Rabbit the cat (very confusing!) is owned by Carina, one of our veterinary nurses here at Carlton Vet. Rabbit has regular bouts of runny eyes and occasional sneezing. She has suffered on and off for several years, but lately it seemed to be getting worse. Carina decided it was time for Rabbit to have a visit to the clinic for a health check over.
After a thorough examination, Dr Tom advised Carina that Rabbit will need some tests. This included taking two swabs, one from the eye and one from the back of the throat. The swaps were sent to an external laboratory. We received the results back within 48 hours and as Dr Tom suspected Rabbit was suffering from Herpes virus.
Herpes virus in cats is the same family (but not the same virus) as 'cold sores' in people. It is carried by large numbers of the cat population (possibly 30% or more). It is a virus that is difficult to eliminate and once a cat has the virus it will happily sit behind the eye. When they get stressed, it creeps down and sets up an infection in the eyes and/or nose. It is particularly dangerous in kittens and our senior cats, whose immune systems are weaker.
The good news is there are options available for treatment which can give us great results. If you have noticed on-going sneezing or runny eyes in your cat, then please contact us or pop in to the clinic, and we will be able to help.