Objectives: Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an immune-mediated disease initiated by feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection. To date, the only proven route of transmission is the faecal–oral route, but a possible localisation of FCoV in the reproductive tract of tom cats is of concern, owing to the involvement of the male reproductive tract during FIP and to the presence of reproduction disorders in FCoV-endemic feline catteries. The aim of the study was to investigate the presence and localisation of FCoV in semen and/or in the reproductive tract of tom cats, and its possible association with seroconversion and viraemic phase. Methods: Blood, serum, semen and/or testicle samples were obtained from 46 tom cats. Serology was performed on 38 serum samples, nested reverse transcriptase PCR (nRT-PCR) and reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) were performed on 39 blood samples and on 17 semen samples, and histology, immunohistochemistry and nRT-PCR were performed on 39 testicles. Results: Twenty-four of 38 serum samples were positive on serology. Semen samples were negative on RT-PCR and RT-qPCR for FCoV, while all blood samples were negative at both molecular methods, except for one sample positive at RT-qPCR with a very low viral load. All testicles were negative at immunohistochemistry, while six were positive at nRT-PCR for FCoV. Serology and blood PCR results suggest that the virus was present in the environment, stimulating transient seroconversion. FCoV seems not to localise in the semen of tom cats, making the venereal route as a way of transmission unlikely. Although viral RNA was found in some testicles, it could not be correlated with the viraemic phase. Conclusions and relevance: In the light of these preliminary results, artificial insemination appears safer than natural mating as it eliminates the direct contact between animals, thus diminishing the probability of faecal–oral FCoV transmission.

Preliminary investigation on feline coronavirus presence in the reproductive tract of the tom cat as a potential route of viral transmission / A. Stranieri, M. Probo, M.C. Pisu, A. Fioletti, S. Meazzi, M.E. Gelain, F. Bonsembiante, S. Lauzi, S. Paltrinieri. - In: JOURNAL OF FELINE MEDICINE AND SURGERY. - ISSN 1098-612X. - 22:2(2020 Feb), pp. 178-185. [10.1177/1098612X19837114]

Preliminary investigation on feline coronavirus presence in the reproductive tract of the tom cat as a potential route of viral transmission

A. Stranieri
Primo
;
M. Probo
Secondo
;
S. Meazzi;M.E. Gelain;S. Lauzi
Penultimo
;
S. Paltrinieri
Ultimo
2020-02

Abstract

Objectives: Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is an immune-mediated disease initiated by feline coronavirus (FCoV) infection. To date, the only proven route of transmission is the faecal–oral route, but a possible localisation of FCoV in the reproductive tract of tom cats is of concern, owing to the involvement of the male reproductive tract during FIP and to the presence of reproduction disorders in FCoV-endemic feline catteries. The aim of the study was to investigate the presence and localisation of FCoV in semen and/or in the reproductive tract of tom cats, and its possible association with seroconversion and viraemic phase. Methods: Blood, serum, semen and/or testicle samples were obtained from 46 tom cats. Serology was performed on 38 serum samples, nested reverse transcriptase PCR (nRT-PCR) and reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) were performed on 39 blood samples and on 17 semen samples, and histology, immunohistochemistry and nRT-PCR were performed on 39 testicles. Results: Twenty-four of 38 serum samples were positive on serology. Semen samples were negative on RT-PCR and RT-qPCR for FCoV, while all blood samples were negative at both molecular methods, except for one sample positive at RT-qPCR with a very low viral load. All testicles were negative at immunohistochemistry, while six were positive at nRT-PCR for FCoV. Serology and blood PCR results suggest that the virus was present in the environment, stimulating transient seroconversion. FCoV seems not to localise in the semen of tom cats, making the venereal route as a way of transmission unlikely. Although viral RNA was found in some testicles, it could not be correlated with the viraemic phase. Conclusions and relevance: In the light of these preliminary results, artificial insemination appears safer than natural mating as it eliminates the direct contact between animals, thus diminishing the probability of faecal–oral FCoV transmission.
Feline coronavirus; PCR; cattery management; feline infectious peritonitis; prevention; tom cat reproduction
Settore VET/03 - Patologia Generale e Anatomia Patologica Veterinaria
Settore VET/05 - Malattie Infettive degli Animali Domestici
22-mar-2019
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/642912
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