How to Treat Herpesvirus in Cat's Eyes - Herpesvirus Infection in Cats

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. January 19, 2021
How to Treat Herpesvirus in Cat's Eyes - Herpesvirus Infection in Cats

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Feline herpesvirus infection is a common infectious disease in cats that is usually caused by conjunctivitis. This is why inflammation in the eye is a common symptom of herpesvirus in cats.

In this AnimalWised article we're going to explain what herpesvirus infection in cats is, its causes, symptoms and how to treat herpesvirus in cats. Keep reading to learn more about this infection in cats.

You may also be interested in: Most Common Viral Diseases in Cats

What is feline herpesvirus?

Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1), is a virus responsible for most cases of cat flu. It belongs to the same family as the feline calicivirus, and in the same way it is characterized by the existence of different strains that mutate, making the disease present itself in varying degrees of intensity.

FHV-1 causes the development of a respiratory disease called feline rhinotracheitis and it also brings with it the appearance of various eye ailments that can generate life-long consequences.

If faced with any of the symptoms mentioned below, immediately see the vet and comply with whatever instructions he or she recommends. Keep in mind that if treated too late, your cat may suffer from loss or vision or blindness.

How to Treat Herpesvirus in Cat's Eyes - Herpesvirus Infection in Cats - What is feline herpesvirus?

Causes of herpesvirus in cats

Feline herpesvirus is directly transmitted through sneezing, tears and the mucus of an infected cat, not just due to being near a healthy cat but also through feeding bowls, bedding and toys that are shared between sick and healthy cats.

Although this infection is not transmittable to humans, if a person manipulates a sick cat and then fails to take the necessary hygienic measures (including self disinfection and changing clothes), it is possible that it spreads to other felines through fabric.

The infection may not appear for months as the symptoms may appear when the animal goes through times of stress, which as we know is very common in cats when there are changes in their routine. However, this occurs only with 15% of infections. Therefore, if you see any abnormal behavior, it's very important that you take your cat to the veterinarian.

What cats are prone to feline herpesvirus?

Although there is a vaccine this does not completely prevent the animal from getting herpesvirus, precisely because of its the mutability. The vaccine does reduce the possibility of your cat getting herpesvirus.

The situation of some animals makes them more likely to catch feline herpesvirus, such as those found on the street, domestic cats who can go outdoors and animals with tendency to develop eye diseases. Also, the offspring may become infected if the mother is a carrier.

How to Treat Herpesvirus in Cat's Eyes - Herpesvirus Infection in Cats - What cats are prone to feline herpesvirus?

Symptoms of feline herpesvirus

Common herpesvirus in cats symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Secretions in one or both eyes
  • Fever and malaise
  • Anorexia
  • Tearing
  • Inflammation in the eyes

Neonatal ophthalmia may also occur in newborn cats, where it will be unable to open its eyes. The disease may worsen with the development of keratitis (ulcers), synechia (where the iris binds to other parts of the eye) and corneal sequestrum (appearance of a black layer on the cornea). Learn more in our article about common cat eye diseases.

Diagnosis of feline herpesvirus

Symptoms are usually enough to confirm that we are facing a case of feline herpesvirus. Lab tests with blood, saliva and tears from your cat can also be carried out to be completely sure.

How to Treat Herpesvirus in Cat's Eyes - Herpesvirus Infection in Cats - Diagnosis of feline herpesvirus

Feline herpesvirus treatment

As it is a viral disease, where the infectious agent is housed in the host's cells (in this case, the cat), so the treatments should be focused on eliminating the virus without affecting the cat's cells.

In the case of the feline herpesvirus, successful treatment resides in boosting the immune system of the animal so that the body can eliminate the virus. Antivirals, antibiotics and anti inflammatory are prescribed. This will not only relieve the sick cat from their discomfort, but will also fight the virus and any possible secondary infections that could worsen their health. Equally important are the medicines that keep in line the mucus, the obstruction of the nose and the good functioning of the lungs.

Hydration is crucial, whether at home or at the veterinary clinic, depending on the patient's condition. It will also be necessary to assist in cleaning the cat using a soft cloth to gently remove secretions in the nose, eyes and mouth. We must also make sure that they continue to eat a healthy diet.

If you have other cats in the house the infected animal must remain isolated to prevent the others from getting sick. You'll need to disinfect areas and utensils with which they contact, applying effective cleansers that do not cause harm to the your pets.

The person in charge of caring for the sick cat should change clothes and thoroughly wash his or her hands and face before handling other healthy cats.

Remember to stick to the treatment prescribed by your trusted veterinarian. Follow their guidelines and take your cat for a check-up to make sure they have completely recovered from this infection.

Prognosis of feline herpesvirus

In some animals a feline herpesvirus infection can bring long-term consequences. With regard to eye diseases, corneal scarring may appear or cause its opacity; vision may also be affected by constant tearing. The other diseases we have noted may also appear as complications when talking about the symptoms.

In addition, these animals often remain carriers for the rest of their lives: whether or not they relapse in the disease they will be agents of infection for other cats around them.

How to Treat Herpesvirus in Cat's Eyes - Herpesvirus Infection in Cats - Prognosis of feline herpesvirus

How to prevent herpesvirus in cats

To prevent this infection, it is very important to follow your cat's vaccination schedule since they are a kitten. You should also keep up with their regular veterinarian check-ups and deworming schedule.

You also need to take proper hygiene measures, especially if your cat is an outdoor cat or if you have another sick cat in your home.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Treat Herpesvirus in Cat's Eyes - Herpesvirus Infection in Cats, we recommend you visit our Viral diseases category.

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