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Schultz, Emilia, 2023. The occurrence of FeLV, FIV and FeCoV in free-roaming cats in Mara North Conservancy, Kenya : a possible threat to wild felids?. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)



The domestic cat serves an important purpose to households in the Mararienda district in Mara North Conservancy as they protect the house from snakes, rats and other small animals. No previous studies have been performed on the cats in this area and little is known about the populations size and health status. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of the feline viruses feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline coronavirus (FeCoV) in domestic free-roaming cats in Mararienda district in Mara North Conservancy, Kenya. In addition to disease occurrence, another aim was to investigate if the cats, if they carry the diseases, can transmit them to wild felids. These viruses can potentially infect wild felids and lead to the development of disease and even death which makes this kind of research important in a conservational point of view.

Feline leukemia virus is a retrovirus and can cause clinical disease in both domestic cats and wild felids. Transmission between domestic cats and wild felids have been suggested. Feline immunodeficiency virus is also a retrovirus that infects domestic cats and closely related viruses can infect wild felid species. FIV causes a similar disease as HIV in humans with severe immunosuppression (AIDS) in the end stage. Feline coronavirus is a common virus in the domestic cat population but usually don’t cause clinical disease. However, mutation can occur in specific genes of the virus and cause the fatal disease feline infectious peritonitis. Apart from FeLV and FIV, several wild felids are also susceptible to FeCoV and FIP.

100 households were interviewed and 47 cats from different households were sampled and tested using FASTests detecting antibodies for FIV and FeCoV and antigens for FeLV. Of the 47 cats, 27 were females and 20 were males, all estimated to be over 6 months old but younger than 5 years. None of the cats tested positive for either FeLV or FIV while 6 cats (12.8%) tested positive for FeCoV antibodies. Regarding sex distribution, 4 out of 27 females (14.8%) and 2 out of 20 males (10%) tested positive. Regarding interactions and potential disease transmission 7 out of the 100 households interviewed stated that they have seen domestic cats interact with other wild felid species such as African wildcat and leopard. In addition, 90/100 households informed that when a cat died, they threw them out in the bush for wild animals to eat, posing a possible route for transmission to wild animals.

Main title:The occurrence of FeLV, FIV and FeCoV in free-roaming cats in Mara North Conservancy, Kenya
Subtitle:a possible threat to wild felids?
Authors:Schultz, Emilia
Supervisor:Berg, Mikael
Examiner:Hård, Therese
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY009 Veterinary Medicine programme, 330.0hp
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)
Keywords:feline infectious peritonitis, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline coronavirus, feline infectious peritonitis, domestic cat, conservation, Masai Mara, wild felids, Kenya
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal diseases
Deposited On:16 Feb 2023 08:06
Metadata Last Modified:17 Feb 2023 02:01

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