How To Prevent Feline Herpes Virus
Good hygiene practices are the best defence against this virus. All bedding and blankets should be laundered with detergent and warm water. Shared bowls, toys, and litterboxes should also be cleaned with warm, soapy water.
You should also make sure to properly wash your hands with warm soapy water after handling a cat with feline herpes virus.
If you have questions or concerns about your cat’s risk of contracting feline herpes virus speak to your veterinarian.
Offer Them A More Attractive Food Option
If your cat is not excited about eating, then offering them a more palatable food option can be a very good way to get them to eat more. Usually foods that offer a higher meat content and contain fresher ingredients are your best bet here. If youre feeding your cat a dry kibble, then swap them out to a fresh or a wet food.
It should be noted that we have not included any raw diets in our list. The reason for that is that cats who are suffering from feline herpes often have weakened immune systems. Raw diets, which can be perfectly good for healthy pets could be dangerous for them. If there is any bacteria residing in the food animals with weakened immune systems are more likely to contract an illness from it. All of the recipes weve chosen include only cooked foods as they are safer for these animals. Heres our picks.
This is a fresh pet food company that delivers meals straight to your door. Everything is formulated by a vet, and the meals are specifically portioned for your cat. The company cooks everything fresh every week, and they only use human grade, fresh ingredients. All of the recipes are very limited in ingredients, making them a great choice for picky kitties. Their Fish Feast recipe will likely be the most enticing to kitties with a weakened appetite and sense of smell.
What Happens To Cats With Feline Herpes
This virus can cause several symptoms in cats which can negatively impact them. These include respitory infections, and conjunctivitus. Cats who experience these symptoms could have other trickle down issues as well. Since these respirtory issues often reduce your cats sense of smell they may be less inclined to eat. In sever cases a cat may even be prescribed an appetite stimulant if it seems that they are losing a lot of weight. If your cat has feline herpes you should monitor them closely to make sure that they are eating.
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What Causes Feline Ocular Herpes
The feline herpesvirus is a highly contagious virus that is one of the major causes of upper respiratory infections in cats and kittens. One of the many potential long-term sequela of exposure to this virus is damage to the ocular and periocular tissues. The virus is transmitted via oral, nasal, and conjunctival routes. The primary source of kitten infections is spread from their mothers at birth or during the first few weeks of life. The symptoms of viral upper respiratory infection usually will last for two to three weeks, however latent herpesvirus often remains dormant in the nerves of the face, eyelids, or corneal tissues. Recurrence of clinical symptoms of ocular disease can return periodically throughout life, especially during times of systemic illness or stress. In one study, 70% of cats shed herpesvirus when administered glucocorticoids .
All About Feline Herpes
- Over 80 percent of cats are affected by the herpesvirus.
- The virus can lay dormant, with symptoms showing during times of stress.
- Symptoms of herpes in cats may include upper respiratory problems such as sneezing and watery eyes.
- Many cats recover from symptoms without treatment. However, severe cases may require medications.
- The FVRCP vaccine for cats can help prevent feline herpes.
Over 80 percent of cats have feline herpes, a virus that hides within the body and can cause symptoms at any time. It can cause a myriad of issues, from a common cold to painful inflammation in the mouth.
How do you know if your cat has herpes? And how is it prevented or treated? Read below to understand this complex condition.
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How Long Is A Cat Infectious After Getting The Virus
Once a cat is infected with FVR, they will usually show disease symptoms in 2-5 days . The cat can infect other cats during this incubation period. In most cases, once symptoms appear the active infection will last about 10-20 days.
“Stress and illness can cause the virus to become reactivated.”
All cats that have been infected with FVR will become carriers of this virus most carriers will be latent, meaning that the virus will survive in an inactive form within the cat’s body. Stress and illness can cause the virus to become reactivated, and if the virus becomes reactivated, the cat will again be infectious. In the majority of cases, the cat will show symptoms of a respiratory infection when the virus is reactivated. However, not all cats with a reactivated FVR infection will show symptoms of disease. All cats that are actively shedding virus present a risk to other cats.
Is Feline Herpes Contagious
Feline herpes is contagious. The virus spreads through respiratory fluids such as saliva and discharge from the nose or eyes, including when a cat sneezes.
Herpes can spread through direct contact or indirectly. The most common cause of indirect contact is peoplewhen a person pets a sick cat, then pets a healthy cat. Indirect spread also occurs when objects are contaminated with the virus. If a sick cat eats out of a food bowl, and then a healthy cat eats out of the same food bowl, the healthy cat could get herpesvirus.
Feline herpes is very specific to cats. Cats cannot give it to humans, to dogs, or to any other species of animal.
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Medication For Feline Herpes
When cats are not very active, are very congested, or have a lot of yellow-green discharge from the eyes or nose, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics. This will eliminate any secondary bacterial infections. Antibiotics will also often shorten the course of disease.
Depending on your cats symptoms, your veterinarian may prescribe either antibiotics by mouth or into the eye. The best choice of antibiotics by mouth for an upper respiratory infection include doxycycline and azithromycin. Some choices of antibiotics in the eyes include erythromycin, Terramycin, tobramycin, or ofloxacin.
While antibiotics may help shorten the length of time your kitty is feeling ill, they will not treat the virus itself. A very common antiviral medication taken by mouth in cats to kill herpesvirus is called famciclovir. It has limited side effects and is most often used when cats have one of the more uncommon conditions, such as keratitis, stomatitis or dermatitis. It may also be used when cats have chronic symptoms related to herpes such as chronic congestion or eye infection.
Diagnosing Feline Herpes Virus
Although it’s one of the most common causes of upper respiratory disease in cats, feline herpes virus isn’t the only thing that can cause upper respiratory signs in your cat. There are subtle differences, though, and you vet will hone in on a diagnosis of feline herpes virus based on your cat’s symptoms, history, and physical exam.
Your vet may perform a test called a fluorescein stain to check for a corneal ulcer caused by severe keratitis. They may also perform a Schirmer tear test to see if your cat’s tear production is abnormally low.
If you want a definitive diagnosis of feline herpes virus, your vet will need to take swabs of your cat’s ocular discharge, nasal discharge, and/or of the back of their throat. These swabs will be sent to a lab where they will undergo a specialized test called a Polymerase Chain Reaction . This test allows the viral particles to be amplified and thus isolated and identified. However, if your cat isn’t in an active stage of infection, there won’t be any viral particles being shed and this PCR test will be inconclusive.
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Treating Feline Herpes Virus With Antiviral Therapy
Feline herpes virus is also known as feline rhinotracheitisor FHV-1. This virus is contagious and infected cats transmit theinfection to healthy pets through the saliva, nasal or eye dischargeand sneezing. Although the treatment works on most pets, cat’s thatsuffer from underlying health conditions and pets with weak immunesystems are likely to succumb to the disease. In order to treat petspromptly it’s important to monitor pets with severe upper respiratorysymptoms and seek medical help.
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What are the clinical signs of FHV?
The clinical signs of FHV vary from mild to severe. Milder forms of the disease may clear with time, while more severe forms can lead to chronic, recurrent infection and more painful disease. The most common clinical signs are squinting of the eye, red, swollen conjunctival tissue surrounding the eye and eyelids, ocular discharge, and upper respiratory signs, such as sneezing or nasal discharge. Cats may also develop uniquely appearing corneal ulcers.
How is FHV diagnosed?
Diagnosis is based primarily on history, physical examination, and ophthalmic examination. Corneal staining is often performed to check for ulcers. Identification of FHV DNA by PCR testing in the laboratory is available for diagnosing infection by FHV-1. Unfortunately, if the disease is not in the active stage, testing is usually not rewarding.
How is FHV treated?
Therapy for FHV is tailored to the cat and its clinical signs, and unfortunately, there is not a single consistently effective treatment for FHV. Treatment is focused on reducing or stopping viral replication and keeping the cat comfortable. Typically, therapy includes topical antiviral drops and occasionally an oral antiviral medication. In addition to treating active disease, it is sometimes recommended to start medications before a known stressor to reduce the severity of a FHV flare-up.
What is the prognosis for FHV?
Is FHV contagious?
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Herpes Virus In Cats: Symptoms And Treatment
What mental picture does the words herpes virus conjure up?
In my mind I see a snuffling, sneezing, snotty-nosed kitten whose eyes are gummed shut. This is because herpes virus is one of the two viruses commonly linked to cat flu .
But herpes virus also stars in its own solo show and causes an illness known as viral rhinotracheitis. Whilst the latter sounds impressive, it basically describes the symptoms because rhino means nose, trache means windpipe, and -itis means inflammation. Pull these altogether and feline viral rhinotracheities means an inflamed nose and a sore throat sounds a lot like flu, doesnt it?
How Can Cat Herpes Be Prevented
Get your cat vaccinated. Starting at about six to eight weeks of age, veterinarians recommend vaccinating your kitten. At one year old, your cat should receive a booster shot and additional booster shots every year after.
Although the vaccine doesnt prevent cat herpes, it can significantly reduce the disease’s severity.
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Symptoms Of Herpes In Cats
Herpes in cats covers a large number of symptoms that we should not overlook, these in many cases can be confused with other diseases, so we must be attentive to them. In many cases the symptoms of this disease can be caused by a calicivirus or herpesvirus infection, if the cat gets this infection it can be deadly, however, with the proper care can be cured in even weeks. Among these symptoms stands out.
In cases where the disease becomes chronic, the animal can see its life compromised, this happens especially in puppies and elderly cats, even in immunosuppressed animals. This flu or herpes is very common in places like shelters since many animals live here together.
The cats most exposed to this disease are the young and those who have not been vaccinated, the elderly and those with a damaged immune system, these become an easy target for many viral diseases. It is important that we know that although a cat is vaccinated can present this disease, however, there is a lower risk of this occurring in these cases.
Cats that suffer from herpes can appear to be in good health, except for some sneezing or nasal discharge. Secondary infections of tissues can cause conjunctivitis, which is nothing more than inflammation of the ocular globule layer, bronchitis, and sinusitis.
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How Do You Treat Feline Herpes
Feline herpes can be treated with a few different antiviral drugs. Some of the most common options include: Systemic antiviral therapy: This is a human anti-herpes antiviral drug, also known as Famciclovir, that has been proven to be safe in cats. It is given by mouth and helps manage severe infections.
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Nursing A Cat With Feline Herpes Virus
Home nursing of the cat with FVR is make or break. Usually these cats feel lousy and have lost their sense of smell, which means they lose their appetite and hitch a ride on a downward spiral of deterioration.
Whilst there is not drug proven to kill herpes virus the vet may prescribe antibiotics against secondary bacterial infections and to protect the cat at risk of pneumonia. In addition, ask your vet if decongestants are appropriate. Usually this is a powder you mix with food that helps to break down mucus and snot. This makes it easier for you to keep kittys nose clean, which helps her smell food and eat.
Keep her nose as clean as possible, and wipe her eyes with cotton balls soaked in boiled water, as often as needed to prevent the eyes gumming shut. To help her appetite chose smelly foods such as fish, and warm it up so that it gives off even more odour. Hand feeding usually goes down a storm as cats love the attention, and also try touching food to her gums so she gets the taste in her mouth.
Stress suppresses the immune system which allows the herpes virus to get a hold, so keep stress to a minimum and consider using synthetic feline pheromones such as Feliway to keep the cats chilled.
Image: Magic Madzik via Flickr
What Are The Symptoms Of Feline Herpes
When I asked the vet about feline herpes, the person declined to comment, not wanting any comments to be construed as treatment advice. The vet was quick to say that, if you suspect your cat or kitten has an upper respiratory infection or eye infection, see your vet immediately for a proper diagnosis.
Let your vet know if your cat has come in contact with any stray cats, was recently adopted or spent time in a vet office with cats who were potentially infected with feline herpes. While antibiotics might be necessary for cats with severe infections of feline herpes, others might respond to treatment with L-lysine, an amino acid that can help prevent the virus from replicating. With her vets guidance, my mother-in-law was able to keep her cats in good health by supplementing their premium diet with L-lysine.
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Alternative To Lysine For Cats: 5 Efficient Options
Lysine is an amino acid that has been promoted for the prevention and treatment of Feline Herpes Virus Type-1 infection. It has proven ineffective and its not without side effects. There are, however, more than one alternative to lysine for cats.
They might be very helpful in boosting your cats immune system and the management of FHV-1. Here are some of them.
How Do You Treat Eye Herpes In Cats
Treating Feline Herpes Conjunctivitis. Your vet may prescribe oral interferon as an antiviral medication to help your cats immune system suppress the feline herpes virus. Antiviral eye drops can help relieve the symptoms of infection, and antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any secondary infections.
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What To Know If Your Cat Has Feline Herpes
Hearing that her cat had feline herpes was cause for recoil, but her vet quickly assured her that it could NOT be spread to humans or even dogs, and it was not the type associated with the sexually transmitted disease in humans. The real bad news was that, by the time of diagnosis, her other cat, Hawkins, had already been exposed to the virus. The only thing to do at that point was move forward with management.
After months of vet visits and antibiotics, Goldie and Hawkins finally stopped showing symptoms of feline herpes. As the vet explained to my mother-in-law, both of her cats were now carriers of the feline herpesvirus, and they might shed the virus when stressed. Cats infected with feline herpes might experience occasional flare-ups of their symptoms, especially in stressful situations, such as being introduced to a new pet, moving or a change in their routine. In this case, lowering stress meant more seclusion from the households other pets some rather rambunctious dogs.
Feline Herpes Causes And Symptoms
Feline Rhinotracheitis typically manifests in cats as an upper respiratory disease, usually accompanied by ocular signs and is caused by a herpes virus . However, infection can manifest with skin lesions in the absence of respiratory signs and ocular lesions. Skin lesions usually follow the path of the trigeminal nerve on the haired skin of the face and nasal planum. The pinnae, paws and ventrum may be affected. Lesions appear as erosions, ulcerations and crusts with erythema and significant swelling. Crusting of the eyelids and ulcerative to interstitial keratitis may be seen.
Differential diagnoses in the absence of respiratory signs include mosquito bite hypersensitivity, eosinophilic plaques, calici virus dermatitis, squamous cell carcinoma, drug reaction, erythema multiforme, pemphigus foliaceus and lupus erythematosus. Diagnosis is via history, clinical signs, viral isolation from oropharyngeal swabs, fluorescent antibody or PCR techniques from conjunctival smears that detect the rhinotracheitis viral antigen and dermatohistopathology. Histology shows an ulcerative and necrotic dermatitis with mixed inflammation often containing numerous eosinophils.
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