FVR is an infectious disease that attacks domestic and wild cats.FVR is caused by feline herpes virus type -1 and this virus is specific to species and in that regard only known to infect cats, and any cat can be infected at any age (Chia-Fang, et al. 497). FVR is majorly responsible for upper respiratory diseases in cats and also the most common cause of conjunctivitis. The virus is usually secreted in the saliva and can be released from the eyes and nose. The virus can be transferred from one cat to another through contaminated objects usually called ‘fomites.’ The virus remains active in fomites as long as the secretion is wet meaning it becomes inactive and dies when secretion dries up. When a cat in infected, there is usually an incubation period of 2 to 5 days before symptoms start showing and after symptoms start showing, the infection lasts for about 10-20 days. The virus then stops been infections as the cat becomes a carrier unless the virus is reactivated against which mostly happens when a cat is stressed. The infection tends to be severe to young cats or cats with another chronic disease.
Some infected cats may fail to show symptoms but can still infect other cats. The symptoms of FVR include sudden and uncontrollable attacks of sneezing, nasal and eye discharge which is watery or pus-like, excessive blinking, redness of eye tissue, persistent squinting, upper respiratory infection, inflammation of surrounding eye tissues especially the lining of the lids and the third eye lid and inflammation of cornea which cause painful and watery eyes and blurred vision a condition referred to as Keratitis. Other symptoms include fever loss of pregnancy and loss of sense of smell.
If one notices these symptoms or feels a cat is infected with feline herpes virus 1, there is need to see infectious agents. A presumptive diagnosis of FVR is usually based on the medical history of the cat together with the physical examination to evaluate the overall body system of the cat and its general health. Particularly, in physical examination, evidence of corneal infection is examined. This is done through corneal staining to identify if there is any development of ulcers and a schimers tear test is also carried out to access tear production (Chia-Fang, et al. 502).Sign of this evidence may be supportive of FVR diagnosis. Other tests are routinely carried out which include complete blood count, biochemistry, and urinalysis. In this regard, a sign of this virus may be observed if three is temporally low numbers of white blood cells, a condition termed as ‘leukopenia’ followed by increase in these cells called ‘leucocytosis.’
Further and advanced tests to detect FHV-1 are also available. A veterinarian can take samples from the eyes and nose of the cat and take them to the laboratory for examinations. Also, samples can be taken from the surrounding eye tissues to detect intranuclear inclusion bodies. Other examinations include x-rays which are helpful in determining if there are any changes in the nasal cavity especially as a result of a chronic infection. Unfortunately, if the patient is not showing any clinical signs and the virus indeed exists, then it means the diagnostic testing is not rewarding and that it why every test that can be helpful in availed.
Treatment of FVR is directed towards the signs of the illness, but antibiotics are usually useful to treat FVR in cases where secondary bacterial infections are involved. Antihistamines medication maybe prescribed early in the process of treatment to prevent fever and other types of allergy. Nasal and eye discharge is usually physically removed frequently to keep the cat comfortable and in the case of hard secretion, treatment with a mist or saline nose drops are recommended for use to remove them. Other nasal drops which contain a blood vessel constrictor and antibiotics are also recommended as they further function in reducing secretion. Eye ointment containing antibiotics is also another medication that functions in preventing corneal irritation and helpful in reducing pain. Eye preparations containing antiviral media action may as be recommended for use in addition to other eye antibiotics if corneal ulcers occur (Summers et al. 605). FVR may sometimes cause a cat to have a difficulty of breathing, and this can be treated by placing the cat in an oxygen tent.
The most common and effective mode of preventing FVR is vaccination. There are different types of vaccines available used for different purposes of the ailment. There are vaccines that protect against feline her-persviral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus where one type is injected and the other applied through eye and nose drops (Lappin 162). There is also a vaccine used on premises where infection has been confirmed termed as a vaccine against ‘Chlamydia’ (Schulz et al. 1013). A virus can also be killed in an environment by use of disinfectants as long as the disinfectant comes in contact with all contaminated surfaces. Control of environmental factors is also recommended to be applied together with vaccination, for example, avoiding overcrowding, stress and exposure to sick cats as it is helpful in protecting cats especially from upper respiratory disease (Ballin et al. 468). It is also recommended to sanitize your hands by washing with soap and water after touching an infected cat to avoid transferring the virus (Scherk et al. 796).
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