If your cat is presenting multiple symptoms of calicivirus, it’s likely your vet will presume a positive diagnosis and begin treatment. Obtaining a more definitive diagnosis requires more intensive testing. This may involve sampling your cat’s discharge for polymerase chain reaction tests, viral isolation, or immune-histochemical staining. Sometimes, the virus can spread to a cat’s lungs, in which case your vet may recommend a transtracheal wash to obtain additional samples. Your vet might also run potentially costly X-ray and blood tests to rule out other possible causes of your cat’s symptoms.
Once diagnosed, feline calicivirus can be relatively simple to treat. Typically, your vet will recommend prescriptions to manage calicivirus symptoms, including:
- Anti-inflammatory medication to relieve joint pain and lameness
- Antibiotics to manage additional infections
- Topical eye ointment to manage discharge
More extreme cases may require hospitalization to keep your cat fed and hydrated during treatment. Otherwise, your vet will likely send you home with medication. Other at-home steps you can take include keeping a humidifier near your cat’s bed to help clear up their congestion. It’s also a good idea to regularly clean the discharge from their nose and eyes.
Mild cases of feline calicivirus can cost $200 or less to treat.2 However, the more severe the infection, the more treatment your cat will require. If your cat ends up needing hospitalization, the bill could exceed several thousand dollars.2
Most cats receive an FVRCP 3-in-1 vaccine as part of their core vaccines, with several boosters for the remainder of their lives. However, the vaccine only lessens the severity of the symptoms. It doesn’t prevent your cat from becoming infected.
The best way to prevent feline calicivirus is to be aware of who your cat is spending time with. The most common source of infection is other cats. If you’re going away on a trip and need someone to look after your cat, you might want to consider a sitter rather than putting them in a pet boarding facility. Similarly, if you have multiple cats, you may want to isolate the one with calicivirus, so it doesn’t spread to the rest of your furry family.
The costs associated with calicivirus can be a burden to many pet parents. In fact, over 50% of owners aren’t able to afford medical treatment when their pets need it most. But with a cat insurance policy, you could be reimbursed for the cost of caring for your cat if they get diagnosed with FCV. Get a free quote from MetLife Pet Insurance to find out how much you could save while giving your cat the care they deserve.