Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR)

Feline rhinotracheitis is the most serious of the respiratory diseases of cats and for kittens is fatal. It is produced by a herpes virus and is spread by direct contact by either nasal/eye discharge, saliva, or by litter box or water bowl contact.


Symptoms of feline viral rhinotracheitis starts with a fever which progresses to sneezing, coughing, and nasal and eye discharge. The cats eyes will become inflamed, this inflammation can then lead to ulcerations which will force the eyelids to eventually shut. The thick discharge can cause the nose to become blocked completely which will cause open-mouth breathing. Stomatitis (mouth ulcers) may also be a symptom of FVR. These mouth ulcers make eating very painful for the cat, so she will begin to lose weight. In cases where the mouth doesn’t become ulcerated, the cat can still suffer a loss of appetite due to congested nasal passages which compromise her sense of smell. You can try to make food more appealing to your cat by warming it slightly to help release the aroma.


Treatment of feline viral rhinotracheitis will include the use of antibiotics, IV fluids, topical eye ointments, and nutritional support. It’s important to keep the nose and eyes free of discharge at all times. This can be done by using a cotton ball moistened with water to clean your cats eyes and nose. If her nose has any chapped areas, you can use a little drop of baby oil over these areas.

If your cat has a severe infection, she will be more likely to have recurring colds.


You can help prevent your cat from developing this disease by making sure she receives a yearly vaccination.

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