Felis catus gammaherpesvirus 1 (FcaGHV1), a potential feline pathogen, has been identified in domestic cats from USA, Asia-Pacific and Central Europe. Transmission of FcaGHV1 during territorial encounters, a route not typical for gammaherpesviruses, is suggested by risk factor analyses from some regions. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between FcaGHV1 detection and risk factors, including haemoplasma co-infections, among UK cats to better understand transmission and global distribution of FcaGHV1.
FcaGHV1 DNA was detected in blood samples from UK cats (11.56%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 7.47–16.84; n = 199). Logistic regression analyses showed that entire male cats were more likely to be FcaGHV1 positive than neutered male cats (odds ratio, 3.60; 95% CI, 1.22–10.46). Samples positive for DNA from any of three haemoplasma species had 19 times greater odds for testing positive for FcaGHV1 than haemoplasma negative cats in multivariable analyses after adjusting for age, sex and neuter status. Domestic cats in the UK can be infected with FcaGHV1, confirming that this virus is globally endemic. The identification of neuter status as a risk factor for FcaGHV1 detection provides further evidence to support transmission of this virus during territorial encounters and co-transmission with haemoplasmas is suggested.