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the clinical signs of rhinotracheitis

The infectious diseases of cats they can cause great concern, since if action is not taken immediately, many of them can get worse, with potentially fatal consequences for our kitten.

One of these is theCat herpeswhich belongs to the same family of viruses that infect humans, but has many differences with respect to it: let’s find out what this disease is and how it can be treated.

What is feline herpes virus?

Feline herpes is a species-specific virus that infects kittens.Herpes virus feline FHV-1. It belongs to the family of Herpesviridae and, like all infections of this type, it needs to invade a host cell in order to survive and replicate.

This disease is one of the major causes of eye problems in cats, such as severe conjunctivitis and corneal ulcersalmost always accompanied by respiratory symptoms, known as feline rhinotracheitis.

What are the symptoms of cat herpesvirus?

The symptoms of herpes in cats are recognized primarily by eye disordersand as we have said, by the presence of clinical signs typical of colds. Therefore, in infected cats we could notice symptoms affecting the eyes and one affecting the respiratory tract.

Cat and kitten eye herpes

  • Conjunctivitis;
  • Corneal ulcers;
  • Lachrymation;
  • Eye secretions.

Respiratory symptoms

  • Sneezing;
  • nasal discharge;
  • Pneumonia;
  • respiratory difficulties.

generic symptoms

However, the clinical picture is similar to that of other infectious diseases, such as feline calicivirosis. In this case, the symptoms of the respiratory system are superimposable, but FHV manifests itself mainly in the mouth or lip.

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Is herpes in cats contagious?

L’FHV it is not contagious to humansalthough good hygiene standards should still be observed when in contact with an infected kitten.

In some cases, the virus can give rise to annoying conjunctivitis in humans if it comes into contact with the mucous membranes: therefore, wash your hands thoroughly with disinfectant and avoid touching your face when we pet Micio.

How contagious is feline herpes to other cats?

Cat herpes is species specific, therefore it is very easy for a cat that has contracted the infection to pass it on to other catsbut not to other species. The virus infects other felines through saliva, sneezes and runny noses.

If the kitten that has contracted the infection shares the house with other unvaccinated cats, they must be kept separate and healthy subjects vaccinated as soon as possible, following the guidelines of the veterinarian and often sanitizing the environments.

When the cat has this disease can he pass it on to the dog?

There is human, feline, canine, equine and even bovine herpes. So if your cat has contracted it it will be feline infection, that is not able to infect the dog or species other than the cat.


To detect the presence of the virus you can do:

  • blood tests;
  • of saliva;
  • of the lacrimal secret;
  • cytological samples of the conjunctiva.

When antibiotic therapy is ineffective, it could be a viral agent such as cat herpes.


There is no definitive cure for feline herpesvirus, since once it has penetrated the host it nestles in the ganglia of the trigeminal nerve and can recur when the cat is particularly stressed or if its immune defenses are low.

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However it is possible to counteract the symptoms following the therapy prescribed by the vet, which may include antiviral drugs, such as antiviral eye drops for cats, anti-inflammatories, and/or antibiotics in case of complications. It is very important to strengthen the cat’s immune system, helping it to counteract the disease.

Can a cat cold lead to death?

Yes, this disease can be fatal under some conditions. Complications can arise in puppy cats, such as infectious pneumonia, which can lead the kitten to death.

The virus is ubiquitous, therefore it is very easy that stray kittens (as well as adult strays), not being vaccinated, can contract it by infecting the whole colony.

How long does it last in the environment and how to eliminate it?

Experience with Coronavirus has taught us that infections of this type last a short time in the environment on inanimate objects without a vital cell in which to take refuge, however it is good to clean and disinfect the house thoroughly, especially if you have other animals.

The bleach it’s good for eliminating the virus from the house and some objects. Kitty’s toys and covers should also be washed with sanitizing detergents in hot water.

How to prevent Herpes virus infection?

If your cat has received all the required vaccinations and booster shots, then he will also be protected from FHV.

The vaccine for rhinotracheitis in cats is in fact included in the note “trivalent” which allows the kitten to develop antibodies against 3 of the most insidious viral diseases of the cat. In addition to rhinotracheitis, in fact, it protects against panleukopenia caused by parvovirus and calicivirus.

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Prevention is always the trump card, but in the case of cat infectious diseases it is essential and cannot be postponed. If you suspect that your kitten may have contracted this disease, contact your trusted veterinarian as soon as possible!