Feline Herpes Virus and Adopting Another Cat

by Steven
(Fort Stewart)

So I got a cat from a Humane Society. We noticed he had bad breath that wouldn't go away and had an infected tooth. We took him to a local vet and they pointed out he was missing half of his teeth. I was told he had Feline Herpes virus, too. I was told I needed to give him doxycycline, but my question is that I want to get a Persian cat, either a kitten or adult, but I'm afraid I will cause the Persian to get feline herpes which is not what I want... How could I go about getting another cat with the special needs cat I already have?

Dear Steven,

As you can read in more detail in this question and answer from another reader, nearly every cat is, at very least, a carrier for feline herpes virus. Most cats have the feline herpes virus and simply never show symptoms, and in the few that do show symptoms, the flare-ups they experience do not necessarily cause flare-ups in other cats and are usually very easily treated. For this reason, I have no qualms with a cat with feline herpes living with other cats.

However, with the other cat illness symptoms you described, I have other concerns. Was this cat tested for FeLV/FIV? While the missing teeth and infected gums could be the result of feline herpes, the more common cause of these symptoms is FeLV or FIV. Before adopting a new cat as well, it is critical that your cat is tested for these feline diseases. In short, feline herpes virus would not kill or injury the Persian cat or any other cat you bring into your home, but FeLV or FIV could and likely would.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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