Prevention and Treatment
herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) is mainly transmitted by direct cat-to-cat
contact, and owners should therefore minimize close contact between
infectious and naive cats, which are cats that have never been exposed to the virus. FHV-1 only persists transiently in the
environment, and most disinfectants or antiseptics effectively
inactivate the virus.
At this time, there are no antiviral drugs to treat feline viral
rhinotracheitis (FVR). Ganciclovir, a human herpes treatment, has shown
promise in treating symptoms and is available for off-label use. There
is also anecdotal evidence that L-lysine supplementation is a useful
therapy, perhaps interfering with viral replication.
A modified live virus vaccine is available and is commonly included in
annual vaccination protocols. Vaccines are usually given at 8-9 weeks
of age and again in 3-4 weeks, followed by annual booster shots. The
vaccine helps to lessen the severity of symptoms, however it does not
prevent infection even if given prior to exposure. Cats can still
become infected and become lifelong carriers.
Treatment of FVR involves supportive care and symptomatic treatment.
Antibiotics are used for secondary bacterial infections, which often
occur. Nasal and ocular discharges should be removed for comfort of the
animal and nebulizers or saline drops can be used for nasal
decongestion. Corneal ulcers are a common symptom of FVR and antibiotic
ophthalmic ointments are used for prevention and treatment.