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Covid 19 Ophthalmology for Animals - August 6, 2020

Veterinary care is an essential part of our community and we want to assure you that our hospital is open and will continue to provide services at this time. We also want to work with you and our staff to limit direct contact in order to focus on safety for everyone during this pandemic. Accordingly, we ask that you follow the below steps for the safety of all:

  • Upon arrival at the hospital, please remain in your vehicle and call us.
  • After receipt of the call, we will check you in as soon as possible from outside the hospital.
  • If you are at the hospital to pick up medication, please remain in your car outside the hospital and call the front desk. We will deliver your order to your car as quickly as possible.
  • If you are not feeling well or may be at risk of exposure to coronavirus, please ask a healthy friend or family member to transport your pet to the hospital on your behalf.
  • We will do our best to coordinate your visit from outside the hospital, including providing follow up instructions and taking payments.

Ophthalmology for Animals, Inc., we have various ways to help care for your pets without a trip or call to the hospital.

  1. Home Delivery: medications, including prescriptions and refills, can be ordered by sending us an email or text
  2. Email: your questions, concerns, prescription refills, and pictures. We will do our best to respond in a timely manner.

Our goal is to keep our essential services available to the communities we serve and be there for you and your pets. Thank you for your cooperation and for doing your part in helping to keep pets and people safe, and please don’t hesitate to call with questions.

We anticipate our phone lines will be busier than usual, and therefore, we appreciate your patience!

Feline Herpesvirus

pdfPDF version available for download here

Feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) is known to be widely dispersed among the feline population and has been isolated at essentially the same rate in both healthy cats and those with active clinical signs.

The most common systemic signs are of those of upper respiratory tract infection (runny nose/eyes, sneezing, etc). It is spread by direct contact and fomites, and a sneeze will carry infective virus approximately 4 feet!

Lifelong latency develops after the initial, typically self-limiting infection in about 80% of cats. Viral shedding is brought on by stress in about 50% of latently infected cats and can occur even without any active clinical signs.

The most common ophthalmic sign of infection is conjunctivitis (swelling). Other ophthalmic signs can include keratitis (inflammation in the cornea) and corneal ulceration due to the direct cytopathic effect on epithelial cells. There are a number of other ocular abnormalities that have been potentially associated with herpesvirus infection, such as symblepharon, corneal sequestrum, entropion, Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, eosinophilic keratoconjunctivitis, and even uveitis.

Treatment is dependent upon clinical signs in each specific patient. Decreasing any source of stress at home is critical (e.g. access to litterboxes, new animals in the household, prolonged or frequent absence from the home, other illness, etc.). Corneal ulceration must be treated with antibiotics to prevent or resolve secondary bacterial infection.

Does lysine help? Contrary to previous reports, more recent studies evaluating the effects of lysine supplementation on viral replication have not detected a significant benefit when L-lysine is administered to FHV-1 infected cats. In one study, disease severity and detection of FHV-1 DNA even increased in cats supplemented with lysine.

Significant changes in tear film quality and quantity have been documented in cats infected with FHV-1 in addition to conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers. These findings indicate that FHV-1 causes qualitative tear film abnormalities that may contribute to ocular discomfort, prolonged healing of ulcers, and persistent inflammation. Topical preservative-free mucinomimetics such as sodium hyaluronate or 1-2% methycellulose may provide comfort and ease conjunctival inflammation until normal tear production is restored.

A topical and/or antiviral medication may be administered to speed recovery. All available antivirals act to slow or halt viral replication, but there is no medication that kills the virus. Only selected antivirals can be used in cats due to concerns for toxic side effects of certain medications. Most treatments need to be continued at least 1 week past resolution of clinical signs to prevent immediate recurrence.

Because FHV-1 is a lifelong infection that cannot be cured, many cats will suffer from recurrent infections and require additional rounds of therapy. Our goal with these patients is swift resolution to return the cat to comfort, with emphasis on decreasing stress in the cat’s life. It can be a frustrating disease to treat, but cats can live long, happy lives with appropriate therapy.

We Are Ready To Help

Request an appointment with one of our veterinarian specialists to see how we can help you and your beloved pet.

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