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Feline herpes - should I be really worried?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Pixie_Tinker_Bell, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. Pixie_Tinker_Bell

    Pixie_Tinker_Bell PetForums Senior

    Feb 5, 2018
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    I've just started another thread where I explained that Pixie has just been diagnosed with herpes and I was asking about zylkene and lysine supplements. However having done a little bit of reading I'm now worried that this herpes is something much scarier than the vet made it sound. I'm worried about how contagious it is and whether I should be concerned about the other cats, is there anything else I should be doing other than following the vets advice and treatment?

    I'm a little worried in case Blue also has it because she was the first to show the eye problem but hers cleared up with treatment and she's been fine ever since. I know it's pretty much a life long condition, is it going to be life limiting or should we be able to manage it by treating each flare up swiftly? Pixie's symptoms aren't really severe, it's clear her eye is uncomfortable but it's not got any discharge or obvious redness so I'm hoping it's not as severe as some cases. I'm guessing the key is to try catch flare ups as soon as possible to prevent symptoms getting severe?

    Sorry, this has been a bit of a ramble, my anxiety is not good at the moment so my mind has gone into over drive worrying about this now.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks
  2. QOTN

    QOTN PetForums VIP

    Jan 3, 2014
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    I am not able to share any experience of herpes as it affects eyes but all my cats caught herpes one by one after one of them brought it back from the vet. They were all vaccinated at the time but it made no difference. As the viral load increased, three were very ill during that initial infection but they recovered. Very few of them ever had a flare up. Stress such as kittening caused two of my girls to shed and another one did when she was treated after a dental with an antibiotic and a longlasting steroid, which is something else that can cause them to shed as can visits to a cattery I understand. None of the girls who shed passed it to other cats except their newborn kittens so I don't think you need to worry too much about that.

    I found that the only permanent damage was caused to one of the kittens who was ill soon after birth and he had chronic rhinitis but, as far as I know never shed virus when he was snotty. Can you ask your vet if the problem with eyes is also damage caused by the initial infection rather than a shed?

    Herpes can be very difficult to detect because many cats have calicivirus at the same time which overwhelms herpesvirus in the lab test but there is now a PCR test which can sometimes, although not always, find the virus even when it is dormant.

    I had to neuter my two girls who shed when they kittened and I was always careful to tell every new vet so they gave steroid tablets or a short acting injection rather than a longlasting steroid when required.

    Sorry I can't help about the eyes but I hope my experience with the initial infection when I think I had thirteen cats and subsequently when many of them never shed may allay some of your anxiety.
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