Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis – (part of FVRCP vaccine)

Rhinotracheitis refers to inflammation of the nasal cavities and the trachea. This infection is typically caused by feline herpesvirus and leads to acute upper respiratory infection with sneezing, coughing, ocular and nasal discharge, and sometimes inflammation/ ulceration of the cornea. In young kittens, a life threatening pneumonia can sometimes develop due to secondary bacterial infection. Most cats recover, and become life-long carriers and will shed virus and display symptoms periodically in times of stress. This is similar to the herpes simplex virus in humans which causes “fever blisters” around the mouth in times of stress, but may otherwise remain dormant in the body. FVR is part of “feline respiratory disease complex” which is caused by feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, Chlamydia psittaci, or mycoplasmas. It is often not possible to identify the causative agent, however, this is not necessary to begin treatment. The best prevention is vaccination by a veterinarian beginning at 8-9 weeks and repeated every 3-4 weeks until 20 weeks of age, then every 1-3 years as an adult.