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Vet J. 2014 Sep;201(3):316-21. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.05.002. Epub 2014 May 6.

Efficacy of passively transferred antibodies in cats with acute viral upper respiratory tract infection.

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Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Munich, Veterinaerstrasse 13, 80539 Munich, Germany. Electronic address:
Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Munich, Veterinaerstrasse 13, 80539 Munich, Germany.
Molecular Diagnostic Unit, Langford Veterinary Services, University of Bristol, Langford House, Bristol BS40 5DU, United Kingdom.
Institute of Animal Hygiene and Public Veterinary Services, University of Leipzig, An den Tierkliniken 1, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.


A commercial hyperimmune serum, containing antibodies against feline calicivirus (FCV), feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1), and feline panleukopenia virus, is available for treatment of cats with feline upper respiratory tract disease (FURTD), but its efficacy has not been rigorously evaluated in scientific studies. The aim of this randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial was to evaluate the efficacy of passive immunisation in cats with acute viral FURTD caused by FCV and/or FHV-1 infection. All cats received symptomatic treatment during the study period. Hyperimmune serum was administered to one group (n = 22) and an equivalent amount of saline was administered to the control group (n = 20) as placebo, for 3 consecutive days. In the treatment group, cats ≤12 weeks old received 2 mL, cats >12 weeks old received 4 mL, subcutaneously once daily and topically into eyes, nostrils, and mouth every 8 h. Clinical signs, including a 'FURTD score' and general health status, were recorded daily for 8 days and again on day 21. FCV shedding was determined by quantitative PCR on days 0 and 21. Clinical signs and health status in both groups improved significantly over time (P < 0.001). Cats receiving hyperimmune serum significantly improved in terms of 'FURTD score' (P = 0.046) and general health status (P = 0.032) by day 3, while cats in the placebo group only improved significantly by day 7. There was no significant difference in the number of cats shedding FCV between the two groups. Thus, administration of hyperimmune serum led to a more rapid improvement of clinical signs in cats with acute viral FURTD, but by day 7, clinical signs had improved equally in both groups.


Feline calicivirus; Feline herpesvirus 1; Hyperimmune serum; Upper respiratory tract infection

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