Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Cat pox disease

Synonym(s): Cow Pox

Contributor(s): David Godfrey, Kim Willoughby

Introduction

  • DNA virus, first recognized in 1977 Cat pox virus.
  • Cause: infection with pox virus.
  • Signs: the primary lesion looks like an unhealing bite. Secondary lesions start as macules and progress to ulcerated papules or nodules often with crusts.
  • Diagnosis: presentation, histopathological examination of biopsy, virus isolation, serology, electronmicroscopy of scab.
  • Treatment: symptomatic only.
  • Prognosis: good unless immunosuppressed.
    Print off the owner factsheet Cat pox Cat pox to give to your client.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • A bite from an infected rodent.
  • Grooming existing lesions.
  • Possible transmission from cat to cat has been reported but is not the norm.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Hunting rodents, so it is unlikely in indoor-only cats although possible in cats with access to outdoor runs.

Pathophysiology

  • Infection possibly from bite of infected rodent   →   replication in skin.
  • Spread to local lymph nodes.
  • Viremia develops.
  • Secondary pox lesions on skin, in mouth and sometimes in the respiratory tract.

Timecourse

  • Prodromal signs, ie lethargy 1-2 days.
  • Recovery in 2-3 weeks once skin lesions develop.
  • May spread to involve the lungs.
  • Systemic spread linked to immunodeficiency, eg FIV Feline immunodeficiency virus disease, FeLV Feline leukemia virus disease, treatment with steroids, although cases with systemic spread but without an obvious cause of immunodeficiency are seen.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Möstl K, Addie D, Belák S et al (2013) Cowpox Virus Infection in Cats: ABCD guidelines on prevention and management. J Feline Med Surg 15 (7), 557-559 PubMed
  • Godfrey D R, Blundell C J, Essbauer S et al (2004) Unusual presentations of cowpox infection in cats. JSAP 45 (4), 202-205 PubMed.
  • Tryland M, Sandvik T, Holtet L et al (1998) Antibodies to orthopox virus in domestic cats in Norway. Vet Rec 143 (4), 105-109 PubMed.
  • Bennett M (1989) Cowpox in cats. In Practice 11 (6), 244-247 VetMedResource.
  • Brown A, Bennet M & Gaskell C J (1989) Fatal poxvirus infection in association with FIV infection. Vet Rec 124 (1), 19-20 PubMed.
  • Martland M F, Poulton G J & Done R A (1985) Three cases of cowpox infection in domestic cats. Vet Rec 117 (10), 231-233 PubMed.


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