All about feline herpesvirus


At ExpertAnimal we know that the most important thing for you is the health and well-being of your pets, because you understand the responsibility of adopting a furry companion and the care and affections that you must give him so that he grows up being a happy and healthy animal. That is why we want to provide you with the most detailed information about everything that can happen to your hairy, so this time we will talk about Feline herpesvirus, its symptoms and treatment, a very common disease in cats.

It is important to go to your veterinarian for any unusual symptoms or behavior to tell you what to do, it could save your cat's life.

What is feline herpesvirus?

Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) is a virus responsible for most cases of feline flu. It belongs to the same family of feline calicivirus, and like this it is characterized by the existence of different strains that mutate, causing the disease to occur in different degrees of intensity.

FHV-1 causes the development of a respiratory disease called feline rhinotracheitis, although it also brings with it the appearance of various ocular ailments that can generate sequels for life.

Before any of the symptoms that we will mention later, an immediate visit to the veterinarian and compliance with its instructions is recommended, since a carelessness in the treatment or taking the pet too late to be diagnosed can lead to the development of bacteria in the eyes, bringing complications in recovery or causing total loss of vision, and even of the eye.

Contamination of feline herpesvirus

Feline herpesvirus it is transmitted directly through the sneeze, tears and mucosa of an infected cat, not only being close to the healthy cat but also through feeders, sanitary beds and toys that share sick animals with healthy ones.

Although it is not transmitted to humans, if a person manipulates a sick cat and then does not take the necessary hygienic measures (which include disinfecting and changing clothes), it is possible that spread to other cats Through the web.

The infection can be the opposite of remaining without manifesting for months or years, appearing symptoms when the animal goes through moments of stress, which as we know are very common in cats when changes occur in their routine. However, this occurs only with 15% of infections.

Which animals are more likely to get it?

Though there is a vaccine, this does not completely prevent the animal from contracting the virus, due precisely to its mutability. However, reduce this possibility.

The situation of some animals makes them more likely to become infected with feline herpesvirus, such as those found in the street, domestic cats that lead a life abroad and animals with a tendency to develop eye diseases. Also, the young can be infected if the mother is a carrier.

What are the symptoms?

The most frequent symptoms Feline herpesvirus are as follows:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Eye secretions in one or both eyes (tearing and / or lizards)
  • General discomfort
  • Apathy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sneezing

In the case of the newborn kitten, neonatal ophthalmia may occur, which is the inability to open the eyes. Unless treated in time, ulcers, a black layer on the cornea may appear, or the iris may join with other parts of the eye.

If our friend has any of these symptoms, we must take it urgently to the vet.

Symptoms of feline herpesvirus

Be attentive and go to the veterinarian if they have the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Secretions in one or both eyes
  • Fever and malaise
  • Anorexy
  • Tearing

In newborn cats, it can occur neonatal ophthalmia, that is, inability to open your eyes. The disease can be aggravated with the development of keratitis (ulcers), synechiae (the union of the iris to other parts of the eye) and corneal sequestration (appearance of a black layer on the cornea).

Diagnosis and treatment

When we take it to be examined by a professional this will perform a blood, saliva and tear test to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible by prescribing antiviral, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications. This will strengthen the immune system, which can fight the virus more easily.

Anyway, this is not enough. At home we have to keep the cat well taken care of, making sure you drink enough and that your eyes, nose and mouth are very clean. For this purpose, we must use sterile gauze and some warm water.

In addition, we may not like the food we give regularly and have to change it. If so, we can try cans of wet feed or homemade chicken broth. If you still don't feel like eating, you will have to give him liquid food using a syringe without a needle.

If we have more cats, the patient will have to be in an isolated room to avoid being infected. Every time we go to take care of it, we will have to clean our hands well and change our clothes to minimize the risk of infection.

Likewise, we will have to give him a lot of love and keep him company all we can so that he has strength and can get ahead.

Feline Herpesvirus Treatment

Being a viral diseaseIn an infectious agent it is housed in the host's cells (in this case, the feline), so the treatments must be focused on eliminating the virus without affecting the animal's cells.

In the case of feline herpesvirus, the success of the treatment lies in strengthening the animal's immune system so that the body can rule out the virus. They are prescribed antivirals, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. This not only relieves the cat's discomfort, but the virus is fought and secondary infections that could aggravate his health are prevented. Medications that keep mucus, obstruction of the nose and the proper functioning of the lungs are equally important.

The hydration It is crucial, either at home or in the veterinary clinic, depending on the patient's condition. Also, it will be necessary to assist the cat in its cleaning, using a soft cloth for remove gentlythe secretions of the nose, eyes and mouth.

The diet should not be neglected. If tempting your pet with your favorite food does not work, you should resort to assisted feeding using a syringe and liquid food.

If there are other cats in the house, the infected animal must remain isolated of them to prevent them from becoming infected. In the same way, disinfect the spaces and utensils with which it has contact, applying effective cleaners that do not harm the animal.

The person in charge of caring for the sick animal should change clothes and wash hands and face very well before coming into contact with the other healthy cats in the environment.

In some animals, feline herpesvirus infection can have long-term sequelae. With regard to eye diseases, they may appear corneal scars or cause the opacity of it, including, vision can be affected by a constant tearing. The other diseases that we point to as complications can also appear when we talk about the symptoms.

In addition, these animals usually remain as carriers for the rest of their lives: whether or not they fall back into the disease, they will be contagious agents for the other felines around them.

Can feline herpesvirus be prevented?

100% no, but yes, it can be prevented. The most important thing is to take the cat to get the necessary vaccinations and reinforcements. Likewise, It is convenient to feed it with a high quality feed, that does not have cereals, so that it can grow and stay strong enough so that, when the time comes, your body can better overcome infections.

As we can see, feline herpesvirus is a very serious disease that, as soon as the first symptoms appear, should be taken to the vet by the furry.

Feline Herpesvirus Prevention

The most important thing is to follow the vaccination schedule of the cat from puppy and repeat reinforcements of the dose every year, this reduces the chances of contracting the disease and, where appropriate, reduces the severity of the disease.

Take the necessary hygiene measures when you have a sick animal at home, in a shelter or in a residence, to prevent the outbreak from spreading to the rest of the cats and becoming an epidemic.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Feline herpesvirus - Symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our Viral Diseases section.