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Chronic Viral Syndrome

Dear Sir or Madam,

My most recent rescue came from the shelter with an "upper respiratory infection" that was recalcitrant to several antibiotics according to the rescue organization. I have had her on 12.5 mg of Zeniquin daily and 1 tsp of ViraLys daily. Her symptoms have been few but include thick, pale green discharge from the right nostril, sneezing, and periodically watery discharge from both eyes.

The symptoms have waxed and waned several times  - - disappearing completely for nearly two weeks only to return. She is otherwise playful with a hearty appetite, excellent stools, nice coat, good gums and teeth. My most recent encounter with the vet left her with the diagnosis of "chronic viral syndrome." I have had extensive experience in the past with the herpes virus and cats; and all signs and symptoms would seem to point to this virus being the offending culprit.

Is there anything else that I can try? At one point I gave 1 ml of Roferon-A orally once daily to another cat with a similar infection in addition to using the VirOptic and idoxyuridine drops; however, this other cat had significant ocular involvement, unlike my current cat. Are there any antiviral nasal drops that might be of benefit, i.e. could the VirOptic be used nasally? I have also been adding Omega 3/Omega 6 fatty acid supplements to her food (Waltham). Would you recommend the interferon or any other supplement/prescription?

Thank you for your consideration and suggestions.

1 Responses
931217 tn?1283484935
Dear MorganMaple,

It sounds like you are getting excellent advice and care form your doctor already. As you know the feline herpesvirus will undergo "recrudescence" intermittantly with ill defined factors we often call "stress." The use of antibiotics to suppress the secondary bacterial infections, lysine, interferon and antiviral eye drops all have some benefit. Symptomatic treatments such as antihistamines and antiinflammatories (meloxicam is a useful nonsteroidal in cats) may be helpful.

I am assuming your cat is FeLV and FIV negative. If not the prognosis for recurrence of respiratory viral disease symptoms is not great.

In many of these cats they will suffer periodic viral symptoms for life. Maturity does confer some resistance and there is still time for that to occur as her overall immune system matures. Unfortunately, many of these cats end up as chronic "schnorkers" with recurrent nasal and sinus inflamatory episodes, discharge, sneezing etc.

To my knowledge, there is nothing dramatically new that changes this course. As in people herpesviruses are for life, and their symptoms may be controlled but not cured.
The good news is that your cat may be able to live an otherwise normal life. Other cats you may own however may be exposed to herpesvirus during these periods of recrudescence so caution is advised in that regard.


Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MS
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