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Rhinotracheitis (FRV), or Herpes Virus, in Cats



Is your cat prone to eye infections or inflammation? Upper respiratory infections? Sneezing? If so, your cat may have Rhinotracheitis, or Feline Herpes Virus 1. This disease is a recurrent, lifelong virus that can cause nasty symptoms in your cat. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this virus (yet!). I hope to get as much information as possible, including some homeopathic remedies, so those of us with these cats can make them more comfortable. My cat, Simon, has already had one eye removed due to this disease, and I hope that this information can prevent other cats from having such severe problems.


Some Important Information About Feline Herpes

(Note: This information is from Dr. Mike Richard's Vetinfo website at


How to Reduce Flare-Ups

1. Reduce stress as much as possible.

2. Try giving your cat 500 mg/day of L-Lysine. You can get it at any vitamin/supplement store. There is no proven benefit (tests are still being conducted), but many vets suggest it. It certainly can't hurt your cat.

3. Try interferon. This is a somewhat expensive medicine, but may have great benefit. This medicine boosts the cat's immune system, which in turn helps the cat get through the flare-up. (Simon has had luck with this one.)

4. Ask your vet about topical (intranasal) vaccines. One person told me her vet said to try putting 1/2 cc of dexamethazone injectable in a bottle of Genamyacin Durafilm eye drops and use it for nose drops. Do it with the antibiotics for 10 days, then continue the nose drops. Perhaps ask your vet if this would be a good option for your cat.


Other Option

Of course, your other option is to not treat it. It will clear up on its own. However, if any severe symptoms occur, you should contact your vet immediately. 


Journal Articles and Websites

1. "Efficacy of acyclovir in cats infected with feline herpesvirus-1 (Rhinotracheitis)," by Mark P. Nasisse, DVM; Benjamin Weigler, DVM, PhD; David Dorman, DVM, PhD; Eleanor Hawkins, DVM; North Carolina University. (94). Manuscript found in: American Journal of Veterinary Research, 58: 1141-1144; 1997.

"Conclusions: Cats appear to be uniquely sensitive to the toxic effects of valacyclovir, and even high doses appear not to suppress FHV-1 replication in acutely infected cats." (Thank you, Dr. Eleanor Hawkins).

2.'s Feline Respiratory Disease and Rhinotracheitis Page - Helpful info on both diseases. It also has some references to several journal articles.


Your Tips

Debbie sent this information: "My housekeeper brought me an aloe vera plant two days before the surgery date and suggested we put the aloe gel directly into his eyes. I was skeptical because it is of course his EYE. Then I thought what do we have to lose since he has an appointment to have it removed. We used the fresh gel (greenish in color) and placed it directly into his eyes. (Along with this, in the evening I washed his eyes with saline every four the previous ten weeks). I applied the gel once more in the evening. To my astonishment the next morning his eye was open and somewhat clear, yet still not perfect. On day two of the aloe gel use his eye was completely open and to this day his eyes are perfect."

Sharing Information

If you have any suggestions or homeopathic remedies, please email me. I will post them on this website. You can also sign the guest book and post information there. Be sure to see if anyone else has posted information that may be helpful for your situation.

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