The medical term for feline herpes is feline viral rhinopneumonitis (FVR) or feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1). It is also known as cat flu or cat herpes. It is a virus that is prone to a feline herpes flare up.
What is a feline herpes flare up?
A flare up is when the herpes virus goes from the dormant stage to the active stage and symptoms start to appear.
How long does a flare up last?
All three of my cats have feline herpes. When Zoli entered the family he had gotten it from his mother (a known stray in the area) and passed it along to Feri and Gyula. Since Zoli already had it, I didn’t know what to expect when Feri and Gyula contracted it. All I know is the vet said that they would be sick and lethargic for a couple of weeks. That was kind of an understatement.
Feri got it first and was sick for about 2 weeks. He sneezed and slept a lot. Gyula got it near Feri’s tail end of the disease and he was sick for almost a month. I could tell he was achy and miserable. So the symptoms mimicked the flu for us.
If I catch a flare up quickly, it may go away within 24 hours. If I do not, then it’s usually 3 to 4 days. They aren’t as terribly sick as when they first got the virus. Now, it is more of sneezing and watery eyes.
Is the feline herpes virus contagious?
Yes and no. Feline herpes virus is not contagious to humans so you or I can’t get it. However, it is contagious to other cats. Cats transfer the virus via bodily fluids so any sharing of bowls, grooming or sneezes will spread the virus. Cat herpes is viral and can’t be cured but there’s no reason to be afraid of a cat with herpes because a human can’t catch it.
What are the symptoms of cat herpes?
Cat herpes symptoms mimic having a cold. Cats may:
- Have watery eyes
- Look like or have conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Have goop (black crusty tears) in the corner of their eyes
- Be super sleepy
- Seem lethargic
- Seem grumpy (especially Feri!)
- Lack an appetite
How do you treat cat flu?
If they are coming up on a flare, I can tell when one of them starts squinting. It at that point that I pull out the Lysine and give them a dose or 2 mixed in with their food. This is the best way to treat a flare up since there is no cure.
Lysine is an amino acid and blocks the herpes virus. Lysine comes in many different varieties of dispensing. I’ve only used the Viralys brand as that is what I initially got from the vet. However, the vet told me to check around because she knew they were more expensive so I compared prices on eBay and Amazon. I buy mine on both eBay and Amazon and have never had a problem with the product. It is definitely much cheaper than getting from the vet!
I have tried all the types of Viralys that are made. You can check out my review of Viralys L-Lysine products here. Let me know what you think! Cheers!