Tuesday 31 October 2023

Around 10% of Taiwanese domestic cats are infected with hepadnavirus linked to chronic hepatitis in cats

I find the conclusions of this study rather alarming. Scientists in southern Taiwan researched the prevalence of domestic cat hepadnavirus which is associated with chronic hepatitis in cats. They say that it is similar to hepatitis B virus infections in humans. It's the first study to investigate the level of infection in Taiwan although it was first identified in Australia in 2018.

Around 10% of Taiwanese domestic cats are infected with hepadnavirus linked to chronic hepatitis in cats
Image believed to be in the public domain.

They tested 71 cats, eight of which (11.25%) were positive for this virus (DCH). They say that the "study highlights the importance of continuous surveillance of DCH and further research to elucidate the pathophysiology and transmission route of DCH."

The National Institutes of Health tells us that the first hepadnavirus to be isolated from carnivores came from a domestic cat in Australia. It was subsequently detected in Asian and European cats. It is associated with hepatic disease in cats.

Hepatitis is a liver disorder caused by bacterial or viral infections, parasites or metabolic diseases. It can cause the liver to become inflamed and prevented functioning properly or at all.

In a separate study dated 2022 from Japan, the scientists asked whether the "global prevalence of domestic cat hepadnavirus [is] an emerging threat to cats' health?"

In the abstract of the study, they state that it's prevalence rates were "6.5% in Australia, 10.8% in Italy, 12.4% in Thailand, 12.3% in Malaysia, 3.08% in the United Kingdom and 0.78% in Japan."

Separately, hepatic lipidosis is quite a common condition in domestic cats affecting the liver. It can be caused by anorexia, a loss of appetite which triggers this condition. It's characterised by an excessive accumulation of fat (triglycerides) within the liver which leads to liver failure.

The MSD Veteran Manual says that the cause is unknown but linked with a period of poor appetite.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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