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Old 06-30-2013, 12:53 PM
Location: Las Vegas
3,106 posts, read 5,050,751 times
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Although I've been reading online I don't have any experience with this (herpes).
I would like HONEST opinions on the long term prognosis of cats with this illness. The kittens have been tested for other things and are being medicated (which will continue). Right now they have alot of discharge and drainage but have only been on meds for a few days. I don't have other cats in my household so that isn't a concern.
If you've had a cat with herpes what was its overall quality of life like? What should be expected?

LoL, I love cats but am much more of a dog person. Thru my research I have discovered that catr owners can be every bit as opinionated as dog owners...right down to what litter is best!

Would love some opinions on this.
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Old 06-30-2013, 05:29 PM
Location: Somewhere
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From what I've read and heard the feline herpes virus is really not too big of a deal. The vet said mine probably have it as it is common with ferals, strays, cats that have been in shelters and/or other close quarters since it can spread very easily. Some cats are just carriers and exhibit no symptoms. Others can get infections and will need to be treated. Recurrences typically will happen with a cat that has an immune system that has been compromised by something like FIV+. Some vets will want you to give your cats Lysine (a supplement) to help improve their immune system. After my kittens were treated for their URI's I gave them a maintenance dose of Lysine every day in their food. However then I started reading more about whether or not it is truly needed long term and the answer is still unclear. So after awhile of giving them Lysine and not having any recurrence of UR's I stopped the Lysine and they have not had any issues and are very healthy.

So long story short...feline herpes is common, and is not a death sentence and should not be a deterrent for fostering OR adopting :-) Just make sure they complete their treatment and be on the lookout for a recurrence (sneezing, watery eyes etc.) so they can be treated again.

And you're wonderful for considering fostering these kittens :-) If you do.....I'm sure you will have hours and hours of enjoyment watching how cute and silly a litter of kitties can be!!!
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:04 PM
Location: SE Michigan
6,191 posts, read 14,309,308 times
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I've cared for a few feral/stray cats with herpes, and one house cat.

It is not a death sentence.
It is contagious.
Cats in a community may test positive for it but mount an effective defense.
L-lysine can really help and is cheap.
Eye and dental/gum problems are common.

HOWEVER! A cat with active herpes is like a person with the HIV virus: does not have much of an immune system. After researching and talking it over with my vet, I decided to do whatever I could for my house cat with herpes (he was also Fe-leuk positive) to keep him healthy and comfortable but if he got really sick, I would let him go. A cat with no viable immune system will be fighting a long and possibly losing battle to live, once they get sick.

So when Cheech stopped eating, grooming and drinking and we could find no other cause, I let him go.
FIY, L-lysine is not effective for every cat. After many months of daily supplementing, it made no difference to Cheech's overall health.

But, Cheech was between four and five years old before he got really sick (he was maybe a year give or take when I took him in.) And besides having gunky eyes for the years I had him, he was active and seemed happy and was a very bossy and opinionated cat. So he had 4-5 good years. When he crashed, he crashed hard and after talking it over with two different vets I made the decision to not fight a losing battle but to let him go.

As a data point I am a dog person, not a cat person but somehow I have ended up being a feral cat caretaker!
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:36 PM
Location: Near Nashville TN
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Herpes is no reason to reject the kittens. Once they're well fed (canned, not kibble), not stressed and over the initial outbreak let's call it, they should remain healthy and live a normal number of years.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:35 AM
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My Rose cat, who was found in a neighbor's garage, had a herpes virus which only manifested itself in her left eye. Various vets tried various things in her early years until I just decided to make them leave it alone. None of my other cats caught the virus from her. She lived a long, rowdy life until she died at age 14.
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Old 07-02-2013, 04:06 PM
Location: Colorado
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About the only concern I'd have is the contagiousness. It's not, by the way, contagious to other species...but highly contagious to other cats. So for instance, if you were planning to get a certifiably free of all disease expensive show cat or you know...something like that...at a later time, you'd have to disinfect the ever lovin' heck out of anything those kittens came into contact with. It can be problematic in shelters, because stress can cause outbreaks of the sickness symptoms, and if you have too many cats being sick in a shelter environment, they wind up being put down, or adequate TLC might not be available for them all.

But if you can deal with the reality that it's something other cats can catch, and this isn't a dealbreaker for you, it's not something that necessarily shortens their lives or impedes their quality of life. Basically when under stress, or if their immune systems take a hit, they can get respiratory and eye infections easily. Nimbus has the virus, and he came to me sick. I got him to the vet right away, they gave me L-Lysine. That got him feeling a little better, he started eating and drinking and pottying, exploring a little bit...but within a week his eyes got much worse. They were squinted practically shut and all goopy. I took him back and we did a course of oral and topical antibiotics, which cured him...and then a bit of a probiotic for the poops he got from the medication...and I continued to give him a maintenance dose of L-Lysine until we ran out. All of that was mid-January and we haven't had a single health issue with him since then. I think it's entirely possible for a cat to never have a second outbreak of symptoms if they are not stressed and fed properly and all...or to have them so rarely that it doesn't even bear worrying about.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:02 PM
Location: Las Vegas
3,106 posts, read 5,050,751 times
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Thank you all for the information and opinions. I went a visited them again and they are already looking much better.
I am happy to foster I just wouldn't want to foster anything that is going to suffer throught their lives.
Enough perfectly healthy animals lose their lives everyday and I'd much rather invest time and resources on those who will likely thrive. I've seen too much animal suffering in my life to take part in dragging something out that more than likely will end miserably.
The kittens should be here in a week or two. They aren't exactly feral but aside from the medicating need a lot of socialization with people. Fortunately they are still young enough that this shouldn't be much of a problem.
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