How does kitty get Feline Herpes?

Got Oscar from breeder. Vet is 99% positive he has feline herpes. He is our only pet, strictly an indoor kitty and has had no contact with any animals for the whole month we've had him. Where did he get this disease? I notified the breeder to alert her of her cattery being infected. I thought this was a virus that kitties only got from other infected kitties/animals but the breeder says: "Of course it is easy for a kitten to catch viruses from infected cats but it is not the only way. In small concentration viruses are everywhere and it is possible to get infection at any moment. Most viruses are safe for healthy cats living in a comfortable and stress-free environment but I heard from some breeders that they don't ship kittens because respiratory infection including herpes as the result of stress during and after shipping." Is this true, could Oscar have picked up herpes randomly? Or is she just making stuff up?

Best Answers

  • Sandy NenningerSandy Nenninger PlainvilleMember Posts: 1,975
    Accepted Answer
    Kittens can get upper respiratory infections from the stress of the travel and the stress of a new home but for it to be herpes virus, it was my understanding that he had to get it from somebody. Exposure to an infected animal before he was fully vaccinated with the kitten series of 3 FVCRP shots. A URI can exist without it being herpes but when they have herpes virus, they can not fight the infection and medication doesn't work as easily as it should and will get sick more often. What makes the vet think he has herpes virus? Has he not responded to medication for a URI and has he been continuously sick? My vet mentioned that L-Lysine seems to help cats with Herpes virus by keeping the symptoms under control. She doesn't think Kira actually has the virus but she has a nasal blockage and we are using it to see if it helps at all. It is an amino acid that even humans can take to boost immunity. We are using Viralys and it's made for cats. Ask your vet if it might help.
  • Roopa RajaramadossRoopa Rajaramadoss manchesterMember Posts: 205
    Accepted Answer
    Cats of all ages and breeds are susceptible,although it is more common in the following:Kittens, especially those born to infected mothers.Multicat households,catteries,pet adoption shelters,esp. those with: Overcrowding,Physical(e.g.,temperature) or psychological(e.g., introduction of a new cat),stressors,Poor nutrition,Poor sanitation,Poor ventilation,Pregnant cats that are lactating,Sick & Unvaccinated cats.The most common mode of transmission appears to be contact with contaminated objects that an infected cat has touched or sneezed on including cages,food and water bowls,litter trays,pet owner's clothing,and the pet owner's hands. Many cats that are infected with this virus never completely get rid of the virus.May be your cat was infected before thru one of the methods and the virus became active after some stress related incident.In humans they say chickenpox virus is in everyone's nerve cells and is dormant.It becomes active due to a stress related incident.
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    Accepted Answer
    Poor Oscar! Poor you! It's much more common for shelter kitties or ferals to have herpes, but even cattery cats can get it. I suspect that the breeder was in denial when she seemed to imply that he didn't get his infection in the cattery. Cats are not pack animals, and are particularly prone to various diseases, including herpes, when in contact with each other. My own breeder, who is definitely NOT a "bad" breeder, has had kittens with runny eyes, and when I pointed out that they had upper respiratory infections, he didn't seem to quite get how serious this was--he said he'd get them treated on his next vet visit. HOWEVER, I show my Maine Coons at cat shows, and know that, not only can cats get URIs through the air at cat shows from sneezing cats, but that you can carry home the virus on your clothing and transmit it to a cat who's never been to a cat show in its life--that happened to a friend of mine. We're praying for you and Oscar.
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