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Feline herpes virus type-1 (FHV-1) is one of the most common causes of respiratory infections and eye problems in cats. In fact, up to 97% of cats have serological evidence of exposure to FHV-1. Following recovery from primary infection, up to 80% of cats become carriers.
Although carriers can remain asymptomatic for long periods of time, they harbor the virus in the nerve cells. Cats who contract FHV-1 remain lifelong carriers of this highly contagious virus and can easily pass it on to un-infected cats through:
From the dormant state, FHV-1 may be reactivated and shed throughout the infected cat's life, especially at times of stress.
While there is no cure, you can help your patients get over primary infection and reduce the severity and frequency of recurrences by prescribing L-lysine. L-lysine is an amino acid that, when administered to cats with FHV-1, has been shown to:
Herpes viruses are dependent on arginine, an amino acid that is essential to the development of viral protein. L-lysine competes with arginine, affecting the virus's ability to replicate, consequently reducing the viral load.