If your kitty is sneezing, congested, or has watery eyes, feline herpes virus, also known as feline viral rhinopneumonitis, may be the culprit. If left uncontrolled, herpes can become serious and cause eye ulcers and lesions, fever, lethargy, and other symptoms and lead to potentially severe secondary infections.
To minimize the risks associated with recurrent herpes outbreaks in felines, see your vet as soon as you suspect a herpes infection. Treatment can help your cat feel better and your vet can advise you on ways to protect other cats in your household from becoming infected.
10 Tips to Help Battle Feline Herpes:
1. Learn all you can about the feline herpes virus to ensure you are equipped with the right information and tools to manage your cat’s illness. There is no cure for herpes, and taking care of an infected kitty is a long-term commitment.
2. Bring your cat to the vet at the first sign of a new outbreak. An antiviral medication can reduce the severity of your cat’s symptoms and reduce the likelihood of complications. Plus, treatment can help your kitty feel better.
3. Give your cat any antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian. These may be necessary to treat or prevent a secondary infection in the lungs. They are also necessary for treating lesions and eye ulcers.
4. Clean nasal and eye discharge from your cat’s face to prevent skin irritation and prevent transmission of the virus. Use clean, lukewarm water and a soft cloth or cotton ball to gently wipe away wet and dry discharge.
5. Supplement your kitty’s diet with L-lysine or other nutrients, as recommended by your vet. L-lysine is known to suppress the herpes virus and may improve symptoms and control outbreaks.
6. Unless your cat is having trouble eating, continue feeding as normal. If a reduced appetite or discomfort is significant, speak with your vet. You cat may need intravenous feeding to prevent dehydration and ensure continued nutrition. Failure to eat or drink enough can slow recovery, worsen outbreaks and negatively affect overall health.
7. Make lifestyle changes to reduce as much stress in your cat’s life as possible. Limit travel, boarding, grooming and other stressful events. Stress can trigger outbreaks and cause infected cats to shed the herpes virus.
8. Get your cat vaccinated. The vaccine for feline herpes virus is not 100% effective, but it may reduce recurrence and improve symptoms of the disease.
9. Isolate your cat to protect other kitties in your home, and make sure any cat infected with herpes is given her own litter box, food bowl and water bowl.
10. Disinfect all surfaces inside your home to protect other cats in your home. Use a disinfectant or detergent that kills the feline herpes virus.