Antiviral combination treatment in cats with feline herpesvirus-1 infection

Feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) can cause lifelong problems such as rhinotracheitis and ocular disease due to latency and reactivation in affected cats. The particular effects of antiviral drugs have been separately investigated in previous studies for decades and little is known about the combination treatment in active FHV-1 infection. Therefore, the authors of this research have studied the effects of antiviral combination on clinical effectiveness in cats with naturally occurring FHV-1 infection. 

Twenty-eight cats suffering from clinical signs of sneezing, nasal congestion, conjunctivitis, and eye/nose discharge were involved in this study following FHV-1 DNA detection by PCR assay in oculo-oropharyngeal samples. The treatment protocol was as follows: oral famciclovir and L-lysine, ophthalmic acyclovir, and subcutaneous amoxicillin plus clavulanic acid. 

The symptoms improved each day and total recovery success rate was 80% reduction in clinical scores at the end of the treatment on day 10 (p<0.001). Additionally, PCR was found to be negative for FHV-1 DNA in 82.1% of the samples after the treatment. There were mild decreases in neutrophil and monocyte counts (p>0.05). The arginine to lysine ratio decreased in favour of lysine (p<0.01). 

Therefore, the antiviral combination treatment with famciclovir, L-lysine and ophthalmic acyclovir, and antibacterial drug appears to be clinically effective for the treatment of naturally occurring active FHV-1 infection in cats. In addition, any adverse clinical effect has not been determined associated with the antiviral combination during the study.

“Clinical evaluation of antiviral combination treatment in cats with feline herpesvirus-1 infection”. Y Ozkanlar, et al. Pol J Vet Sci. 2023 Dec 12;26(4):705-713.  doi: 10.24425/pjvs.2023.148290.


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