cat, and are dependent upon:

  • Your cats age
  • Which organs have been attacked by the virus
  • Strain of Maine Coon coronavirus contracted
  • Strength of cats immune system
  • Whether virus is wet (effusive) or dry (non-effusive)

It can be difficult for veterinary professionals to specifically diagnose coronavirus in cats, since the symptoms mimic a variety of other feline health issues.

The most common symptoms of feline infectious peritonitis include:

1. Dry (Non-Effusive) Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Common symptoms of dry, non-effusive, feline infectious peritonitis include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Fever that does not reduce with antibiotics, or pain relievers
  • Depression
  • Jaundice
  • Poor growth in young Maine Coon kittens
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological issues e.g. loss of eyesight
  • Anemia
  • Eye Inflammation

2. Wet (Effusive) Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Common symptoms of wet, effusive, feline infectious peritonitis include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Weight loss
  • Fever that does not reduce with antibiotics, or pain relievers
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluid in chest cavity
  • Nasal discharge
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal swelling (known as abdominal distension)
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Granulomas develop on cats organs

Treatment Of Feline Coronavirus In Maine Coon Cats

Cat immune systems are very effective at fighting viruses that enter their systems. Just like humans, a cat’s body will produce the appropriate antibodies needed to fight strains of varying viruses. Treatment is not usually necessary.

If treatment is needed, the course of action taken will depend upon which strain of feline virus has been identified. Whilst feline coronavirus can be treated, feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is more rare, and cannot be treated.

There are two types of feline coronavirus in cats:

  • Non-Effusive Feline Coronavirus
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis

1. Non-Effusive Feline Coronavirus

Veterinary professionals can treat cats diagnosed with non-effusive feline coronavirus, by prescribing them with a range of medications:

  • Immunosuppressants: Prevent virus mutating
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medicine: Pain relieving medication. Effective at reducing inflammation within cats body.
  • Antibiotics: Effective at killing bacteria

2. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

There is no treatment available for Maine Coons that have developed feline infectious peritonitis. All owners can do at this point, is focus on making their cat comfortable in their final few months. It is estimated that 95% of cats with feline infectious peritonitis will die (source).

Although a vaccine does exist to prevent cats from ever developing FIP, this vaccine is not widely used due to its controversial claims. According to research undertaken, some cats still die of FIP, despite being vaccinated against it.

Preventing The Spread Of Cat Coronavirus

Owners can help to reduce the spread of cat coronavirus, by following these tips:

  • Clean food bowls regularly
  • Clean water bowls often
  • Separate infected cat, from other household pets
  • Disinfect cats living space thoroughly
  • Do not let kitten interact with infected cat 
Maine Coon Coronavirus: Keep cat bowls clean.
Keep Cat Bowls Clean

Conclusion

Maine Coon coronavirus is a feline coronavirus that comes in varying forms. This virus can be hard to identify, due to its close similarity with other Maine Coon health issues, owners should still be alert to the possible symptoms. If identified before turning into the more dangerous feline peritonitis, there is a chance that your Maine Coon can be successfully treated.

And finally …

When you first heard the word coronavirus, you likely thought of the words ‘Covid-19’ in your head. Whilst some newspaper articles report that dogs have been infected with this particularly dangerous strain of coronavirus, there is no evidence (as yet) suggesting that humans can catch Covid-19 from their pets.

Owners confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 should practise good hygiene around their pets. Alternatively, why not ask someone to look after your pet for you, to limit the chance of passing the disease onto your treasured pet (source).

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My names Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a self confessed CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 8 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the names ‘Pipsteroo’, and ‘Pippikins’! Our enormous, kind hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog, and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend!

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