Prevalence of and Exposure Factors for Infectious Diseases in Free-Roaming Cats From Two Florida Counties
Keywords:feral, free-roaming cats, pathogens
Introduction: Ninety-nine deceased free-roaming cats (FRCs) from two nonadjacent counties (Volusia and Alachua) in Florida were used to determine the prevalence of and associated exposure to pathogens postmortem, including Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Dirofilaria immitis, Mycoplasma haemofelis, Mycoplasma haemominutum, and Cytauxzoon felis.
Methods: Humanely euthanized FRCs or those FRCs found dead in the community were submitted for postmortem examinations. Blood samples from these FRCs were analyzed using a combination of antibody, antigen, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays.
Results: Male cats were at higher risk of infection for FeLV and FIV, intact cats were less likely to be infected with FeLV, and cats in the Volusia county were more likely to be infected with FIV. Mycoplasma haemominutum had the highest prevalence of all surveyed pathogens in this study, and infections were only identified in male cats.
Conclusion: FRCs in this study had similar or higher prevalence rates of infections compared to studies assessing FRCs enrolled in trap-neuter-return programs from Florida.
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