Feline herpes is a virus known to cause respiratory complications and conjunctivitis in cats. The illness is caused by feline herpesvirus type-1 and is also referred to as feline viral rhinopneumonitis (FVR). The condition is common, with many cats becoming exposed to the illness at least once in their lifetime. While a veterinarian can confirm a diagnosis and provide treatment, all cat owners should familiarize themselves with this common illness.
How Do Cats Contract It?
Cats come down with the virus by catching it from other infected felines. Sharing food dishes or litter boxes with a cat that has the illness is a main cause of transmission, as the disease can be passed through the eyes, mouth, or nose.
It can also be transferred through shared grooming practices. Some cats can also carry the disease without bearing symptoms and can still pass it along to others.
What Are the Symptoms?
Your cat’s symptoms might have you suspect they have a cold. Bouts of sneezing, congestion, and drooling are common, as are discharge from the nose and eyes and fever.
You may also notice conjunctivitis, or pink eye, which is characterized by redness and swelling. Watch out for lethargy and loss of appetite, too. No matter the cause, these symptoms always warrant a trip to the veterinarian’s office.
How Is It Treated?
Fortunately, most cats with feline herpes will make a healthy recovery. The condition can be diagnosed by a veterinarian through symptom screening and lab tests. If a diagnosis is confirmed, your cat’s veterinarian can prescribe antiviral medications or antibiotics. Eye drops or creams may also be prescribed to control the conjunctivitis. In many cases, the virus can be prevented with vaccinations.
If you suspect an illness in your pet, turn to Rolling Hills Veterinary Hospital. With two locations in Columbia, MO, this veterinarian’s office offers walk-in visits for emergencies, as well as routine services such as checkups and preventive care. See their full list of services online, or call (573) 449-3791 for their Keene Street location. For their Buttonwood Dr. office, call (573) 449-7387.