A Virginia animal shelter is experiencing an outbreak of feline herpes. Unlike human herpes, which causes skin blisters, feline herpes causes an upper respiratory infection that can be deadly in weaker cats like kittens.
Upper respiratory infections in cats have symptoms similar to human respiratory infections: congestion, watery eyes (which can become infected), sneezing, fever, and loss of appetite.
Feline herpes is not contagious to other animals, but spreads easily among felines via nasal drippings and any surface coated with the virus (the virus can live airborne for a short time due to sneezing). Normal cleaning can kill the virus and prevent further spread of the infection, and needs to continue for a month after the cats stop having symptoms of upper respiratory infection since they’ll still be contagious.
Long term effects of upper respiratory infection in cats include eye damage, and chronic sinus infections due to damage in the nose that makes it easier for bacteria to take root.
Some cats are carriers for feline herpes, which is why kennels are prone to outbreaks (weakened immune systems from stress, lack of exercise, etc. makes cats susceptible).
Treatment of feline herpes is rest and care to prevent secondary infections, except in extreme situations where cats may require feeding tubes or other life-saving care. It can take weeks for upper respiratory infection in cats to resolve.
And if you’re in the Virginia area, there’s still 16 cats who have to be adopted by Sunday.
How do you help cats feel better when they have an upper respiratory infection? Share your feline-pampering tricks below: