The following is an email from a reader about a kitten with probable herpes infection.


I need some serious help! I have taken in four kittens from my mother's farm due to their poor health. I brought them home, bathed them and gave them soft food and milk. One was in such poor health that she unfortunately died within hours. I still have the three and they are much more lively now. I have had them for about a week and I would say they can't be more than four weeks old.

My mother sent me with Neomycin for their eyes. Their eyes were crusting over. They no longer crust over but are not healing either. They look so bad. I have a picture but I don't know how to submit it. The eye itself seems to be covered with a white film and the kitten can't see out of it at all. There is some redness as well. The kittens are in a lot of pain. I am afraid that they will lose their eyesight, if they haven't already.

I read another question on your website from a person with a similar issue and she had a picture. My kittens have very similar eyes, if not worse, than the picture I saw. You mentioned something about the herpes virus and an aggressive treatment for their cat.

Please any help would be very much appreciated, not only by me but by these poor kittens. Thank you, Dawn------------------------------


I don't need a picture to understand what you are talking about and know what is wrong with the kittens. However, I have included a picture for our readers that should be quite similar. Some cases are more severe; some are less severe. However, they all have the potential to persist and destroy the kitten's eyes.

Anytime you see severe conjunctivitis with crusting, whitish corneas, discharge, redness, swelling, etc. in kittens' eyes, you can be 99% certain that the cause is the herpes virus.

While the Neomycin may help and not hurt, anti-viral eye drops are an essential part of Feline Herpes Treatment for best results. Even with the strongest and best of treatments, kittens can still have their eyesight affected. However, the cases I have treated that have come to me early in the course of the illness generally do well with opthalmic antibiotics and opthalmic anti-virals such as idoxuridine and cidofovir. An oral treatment, famciclovir (Famvir) is used in some severe cases. Also, L-lysine is an amino acid that has shown some antiviral effects against both cat and human herpesviruses.

Proper Feline Herpes treatment must be administered by a veterinarian. It requires a thorough examination, several prescriptions, and repeated evaluations if you are to save the kitten's life.

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