Skip to content
The danger of feline herpesvirus - knowledge (1)

The danger of feline herpesvirus - knowledge (1)

"Feline herpesvirus infection has no treatment."

What exactly is feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) infection?

Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) is a virus that mostly affects the upper respiratory tract and the eyes in cats. It is passed from cat to cat via direct contact with contaminated oral, nasal, or ocular secretions. A newly infected cat can transmit feline herpes virus to other cats within 24 hours, thus it is critical to seek immediate veterinary care.

The most prevalent virus that causes sneezing and runny nose in cats is FHV-1. Eye structure changes have also been linked to feline herpes infection.

Younger cats are the most vulnerable, but infection can occur at any age. Cats in multi-cat households, shelters, rescues, and catteries are more vulnerable to illness. Outdoor, stray, and feral cats may become sick if they come into contact with diseased cats.

The severity of clinical symptoms associated with feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1) infection varies.

Among the upper respiratory symptoms are:

  • Sneezing
  • Excessive nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Appetite loss
  • Cough
  • Changes in the eyes may include:
  • The discharge of the eyes
  • Chemical eye illness or conjunctivitis (red eye) (enlargement of the pink lining of the eye)
  • Eye color changes
  • Corneal ulceration (scratching or tearing of the clear part of the eye)

Changes in the skin around the face in severe cases may include:

  • Swelling
  • redness
  • Crusting
  • Loss of hair

Feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1) infection causes

The feline herpes virus infects the nose, tonsils, conjunctiva (the lining of the eye), and cornea (the visible part of the eye). The virus may spread through secretions or near direct contact as it continues to replicate (replicate itself). If not treated promptly, the virus can infiltrate the bones surrounding the mouth and nose, causing long-term physical harm.

What exactly is cat herpesvirus conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is a medical word for inflammation of the tissues around the eye. The lining of the eyelid and the third eyelid, as well as the tissue covering the front of the eye or globe, are examples of these tissues. Conjunctivitis can be a primary disease or a complication of another systemic or ocular (eye) condition.

Primary conjunctivitis induced by a highly contagious feline herpesvirus is known as feline herpesvirus conjunctivitis (FHV-1). The most common cause of feline conjunctivitis is herpesvirus infection. Herpesvirus conjunctivitis is usually self-limiting and resolves within two weeks. Many FHV-1-infected cats have no clinical indications of illness (i.e., they have latent infection). Although less than 45% of adult cats with latent herpesvirus infection will suffer recurrent ocular illness, such as conjunctivitis, roughly 80% of infected cats will become permanent carriers and will infect other cats throughout their lives.

What symptoms do feline herpesvirus conjunctivitis have?

Squinting or closed eyes; redness and swelling of the tissues around the eyes and eyelids; eye discharge ranging in color from clear to yellow-green; and upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing or sniffling are the most prevalent clinical indicators of conjunctivitis. These symptoms frequently develop unexpectedly and are particularly common following stressful situations like as travel, flight, surgery, or illness. Suppuration, a condition in which the eyelids and eye surface membranes appear to be fluid, is more typically associated with feline chlamydial infection.

Kittens with herpesvirus conjunctivitis may have an illness so severe that the drained material seals their eyes. In this instance, the eyes must be opened immediately or irreversible damage, including blindness, may occur. These kittens frequently have a runny nose, sneeze, and cough.

"Signs frequently arise unexpectedly and are especially common in stressful settings."

What tests are available to diagnose feline herpesvirus conjunctivitis?

The history and physical examination are used to make the diagnosis. Corneal staining with fluorescein dye is frequently used to examine for ulcers that may be present deep within the mouth, on the surface of the eye, or on a skin biopsy. The most sensitive test for identifying FHV-1 infection is polymerase chain reaction amplification of feline herpesvirus DNA (PCR test). Unfortunately, this test cannot tell the difference between a current infection and a chronic carrier status.asd

If the virus is dormant (the patient shows no clinical indications), diagnostic testing is usually ineffective. P:Because FHV-1 conjunctivitis is associated with decreased tear film secretion, specific testing to measure tear production may be recommended in some patients.

A positive test could indicate that the pet was infected from another sick cat, is now a carrier of the virus, has been vaccinated against feline herpes, or is showing signs of active feline herpes infection. As a result, physical examination, symptoms, and the pet's medical history are frequently used to make a diagnosis.

Feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1) infection treatment

Treatment will be determined by your cat's individual clinical signs and issues. It's crucial to note that most of these illnesses are minor and self-limiting. However, if corneal ulcers occur, it is critical to treat them properly and carefully to avoid irreversible eye damage.

"It is critical to treat corneal ulcers appropriately if they are present."

The following are frequent treatments for recurrent feline:

  • herpesvirus conjunctivitis.
  • Antibiotics used topically
  • Antiviral drugs used topically
  • Antiviral medicines taken orally
  • Drops for the eyes
  • Ointment for the eyes
  • L-lysine is a nutritional supplement that is commonly taken throughout life to assist prevent virus proliferation.
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Two to three intranasal herpes and calicivirus shots each year, which may help boost local immunity.

The severity of the disease, vaccination status, age, and underlying health issues all influence treatment.

There are currently no medications particularly designed to treat feline herpesvirus; however, in extreme cases, human antivirals such as Famciclovir can be beneficial. Famciclovir can lessen clinical symptoms and viral shedding in infected cats' secretions. Topical ocular medicines may be used to treat pets with eye issues.

Acyclovir is an antiviral medicine that is taken orally and can be used in severe or poorly responding patients. Because of the possible toxicity to cats, this drug should only be given to cats who have a confirmed herpesvirus infection, and only at a low dose at first. With this medication, a complete blood count (CBC) test is required every two to three weeks to check the patient's blood.

The foundation of treatment for cats infected with feline herpesvirus is supportive care. The purpose of supportive care is to alleviate more serious symptoms such as pneumonia and physical damage to the nose and eyes. Because the virus is only active for 7 to 10 days, minor infections may not require treatment when symptoms improve.

Hydrating fluids and routine cleansing of the nostrils and eyes are examples of supportive treatment (if they are affected). Furthermore, lysine immuno supplements can limit the virus's ability to multiply. These supplements come in the form of powders, pastes, or medicinal substances. Probiotics that contain Enterococcus faecalis SF68 (for example, Purina FortiFlora) help the immune system.

In severe circumstances, cats may need to be stabilized in a hospital before receiving supportive care at home.

Antibiotics are not utilized in every incidence of feline herpesvirus infection since they are directed at bacteria. If a secondary bacterial infection is present, antibiotics will be administered to combat it as the virus progresses.

What is the outlook for cats with herpesvirus conjunctivitis?

Herpesvirus infection is incurable. Treatment aims to lessen the number and severity of recurrences. The majority of cats respond well to medical treatment and have very normal lives. Minimizing the risk of infection, eating a high-quality diet, supplementing L-lysine on a daily basis, avoiding stressful conditions, and immunization against preventable diseases are your cat's best defenses.

Recovery from feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1) infection and management

If diagnosed early, most cats with herpesvirus symptoms will recover in 10-14 days with supportive care. Severe illness signs can be fatal, especially in kittens and immunocompromised cats.

Physical damage to the skeletal structures of the face can occur in extreme cases or when cats are affected at a young age, causing abnormalities and scars. Physical damage exposes affected cats to further issues such as pneumonia, chronic nose disease, and recurring infections.

FHV-1 prevention

Sick cats are isolated. Cats with upper respiratory infections or aberrant eye droppings should be separated from other cats. Allow your sick pet to utilize separate water bowls, food bowls, litter boxes, toys, and blankets after seclusion.

Clean communal areas and goods. Disinfectants are particularly effective against FHV-1. The feline herpesvirus can only live for 18 hours outside of its host. Bleach easily deactivates it.

Reduce the sources of stress. Allow ample space for multiple cats to drink, eat, and use the litter box without crowding or aggressive behavior. Maintain a regular deworming, enrichment, and rest schedule. Stress in cats can be reduced by using pheromone therapy (such as Feliway).

Vaccination. There is a vaccine available to minimize the symptoms of herpes virus infection in cats. This feline herpes, feline calicivirus, and feline panleukopenia vaccine is a combination vaccine (feline distemper). Cats can receive their first combo immunization as early as 6-9 weeks of age. Booster vaccinations are recommended every 3-4 weeks until the child is 16 weeks old. This requires at least two immunizations for adequate protection. If the booster immunization is not administered within the specified time range, the cat will not be adequately protected and may develop symptoms. Cats are deemed protected two to three weeks following the last immunization shot in the series.

Cats who have been vaccinated are at risk of developing feline herpesvirus and becoming chronic carriers. However, after immunization, these cats exhibit fewer severe symptoms and shed the virus for a shorter period of time than uninfected cats.

It's worth noting that many cats recover completely from herpesvirus conjunctivitis and become lifelong carriers of the virus. Other cats exposed to affected cats may become infected with FHV-1. It is typical for entire families of cats to become infected with FHV-1 and for outbreaks to occur on a regular basis.

-FHV-1 infection in felines: frequently asked questions-

Q:Can feline herpesvirus be passed on to other cats?

A:Other cats are very infectious to feline herpesvirus. It is typically spread between cats through direct contact with the afflicted cat's eyes, nose or oral secretions. It can also spread through shared toys, food and water dishes, and beds.

Q:How long may an FHV-1-infected cat live?

A:Cats that have recovered from the infection will carry the virus for the rest of their lives. Recurrent active infections can arise as chronic carriers (when a cat becomes symptomatic and is able to transmit the disease). These occurrences are frequently linked to stress or other underlying illness processes. The treatment for recurring bouts is the same as for the original illness. Good disease care will lower the frequency and severity of recurrence. Pets infected with feline herpes can have a normal life provided stressors are managed and immunizations are kept up to date.

Q:FHV-1 can be transmitted to humans.

A:While the herpes virus can infect humans, it is not the same virus that affects cats. The feline herpes virus affects only cats, whereas the human herpes virus affects only humans.

Q:Can FHV-1 be cured in cats?

A:There is currently no cure for cats infected with the FHV-1 virus. Your cat can live a normal life if you provide routine care and detect symptoms early

Byamio Mission

Every Byamio product is created with the purpose of analyzing the requirements of each cat, dog, or other pet owner.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions for pet owners, please use the form below to send Byamio a note and provide us with your essential feedback.

By enhancing Byamio's goods, pet owners will have less to worry about and their pets will be healthier for less money.

Cart 0

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping