What Are the Symptoms of Cat Eye Herpes

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Feline herpes is a fairly common viral infection caused by the feline herpes virus (FHV-1), which affects over 50 percent of cats. This type of herpes can be difficult to detect because the signs are not always obvious. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of cat eye herpes and how this condition is treated.


How do cats contract feline herpes?

Cute grey and brown cats sitting on the grass.

Feline herpes virus, or FHV, is a type of herpes virus that can affect the eyes of cats. It is most commonly contracted during birth when the kitten passes through the infected birth canal. However, it can also be spread through contact with infected saliva, tears, or mucus.

Additionally, it can be spread through contact with objects or surfaces that have been infected with the virus. Feline herpes is most commonly spread through close contact with an infected cat, such as when sharing a litter box, food dish, or bed. It can also be spread to cats through exposure to infected wildlife, such as raccoons or skunks.

FHV can also cause feline viral rhinotracheitis—a contagious viral disease that significantly contributes to upper respiratory infections in cats.

What are the signs and symptoms of feline herpes?

If your cat is suffering from feline herpes, it can experience a variety of symptoms. Noticeable signs to look for include discharge from the eyes, which may be watery or thick and yellow or green in color, conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelid), swelling, redness, and crusting around the eyes. Your cat may also have a fever, be sneezing more than usual, and have a runny nose. In addition, you may notice your cat cleaning their eyes more than usual.

In severe cases, FHV can cause corneal ulcers—open sores on the surface of the cornea. These ulcers can be painful and lead to vision loss if not treated quickly.

How is feline herpes treated?

If your cat is showing any potential symptoms of FHV, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet can perform diagnostic tests to determine whether your cat is infected with FHV. There is no cure for the feline herpes virus, but treatment can help reduce symptoms and prevent further damage to the eyes.

Treatment options include antiviral drugs, eye drops, and antibiotics. Some cats may also require pain relief medications. The goal of treatment is to help the cat feel better and prevent the virus from spreading. Treatment may need to be continued for several weeks or months, depending on the severity of the infection.

Antiviral drugs are the main treatment for FHV. These drugs work by slowing down the virus and preventing it from spreading. The most commonly used antiviral for FHV is acyclovir. If the cat has a secondary infection, such as a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.

Eye drops may also be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and eye discharge. These eye drops may contain antibiotics, antiviral drugs, or steroids.

What can I do to protect my cat from feline herpes?

There are a few things you can do to help protect your cat from feline herpes. One of the most important is to keep your cat indoors, as this will help to prevent it from coming into contact with other cats that may be carrying the virus. You should also make sure that your cat is up to date on vaccinations, as this can help to protect it from developing the disease. Additionally, you can keep your cat’s environment clean and free of debris, which can help to reduce the risk of the cat coming into contact with the virus.

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of the feline herpes virus, as they can cause a great deal of discomfort for your pet. If your cat is displaying any of the symptoms, it is important to take it to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

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