Feline rhinotracheitis – feline herpesvirus

Feline infectious rhinotracheitis is a very serious and highly contagious disease that affects the respiratory tract of cats. This disease is caused by the Feline Herpersvirus 1 virus (HVF-1) and usually affects cats with a low immunity.

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When the infection is acute, the prognosis is rather reserved. On the other hand, in the chronic cases, the prognosis is favorable.

In this article from YourCatCareguide we will explain everything you need to know about feline rhinotracheitis caused by feline herpes virus ! Keep reading!

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Feline herpes type 1

Feline herpesvirus 1 (HVF-1) is a virus that belongs to the genus Varicellovirus. It affects both domestic cats and other wild cats [1] .

This virus contains a double strand of DNA and has a glycoprotein-lipid envelope. For this reason, it is relatively fragile in the outdoor environment and is highly susceptible to the effects of ordinary disinfectants. For this reason, good cleaning and disinfection of your cat’s house and objects is very important!

This virus can survive up to 18 hours in a humid environment. It hardly survives in dry environments! It is for this reason that this virus normally affects the ocular, nasal and oral region . He needs this humid environment to survive and these regions are perfect for him!

Transmission of feline herpesvirus 1

The most common form of transmission of this virus is through direct contact between infected cats and kittens with low immunity (especially puppies). When kittens are born, they have maternal antibodies that protect them but as they grow they lose that protection and become highly susceptible to this and another virus. Hence the great importance of vaccination!

Feline herpes symptoms

Feline herpesvirus 1 generally affects the upper respiratory tract of cats. The incubation period of the virus is 2 to 6 days (the time elapses since the cat is infected until the first clinical signs show) and intensity of symptoms may vary.

The main symptoms of the virus are:

  • Depression
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Nasal downloads
  • Eye discharges
  • Eye lesions
  • Fever

Within the eye lesions , the most common are:

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Ceratites
  • Proliferative keratoconjunctivitis
  • Dry keratoconjunctivitis
  • Corneal seizure
  • Neonatal ophthalmia
  • Sibléfaro
  • You will

Felot infectious rhinotracheitis

Viral Feline rhinotracheitis is the disease caused by feline Herpesvirus type 1 infection, as we have already explained. This disease that especially affects younger animals can even lead to death. Unfortunately, it is one of the most common diseases in cats .


Diagnosis is usually made by observing the clinical signs associated with the presence of feline herpesvirus type 1, which we have already mentioned. That is, the veterinarian makes the diagnosis of this disease mainly through observation of the kitten’s symptoms and his history.

In the case of doubts, there is laboratory evidence that allows a definitive diagnosis of this disease. Some of these tests are:

  • Scraping of tissues for histopathological examination
  • Swab nasal e ocular
  • Cell culture
  • Immunofluorescence
  • PCR (most specific method of all of them)

Does feline rhinotracheitis have a cure?

If rhinotracheitis is cured, it is obviously one of the issues that most worries tutors of animals suffering from this disease. Unfortunately, there is no possibility of cure for acute feline herpesvirus infection in all cats. Especially in kittens puppies, this disease can be fatal . However, there is a treatment and cats with this disease can have a good prognosis if treatment is initiated in the initial state of the disease.

Feline rhinotracheitis – treatment

After a diagnosis is made, the veterinarian will prescribe appropriate treatment for the cat’s clinical signs .

Antiviral treatment is a very complicated and time-consuming treatment since the virus lives inside the cells and it is necessary to medicate to prevent the reproduction of the virus without killing the cells where it is housed. For this purpose, the veterinarian may use antiviral agents such as ganciclovir and cidofovir, which have been shown to be effective in combating this virus [2] .

In addition, the use of antibiotics is common, since secondary bacterial infections are very common.

According to the cat’s clinical signs eye drops, nasal decongestants and nebulizations may be prescribed . More severe cases in which the animals are very dehydrated and / or anorexic may require hospitalization, fluid therapy and even forced feeding through the catheter.

Feline rhinorrhoeitis – vaccine

The best way to prevent feline rhinotracheitis is undoubtedly vaccination. This vaccine exists in Brazil and is part of the normal vaccination plan for cats .

The first dose of the vaccine is usually applied between 45 and 60 days of life of the animal and the reinforcement should be annual. However, it may vary according to the protocol your veterinarian follows. The most important thing is that you set the vaccination plan that your veterinarian has defined.

Kittens that are not yet vaccinated should avoid contact with unknown cats since they may be carriers of this virus and if it is active they can transmit. Sometimes the signs of the disease are very mild and are not easy to detect, especially in chronic carriers of the virus.

Does feline rhinotracheitis catch humans?

Because it is a contagious disease and there is also herpesvirus in humans, many people ask the question: does feline rhinotracheitis catch humans? The answer is NO ! You can rest assured that this virus is specific to these animals and does not pass for us humans. It is highly contagious but only even between cats and through direct contact with the secretions of the little eyes or nose. Or also, by indirect contact, such as through a sneeze!

We remember that these animals, even after they have cured the symptoms, are carriers of the virus, which being latent is not contagious. However, once the virus is activated, it is again a potential contagion.

This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read the similar articles to Rinotraqueíte felina – herpesvirus felino , we recommend that you enter our section of Infectious Diseases .

Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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