Article ID: 17-0704
Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is classified into two biotypes based on its pathogenicity in cats: a feline enteric coronavirus of low pathogenicity and a highly virulent feline infectious peritonitis virus. It has been suspected that FCoV alters its biotype via mutations in the viral genome. The S and 3c genes of FCoV have been considered the candidates for viral pathogenicity conversion. In the present study, FCoVs were analyzed for the frequency and location of mutations in the S and 3c genes from faecal samples of cats in an animal shelter and the faeces, effusions, and tissues of cats that were referred to veterinary hospitals. Our results indicated that approximately 95% FCoVs in faeces did not carry mutations in the two genes. However, 80% FCoVs in effusion samples exhibited mutations in the S and 3c genes with remainder displaying a mutation in the S or 3c gene. It was also suggested that mutational analysis of the 3c gene could be useful for studying the horizontal transmission of FCoVs in multi-cat environments.