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Prevalence of serum antibody titers against feline panleukopenia virus, feline herpesvirus 1, and feline calicivirus in cats entering a Florida animal shelter

Brian A. DiGangi DVM, MS, DABVP1, Julie K. Levy DVM, PhD, DACVIM2, Brenda Griffin DVM, MS, DACVIM3, Susan P. McGorray PhD4, Edward J. Dubovi PhD5, Patricia A. Dingman MS6, and Sylvia J. Tucker BS7
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608.
  • | 2 Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608.
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608.
  • | 4 Department of Biostatistics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608.
  • | 5 Animal Health Diagnostic Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14852.
  • | 6 Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608.
  • | 7 Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the proportion of cats entering a Florida animal shelter with serum antibody titers against feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1), and feline calicivirus (FCV) and to identify factors associated with seropositivity.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—347 cats admitted to a Florida animal shelter.

Procedures—Within 24 hours after admission to the animal shelter, blood samples were collected from all cats ≥ 8 weeks of age. Serum antibody titers against FPV were determined via a hemagglutination inhibition assay, and those against FHV1 and FCV were determined via virus neutralization assays. Age, sex, environment (urban or rural), source (stray or previously owned), evidence of previous caregiving, health status (healthy or not healthy), and outcome (adoption, transfer, return to owner, or euthanasia) were evaluated as potential factors associated with antibody seropositivity.

Results—Of 347 cats, 138 (39.8%), 38 (11.0%), and 127 (36.6%) had antibody titers ≥ 40, ≥ 8, and ≥ 32 (ie, seropositive) against FPV, FHV1, and FCV, respectively. Factors associated with seropositivity included being neutered, age ≥ 6 months, and being relinquished by an owner. On multivariable analysis, health status at shelter admission, environment, vaccination at shelter admission, and outcome were not associated with seropositivity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most cats were seronegative for antibodies against FPV, FHV1, and FCV at the time of admission to an animal shelter. These findings supported current guidelines that recommend vaccination of all cats immediately after admission to animal shelters, regardless of the source or physical condition.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the proportion of cats entering a Florida animal shelter with serum antibody titers against feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1), and feline calicivirus (FCV) and to identify factors associated with seropositivity.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—347 cats admitted to a Florida animal shelter.

Procedures—Within 24 hours after admission to the animal shelter, blood samples were collected from all cats ≥ 8 weeks of age. Serum antibody titers against FPV were determined via a hemagglutination inhibition assay, and those against FHV1 and FCV were determined via virus neutralization assays. Age, sex, environment (urban or rural), source (stray or previously owned), evidence of previous caregiving, health status (healthy or not healthy), and outcome (adoption, transfer, return to owner, or euthanasia) were evaluated as potential factors associated with antibody seropositivity.

Results—Of 347 cats, 138 (39.8%), 38 (11.0%), and 127 (36.6%) had antibody titers ≥ 40, ≥ 8, and ≥ 32 (ie, seropositive) against FPV, FHV1, and FCV, respectively. Factors associated with seropositivity included being neutered, age ≥ 6 months, and being relinquished by an owner. On multivariable analysis, health status at shelter admission, environment, vaccination at shelter admission, and outcome were not associated with seropositivity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most cats were seronegative for antibodies against FPV, FHV1, and FCV at the time of admission to an animal shelter. These findings supported current guidelines that recommend vaccination of all cats immediately after admission to animal shelters, regardless of the source or physical condition.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the Sweetbay Foundation and Maddie's Fund.

The authors thank Katie Green and Michael Crandall for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Levy (levyjk@ufl.edu).