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An_220916 posted:
I visited and helped out at my local cat shelter. I was told that three of the kittens less than a few months old had some kind of disease that affects the membranes and respitory parts of the cat. I was also told that if the disease affects their eyes its almost too late to do anything for the cats. The kittens eyes are pinkish red and are kind of cloudy. They are giving the kittens some eye drops.

My question is what is this disease called and what can you tell me about this disease? Can the kittens be saved?
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Ernie Ward, DVM responded:
Great question - sadly I'm not psychic enough to give you a very accurate answer!

My suspicion is the shelter is referring to feline herpes virus infection. Don't worry; you can't get herpes from cats! This is their version and it typically results in chronic (life-long) intermittent infections of the upper respiratory tract. Clinical signs usually involve runny eyes, sneezing and decreased appetite. Most cases "run their course" in about two weeks while others require extensive treatment. I often recommend cats with herpes conjunctivitis be given a nutritional supplement, L-lysine, for life to help attenuate outbreaks.

Other more serious infections are a possibility.

If you have any additional information, please post so that we may have a better clinical picture.

As an aside, if you're contemplating adopting a shelter cat, keep in mind that herpes infection is extremely common in the cat population and shouldn't deter you from adoption. If you do, take it to your vet before allowing it to contact any of your existing feline family members.

Good luck! Dr. Ernie
 
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An_220917 replied to Ernie Ward, DVM's response:
I will definately keep you up to date on other symptoms the kittens have. I did notice that they are friendly little things and they weren't with their real momma but a serrogate momma cat. I'm not sure where the real momma cat is. I don't think she was brought in with the kittens. The kittens eyes had sort of a pinkish cloudy look to them.

I've seen other cats in the shelter with similar eye problems but those are older cats.

I wish I could adopt one of the kittens cuz they are so sweet and want attention all the time and have the sweetest little meow where it is almost faint! I'm only allowed to have one pet in my apartment and I've already taken in a stray that we found last year. But she loves her new home and has easily gotten accustomed to staying inside now.
 
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An_220918 replied to An_220917's response:
Oh! I almost forgot to tell you that I only see the kittens on the weekends. I can't wait to see them again!
 
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Annie_WebMD_Staff replied to An_220918's response:
Hi Anon_35910,

I hope the kittens at the shelter get better! Won't you keep us updated on how they are doing the next time you see them? I hope that they all get adopted and find new and wonderful homes with someone!

- Annie


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