Sneezing, stuffy nose and watery eyes are not just symptoms of a cold in a cat. These symptoms can also be a sign of feline herpes. Learn to recognize, treat and prevent this highly contagious virus.
Feline herpes Feline herpes has a full clinical name: feline rhinotracheitis virus. This virus causes about half of all respiratory infections that cats acquire. Almost all cats that come in contact with another cat have been exposed to the herpes virus. Once a cat has been infected with the virus, he will have it for the rest of his life. In times of stress or illness, the virus can become inflamed and make your cat sick. Vaccines against feline rhinotracheitis virus is part of the standard vaccination protocol for cats. In the most common combined vaccine for cats, the FVRCP vaccine, the "FVR" means feline rhinotracheitis virus. If a cat has never been exposed to feline herpes and receives the vaccine, it will have quite good protection against this highly contagious virus.
Symptoms of feline herpes. Generally, feline herpes will appear when your cat experiences a stress or illness situation, such as when a baby or a new pet arrives at your home, during and after a move, or when other important changes occur in the home. The most common symptoms of feline herpes are sneezing, runny nose, congestion and conjunctivitis. Cats with feline herpes outbreaks can also develop eye injuries or fever. Although rare, cats with severe outbreaks of feline herpes can develop pneumonia and will need intensive veterinary care.
Treatment of feline herpes. In minor cases, cats will have nasal obstruction and watery eyes for seven to ten days and can remain with the active virus for up to three weeks. In these cases, home care is usually all that your cat needs. If it is congested, try to keep it in the bathroom when you take a hot shower or leave it for 10 to 15 minutes in a room with a humidifier to help you breathe easier. Wash your eyes and face a few times a day with a warm cloth to help you be clean and comfortable. In a more severe case, a cat may become so congested that it will stop eating and become lethargic. If your cat stops eating for more than 24 hours, you must take it to the veterinarian or force it, as it can develop fatty liver disease. If your pet has any of the symptoms, take it to the veterinarian for antibiotics or eye medications to reduce the risk of secondary bacterial infections.
Feline herpes prevention. Feline herpes is transmitted from one cat to another, is highly contagious and spreads through infected ocular and nasal discharge and saliva. If you have a cat with herpes in your home, you should take med>