Herpes virus type 1 (FHV-1) is also known as (cat flu) or Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR). It is the MOST COMMON cause of upper respiratory disease in cats. Upper respiratory disease refers to infections in the area of the eyes, nose, throat and sinus areas. Approximately 80-90% of all cat have been exposed to FHV. It is MOST common in kittens, older cats and cats in shelters, catteries or multi-pet house holds. Once your cat has had herpes virus, they are infected for life.
The good news is that MOST TIMES in a healthy vaccinated cat the immune system manages to keep the virus in check and unless under a great deal of stress your cat will likely not experience a herpes outbreak.
Some common stressful events that can cause FHV outbreak:
1) a new cat or dog is brought into the household
2) your cat is moved to a new household
3) you go away on vacation
5) pregnancy and lactation
Basically, anything that alters the normal daily routine of your cat may permit viral re-activation.
The virus itself can cause conjunctivitis and eye ulcers, which could permanently damage the kittens eyes. Having a stuffed nose and nasal discharge may cause kittens to stop eating and having a fever causing them to become lethargic. Herpes is VIRAL so there is no treatment and the virus will normally “run it’s course” in 10-14 days. However, there are things that can be done to help the kittens get through it. The severity of the disease and the eye structures involved will determine the treatment. Acyclovir is an oral antiviral that may be used to control FHV. Topical antivirals include Idoxuridine and Betadine eye drops. L-lysine (an amino acid) works to prevent future attacks in some cats. L-lysine can be purchased over-the-counter at GNC and other nutrition stores. The proper dose of L-lysine for a cat is 1000mg each day orally with food. Topical and systemic antiviral medications can control FHV, but they cannot completely eliminate the virus from your cat's body. Early treatment arrests the disease before it becomes severe.
I have included some links below so you can read about FVR or FHV-1 yourself. However, I feel it is very important for all potential kittens buyers to know and understand that herpes virus is extremely common and although It may sound scary, especially if you have never heard of it before, it is highly treatable.
Unfortunately, because of how prevalent this virus is, no cattery, including Masabeli Persians, will guarantee against herpes virus - it just isn’t logical. So I suggest researching FVR prior to purchasing a kitten to make sure you feel comfortable adopting a kitten that may have FVR.
And there are MANY more articles online!