Jun 14, 2012

Herpesvirus and sore eyes

Two cats with sore eyes came to visit this morning. Meeka is a bouncy 8 week old Burmese. Jafar is a more sedate, but no less fun-loving, 7 year old Himalayan.

Meeka came from a breeder last weekend and has just developed a bit of a crusty discharge in the corner of both eyes. When I had a close look his eyes were a bit red and more watery than normal.
Jafar has episodes of red weepy eyes every few months. He is a bit of a stress-head and the episodes seem to correspond with changes in the household like a new house, visitors or an intruder cat in the yard.

They are both showing signs of feline herpesvirus infection. Meeka’s infection may progress to a runny nose and sinusitis or she may throw it off and never have another episode. If she goes off her food or is lethargic we will prescribe antibiotics for secondary infections.

Herpesvirus in Jafar hides in a nerve ganglion and just comes out when he is stressed. The conjunctivitis is a bit painful so we recommend artificial tears to keep the eye well lubricated. He is also taking an antiviral drug to try and reduce the viral load and conjunctivitis.
The other cat in Jafar’s household must have developed an immunity to the virus as she has never shown signs even when Jafar is shedding virus everywhere.

We keep a close watch on Jafar’s eye because herpesvirus can cause ulceration of the cornea, the window of the eye, and occasionally loss of the eye.

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