vet claims there is no test for herpes

terri echolsterri echols kalamazooMember Posts: 4,758
shyloh went to the vet today-negative for leukemia and FIV. she did have a respiratory infection, and her spay incision was infected at the interior layer-external is fine. when asked if shyloh could have herpes, the vet said there was no test for herpes, but that her chronic wheeze was suggestive and the sudden onset of illness the very day of her surgery was 'suggestive' of a herpes flare. ok. kitty is now on antibiotics, and will hopefully improve. i'm just confused. i've heard of cats being diagnosed with the herpes virus-how were they diagnosed without a test? is it a presumptive diagnosis based on repeated infections in response to stress? should we just treat shyloh 'as if' and do whatever can be done for a herpes+ kitty-i've heard of L-lysine. i'd rather not wait until she gets sick over and over to do something, i don't like not knowing-but she said there was no test? it's a virus! shouldn't it show up in bloodwork like any virus? oh-they wouldn't vaccinate yet, btw.

Best Answers

  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    Accepted Answer
    Feline rhinotracheitis virus (feline herpesvirus type 1 or FHV-1) causes acute respiratory illness known as rhinotracheitis (or feline herpesvirus infection). The virus affects domestic and wild cats worldwide. Rhinotracheitis is characterized by respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, nasal discharge, rhinitis (inflammation of the nose), and conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membrane lining the eyelid). It also affects the reproductive tract and can cause complications during pregnancy. Rhinotracheitis is part of the feline upper respiratory infection complex, which is a group of viral and bacterial infections (e.g., calicivirus, chlamydiosis) that cause sneezing and discharge from the eyes and nose. Cats often have two or more of these upper respiratory infections at the same time, and FHV-1 is one of the most common.
  • Ruth SaundersRuth Saunders Member Posts: 139
    Accepted Answer
    Hello, Sorry to hear Shyloh has a bump in the road with her recovery. Hope she's feeling better soon & the other little one, too! Sounds like the antibiotic will take care of the incision & hopefully the resp. symptoms, too. I think you got it right that the diagnosis of Herpes infection is presumptive, based on symptoms. And I guess if the antibiotic doesn't clear it up, it can be presumed to be a virus. I think the eye drainage (if there is any) is more clear, too. If I remember right, most cats have been exposed to it, (80%?), or maybe just of shelter kitties. Of the kitties here 2 have presented with symptoms- Conjunctivitis, eye drainage, sneezing. One course (sev wks) of Lysine cleared it up entirely for each and no further outbreaks. That was 5 and 7 yrs ago. I think the usual dose is 250-500mg sprinkled on (moist) food daily. But your Vet can best advise. It's 100% safe, a protein. It works by inhibiting the reprodution of the virus. A search could tell you more. Purrs!
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    Accepted Answer says, "There is only one test that is accurate enough to be worth doing if one wants to know for sure if Herpes is present or not and that is the PCR (“Polymerase Chain Reaction”) test. This is a DNA test that amplifies the presence of viral DNA so that even one single virus can be detected in a sample from a conjunctival swab. The extreme sensitivity of this test has made it somewhat problematic for laboratories to run. Prior to PCR technology, serum antibody levels were run but widespread vaccination against Herpes has made these results difficult to interpret. At this point, the clinical presentation of the patient is what leads to the diagnosis of Herpes in most cases." In other words, if you have had your standard cat vaccination, which includes one against Feline Herpes, you will test positive anyway, which is why vets are reluctant to do this test. But you haven't been vaccinated yet--so, why not test?
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