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Calicivirus questions

Species: Cat
Breed: DSH
Age: 1-2 years
My cat has just had all of her teeth removed because of stomatitis. My vet said that she might have calicivirus. I thought that calicivirus just caused sneezing. Can you tell me what the connection is to stomatitis?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Sweetie has stomatitis. The good news is that most cats do extremely well once their teeth are removed. Most cats with stomatitis get severe inflammation because they are reacting to the plaque on their teeth. So, if we remove the teeth then this usually solves the problem. And cats tend to do very well without any teeth!

We have recently discovered that many cats with stomatitis have calicivirus as well. When cats come down with calicivirus then can often get red sore lesions in their mouth. Some cats that get calicivirus can become chronic carriers of the virus. It's these cats that are more prone to stomatitis.

Some cats with stomatitis can be treated with occasional steroid shots (depo medrol) and antibiotics as necessary, but many of them need to have their teeth removed in order for the problem to go away.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thanks for that information. I have two more questions. Should she start being vaccinated for calicivirus? And, should I get my other cats vaccinated as well?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

At this point, the vaccine is not going to make any difference on her stomatitis. If she is a chronic carrier of calicivirus (which by the way, 30% of all cats are) then a vaccine is not going to make that go away or make any difference in her calicivirus state.

If a cat is getting steroid injections for stomatitis then it is not good to vaccinate them. This is because the steroid depresses the immune function, but we need a good healthy immune function for vaccines to be effective.

Now, regarding your other cats, vaccinating probably won't make a difference in whether or not they get affected by calicivirus at this point. They have already been exposed and they are either already carrying the virus or have fought it off and have made antibiodies. The other factor is that we are not sure if the strain of calicivirus in the vaccine is the same as the strain that contributes to stomatitis. Vaccinating is not something that is going to help with stomatitis.

With that being said, however, I would still recommend vaccinating all of the cats because you want to have them protected against other diseases. I believe that all cats, whether indoor or out should have vaccines.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.