Module 5: The Case of the Snotty Cats

Did You Know This?

Distributors of quaternary ammonium chloride disinfectants commonly claim that these products inactivate all viruses and bacteria, including parvovirus, panleukopenia virus, and calicivirus, often citing EPA test results as evidence for efficacy. However, several independent studies have conclusively shown that QACs or quats do not reliably inactivate canine parvovirus, feline panleukopenia virus or feline calicivirus.

Importantly, QACs are toxic for cats. Since cats are fastidious groomers, they can inadvertently ingest any chemicals on cage surfaces that contaminate their fur and paws. Ingestion or contact with QACs can cause ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue that resemble those seen in cats infected by FHV or FCV. Cats with QAC-induced ulcers have high fevers, drooling, and pneumonia indistinguishable from cats with virus-induced ulcers. As a matter of fact, there are cases of suspect calicivirus outbreaks in shelters that were actually caused by QAC toxicity.

QACs are not recommended for use in cat housing due to lack of efficacy for panleukopenia virus and calicivirus as well as the significant toxicity potential.


Test Your Knowledge

Here are 3 cats with severe ulcerations of the mouth and tongue. Which one has ulcers due to QAC toxicity?



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