Have you ever had a cold that's unlike any other cold? It feels much worse, the symptoms persist and you just feel crappy? Just like humans, cats are no exception to these symptoms which often present as a common cold but, with a closer look, are actually something else entirely.
Just last week a four month old cat came into the PPAC. The poor thing looked miserable—really really red, runny, inflamed eyes, super congested nose that was dripping clear fluid, sneezing and with a pretty rough sounding cough.
Dr. S. asked for a bit of history about the kitty and found that the cat was adopted from the shelter a week ago. The doc had a hunch as to what the condition was but decided to take a swab and send it to the lab just to be sure. Well, the labs came back and hunches exist for a reason—the cat had herpes!
Unlike our STD form of herpes (get your heads out of the gutter!) in animals, herpes is very prevalent in animal shelters where the air-borne virus permeates the very same air that all the soon-to-be-adopted animals are breathing. Well, this kitty was no exception and had clearly contracted the virus from one of the other sick kitties. The virus acts differently in young cats than in old—the developed immune systems of healthy, older cats, are not as susceptible to herpes but in kittens it can manifest in all of the symptoms mentioned above.
Well, to put the kitty out of its misery, the doc prescribed anti viral meds for the drippy eyes and the sneezing, and gave him a dose of l-lysine to prevent replication of the virus. That did the trick and the kitty can now head home and hang with his new family, feeling all better.
Til' next time,