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My husband and I adopted a flame point siamese (female) from a rescue group in July. She had a bit of a watery eye when she came to us, so we had our vet check it. Since then, her eye has gotten progressively worse, whether because we have constantly medicated it with about a dozen different medicines or because the adoption was a stressful process for her.

We just received a diagnosis of herpes virus, which has caused an ulcer on one of her eyes (the same that was watering) and are getting ready to start her on Famvir. Just want to get some feedback on it.
 

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Hello,

I'm a new kitten owner, and one of my kittens recently had a health scare, where I learned a little more about the herpes virus.

My 4-month old kitten at the time was feeling extremely feverish and lethargic. He's usually running around, causing mischief, but he was so uncharacteristically sluggish that I had to take him to the emergency vet hospital that same night. The vet took his temperature, and it was 105.6 degrees (normally should be around 102-103). After waiting there for two hours for his blood test, everything came back negative, (similarly, urinalysis came back negative as well) and my vet then told me that he suspected that my kitten had the herpes virus.

He explained that shelter cats in general are very likely to have the herpes virus, since it is viral and can be transferred pretty easily from cat to cat. Just like in humans, herpes in kittens remains latent until some sort of stress to the kitten (new environments, new animals, etc.) causes the kitten to have a decreased immune system, which is then when the kitten will have a herpes flare-up and have similar symptoms as any other viral infection (e.g. fever, lethargy) and likely with symptoms affecting the eye (e.g. frequent squinting, yellow/brown discharge).

The worst part was that, when I asked why he thinks it's the herpes virus, he responded that he actually can't say for certain, because apparently there isn't any definitive test for herpes. The only way they can know is by deductive reasoning and eliminating all other likely diagnoses.

I hope that the scant insight I have helped you a little bit. When you get the opportunity, you should ask your vet how he/she knows that your cat has herpes if the medication doesn't seem to work. From what my vet told me, it does seem like the adoption process might have stressed your kitten out a little bit, thus causing a herpes flare-up that was untreated. Although, I'm a little skeptical because of the fact that there is no definitive test for herpes, so it may be possible that it's not herpes at all. Please update about how your kitty is doing after you've given her the medication.
 

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Your cat has to be in pain having an ulcer on its eye. Poor baby! Are they giving it anything for pain? My vet gives me pain meds when its eye ulcers. Kittens have no immune system in tact to help fight this off. Note, this is a virus not an infection. but it could lead to an infection.The concern would be it would go into its lungs also. they will listen for a rattle in it lungs and prescribe an antibiotic if they hear the rattle.

I personally would start giving your kitten Vetri-DMG 4 oz Liquid to help boost its immune system. Plus L Lysine. Atropine for its eye ulcer infection.

Flamvir sounds like a fairly new drug on the market. Still being studied as to results and effectiveness.

I found this site which presents it better than I could compose it on the herpes virus.

*****

The most important thing to remember is to try to remain patient. These types of infections can resolve quickly with antiviral treatments but some cases are extremely challenging to control. “Cure” is not a reasonable goal as there is not anything available to eliminate this virus from your cat’s system. The goals of treatment are to eliminate the signs of infection, to control ocular pain, and to prevent damage to the eyes that can lead to vision loss.

The antiviral medications available to treat this condition only inhibit, but do not destroy, the virus. This means that your cat’s immune system is extremely important to our goal of getting the active infection “into remission”. If your cat has a weak immune system due to age, immunosuppressive viral infections (eg., FIV or FeLV), or other medical conditions, it is likely to be particularly challenging getting the eye problem under control.

Medical therapy for your cat will most likely include an antiviral drop or ointment. Frequency of treatment with these medications is very important, because the drugs are only inhibiting the virus and not killing it. Treatment is likely to be required for at least 3 weeks (and for 1 week beyond remission of signs). Many cases require more chronic therapy. The most commonly used drugs in this category are idoxuridine and cidofovir. An oral treatment, famciclovir (Famvir) is used in some severe cases.

An antibiotic may be used if herpetic corneal ulcers are present and/or if there are signs of a secondary bacterial infection. A bacterial infection can quickly accelerate the rate of damage to the eye(s) by the virus. Atropine may be used to control pain in the eye. It will dilate the pupil in treated eyes and thus create some light sensitivity, but it can help to make your pet less painful during the healing period. Oral pain killers are sometimes necessary for extremely painful pets.

L-lysine is an amino acid (protein building block) that has shown some antiviral effects against both cat and human herpesviruses. It is a safe supplement that can be given to your cat to help inhibit the life cycle of the virus. It should be given with food, as it can cause vomiting if given on an empty stomach. It can be used long-term. It is available in many forms including tablet, capsule, fish-flavored powder (to mix with food), and oral paste. One of our doctors can give you the appropriate dosage. It is not usually effective as the sole treatment during an active infection. Its best use is either in combination with other antiviral treatments or for long-term use to reduce recurrences.

Infectious Disease - Herpes Virus or Rhinotracheitis - VetInfo
 

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People have told me to give my cat L-Lysine (I crush up a 500mg caplet) once a day, and it seems to be helping control my kitten's runny eye... There are also L-Lysine treats by Pet Naturals of Vermont if you don't want to crush up the pills. Apparently the lysine blocks a receptor on some sort of support molecule that the Herpes virus needs to reproduce, so it can't reproduce and the body only has to deal with the virus that is already there.
 
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