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Feline Herpes Symptoms and Treatment

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How Is Feline Herpes Treated?

Once infected, the majority of cats do not get rid of the virus. However, symptoms can be treated. Veterinarians may prescribe oral antibiotics or antiviral medications to help ease symptoms, and drops or creams may be used for conjunctivitis or other eye irritations. With medication, good nutrition and tender loving care, most cats will make a successful recovery.

Please note, any cat developing an upper respiratory infection should be under veterinary supervision. A brief exam by a veterinarian will help to determine if your cat requires medication, has a fever or is dehydrated.  If a cat is just sneezing, but is otherwise acting normally, no treatment will likely be needed. However, if a cat begins to show nasal discharge, loss or appetite or other symptoms, there is evidence of a secondary bacterial infection and antibiotics may be necessary

Please do not administer any medication to your cat unless you’ve discussed it with your veterinarian.

How Can Feline Herpes Be Prevented?

Vaccination! Talk to your vet about what vaccines are available to protect cats from this virus. Keeping your cat up-to-date on his vaccines can help to minimize his risk.

What Should I Do If I Think My Cat Has Herpes?

If you think your cat may have feline herpes, take him in for a veterinary exam immediately.

How Can I Reduce Flare-Ups?

Since the herpes virus reactivates with stress, a low- or no-stress environment is helpful in reducing flare-ups. Your cat can be put under stress by any sudden change in his-or your-daily routine, by a sudden change in environment, such as new visitors, a move or loud noises. To create a calm environment for your cat, provide him with clean bedding and access to natural light and hiding places.

How Can I Help My Infected Cat Feel Better?

  • Frequently clean his eyes (discharge may dry, creating a hard, uncomfortable crust).
  • A humidifier in the cat’s environment or time in a steamy bathroom can help the congestion.
  • Create a calm, restful home for your cat.
  • Make sure your cat is regularly eating and drinking water.

New cats that are showing symptoms should be kept isolated from healthy cats in the household. Keep all litter boxes, food and water bowls clean, and regularly wipe your cat’s eyes and nose, as blocked nasal passages could cause him to stop eating. Some cats may require supportive feeding.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from the ASPCA

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