Feline calicivirus (FCV), which is a nonenveloped single-stranded RNA virus, is primarily a respiratory tract pathogen of cats, but it also may cause oral ulcers and polyarthritis. Compared with FHV-1, FCV is a less frequent cause of conjunctivitis, though it can cause severe conjunctivitis in some cats (Figure 16.12). Most cats recover spontaneously from FCV infection, although some cats remain chronically infected and shed the virus continuously. In these cats, the virus is harbored in the tonsillar crypts and other oropharyngeal tissues, and can generally be cultured from these sites. Topical ophthalmic antiviral

Figure 16.12. Severe conjunctivitis caused by calicivirus in a 4-month-old kitten from a shelter. The virus was isolated from the conjunctiva.

Medications are ineffective against an RNA virus as all available drugs act by disrupting the DNA replication of viruses.

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