Can Feline Herpes Virus Cause Death in Cats?

Certainly! Feline Herpesvirus, also known as Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR), is an infectious disease caused by feline herpesvirus type-1 (FHV-1). Here are some key points about this virus:

  1. Transmission and Symptoms:
    • Cats become infected through direct contact with virus particles in saliva, eye, and nasal discharges from infected cats.
    • FVR is a major cause of upper respiratory disease in cats and the most common cause of conjunctivitis (inflammation of eye tissues).
    • Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, and eye inflammation.
  2. Carrier State:
    • Once infected, cats become carriers of the virus.
    • Most carriers remain latent, meaning the virus remains inactive within their bodies.
    • Stress or illness can reactivate the virus, making the cat infectious again.
  3. Infectious Period:
    • Cats can infect others during the incubation period (2 to 5 days after exposure).
    • Active infection typically lasts 10 to 20 days.
    • Reactivated infections may cause respiratory symptoms.
  4. Environmental Survival:
    • The virus survives in moist environments.
    • Contaminated items (e.g., food bowls, litter boxes) remain infective for up to 18 hours.
    • Proper hygiene helps prevent transmission.
  5. Severity and Mortality:
    • FVR can be severe, especially in kittens and cats with weakened immune systems.
    • While not all cases lead to death, severe infections can be fatal.
    • Vaccination doesn’t fully protect against infection, as cats may still encounter the virus.

In summary, Feline Herpesvirus can cause serious illness, especially in vulnerable cats, and proper management is crucial to prevent transmission and manage symptoms.

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