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Herpes Zoster in Dogs and Cats FVR in Cats CMV in dogs

Herpes Zoster / FVR in felines / CHV in canines

Herbal canine and feline nutrition to help address viral infections such as herpes in dogs, puppies, cat and kittens. 

The immune system is a complex army of cells found through out your pet’s body that provides a fortified defense against unwanted invaders. It is an intricate system that keeps your pet healthy and protects them against allergens, viruses, bacteria, microbes, parasites, toxins, foreign fells and cellular mutations (healthy cells which have mutated into irregular cells). The immune system is tasked with protecting EVERY cell in the animal body. With so many pet parents wondering why and how to best support immunity in their dogs and cats, this article will highlight its role and provide practical suggestions. 

A healthy immune system is resilient and powerful and up to the task of supporting normal, balanced function. The immune system is not intended to be suppressed or stimulated.  But even an animal with a highly developed immune system can experience dysfunction or failure. In cases of dysfunction, an animal body requires whole body systemic support. If your pet’s immune system is weakened, every bodily system is at risk for disease. 

When your animal’s immune system is triggered, and if it is not in balance, it sends an alarm throughout the body in instances such as exposure to infections, fleas, pollen, chemicals or other inorganic materials. When immunity is not balanced, it becomes overactive or suppressed and is no longer able to tell the difference between its own body or a foreign invader. As a result, the animal body basically attacks its own immune system, opening the door to inflammation, infection and autoimmune disease. 

Felline Herpes

The herpes virus, also called feline viral rhinopneumonitis, (FVR), rhinotracheitis virus and feline herpes virus type 1 (FHV-1), is one of the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats. Many cats are exposed to the virus at some point in their lives, and should be vaccinated for the herpes virus as well as for calicivirus, panleukopenia, and Chlamydia.

Up to 90 percent of all cats can be infected with herpes FHV-1, and many are infected at birth from their mothers. Most will remain carriers without every being symptomatic (having symptoms present.) Senior cats, young kittens and cats with compromised immune systems are most at risk. FHV-1 is species-specific to cats so pet parents as well as other pets, including dogs and other household pets, are not at risk. Likewise, cats cannot catch the strain of herpes that humans and dogs can carry.

Multiple-cat households have a greater risk of infection because FHV-1 is easily passed in nasal and eye discharge, even when the infected cat isn't displaying symptoms or experiencing re-occurrence of infection.

The most common way for the herpes virus to spread is through contact with discharge from an infected cat’s eyes, mouth or nose. Cats can catch this virus by exposure to an infected cat through grooming, sharing litter boxes as well as food and water dishes. As discussed, an infected mother can also pass the virus on to kittens that are still in the womb. Because the virus is highly contagious, it is common in shelters, catteries, and multi-cat households.

Some cats who become infected with feline herpes are latent carriers, meaning they never display symptoms but can still infect other cats. Stress can cause these carriers to “shed” the virus, exhibiting mild symptoms, which clear up on their own after a few days.

Cats of all sizes, ages and breeds are susceptible to feline herpes. However, cats in crowded or stressful conditions or with weak immune systems often develop more severe symptoms. Kittens are at greater risk as are specific breeds such as Persians and other flat-face breeds. Cats weakened by the virus may also develop secondary infections.

Feline Symptoms of Herpes Zoster/Shingles:

Sneezing attacks (it is uncommon for cats to sneeze)

Watery discharge from nose

Watery discharge from eyes


Pink eye (inflammation of the eyelid)

Lesions in and around the eyes

Eye ulcers




Loss of appetite




During flare-ups, shingles (FHV-1) can cause corneal scarring or degeneration, both of which can lead to permanent vision loss. After an outbreak, your cat's eye might water frequently, and there is no cure or preventative.

Kittens are at much greater risk of dying from herpes (FHV-1) than adult cats. Adult cats rarely die from herpes FHV-1, and usually only from complications that follow lack of treatment. If your cat has herpes FHV-1, it is important to keep its environment as stress-free as possible to avoid future flare-ups. L-Lysine is an amino acid that can help inhibit reoccurrence of FHV-1.

Canine Herpes

Canine herpes virus can cause illnesses similar to chicken pox in humans. The virus is common and may affect nearly two out or three dogs as carriers of the virus. In affected mature dogs, the herpes virus can be sexually transmitted. Adult dogs can be latent carriers of the virus for years and show no signs of disease. The virus may cause mild respiratory illness which dogs with healthy immune systems can usually overcome. 

Canine herpes virus (CHV) is al known as “fading puppy syndrome,” is a viral infection that infects the reproductive organs of generally adult dogs and is the leading cause of death in puppies younger than 3 weeks old. One puppy in a litter may be affected, and death may occur abruptly, with little or no warning, or an entire litter may perish within a 24-hour period. If the disease is contracted when the puppies are older than three weeks, it is often less severe. Older puppies have a much better chance of survival, but may have long-term effects of a persistent CHV infection.

Canine Herpes Zoster symptoms in puppies may include:

Sudden death of newborn puppies



Persistent, unabated crying or whining

Refusal to nurse

Lack of suckle reflex 

Lack of or little appetite

Painful abdomen bruising

Bloating of abdomen

Soft yellow or green feces



Puppy may feel chilled or cold to the touch

Respiratory difficult and/or nasal discharge

Hemorrhages usually related to nose bleeds or small bruises

Older puppies may develop blindness, seizures or other nervous system abnormalities

Organic Remedies - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets)

Herbal remedies are used to help reduce symptoms of viral infections, to help promote general, systemic health in dogs and cats, to help keep an animal free of infection, to soothe all bodily systems affected by infection, for its antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, to support incurable viral infections such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), to help promote immunity and reduce inflammation, diseases and conditions related to infection and to help maintain the normal balance of micro flora in the gut, to promote and restore liver and digestive health.

Yummy Tummy  (learn more) promotes Probiotic digestive, urinary, bladder and gall bladder support, for all types of digestive disorders, promotes proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, for bladder (cystitis) and kidney (pyelonephritis) infections, for urine leakage and urinary incontinence, as a natural, plant-based steroid alternative, provides important support for cramping, pain, discomfort, Gastroenteritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD), prostate inflammation, BHP, prostatitis, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS) and for Candida albicans.

Seal ‘Em & Heal ‘Em – (learn more) promotes healing for all types of wounds, including hot spots, abrasions, bites, cuts, scrapes, skin irritations, infections, bleeding & hemorrhaging conditions, ulcers, GERD, esophaghitis & other degenerative conditions of the larynx & throat; provides cellular support of tissue, skin & coat; for gastrointestinal distress; as a neurasthenic that blocks the activation of nerve fibers & tissue response to inflammation, supporting the body's tissue repair mechanism to stop mutations (important in the treatment of all types of Lyme disease, including Lyme borealis, burgdorferi, borreliosis & Chronic Lyme disease (CLD).

Joint Ease Super Dog & Cat – (learn more) contains a synergistic blend of plant and marine extracts that promote preventative and reparative support to rebuild tissue, joints, bones and muscles; supports balanced immunity and limits whole body inflammatory response while promoting systemic healing; as a holistic, natural treatment for rheumatism; for arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatism, Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), Intervertebral Disk Disease (IDD), Degenerative Myelopathy, arthrosis and related inflammation and pain; for muscle pains, strains, injuries and other degenerative joint related diseases; as a pain reliever for swelling and lack of mobility; for overall optimal health and function and as a natural alternative for tumors and cysts. Contains herbs and marine extracts recognized by the World Health Organization as some of the most important ingredients in the natural treatment of all forms of arthritis.

I Feel Good –  (learn more) promotes healthy immune response, reduces all types of inflammation, provides dermal support and growth of healthy cells and tissues in the body’s defense mechanism, reduces the histamine trigger for contact allergies, seasonal and chronic allergens, pathogens, skin rashes, infections, hot spots, inflammation, swelling, hair loss, itching and geriatria (dull coat, lethargy), for all types of arthritis, including Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and symptoms associated with rheumatism, including pain, strains, injuries, muscle pain, swelling and lack of mobility; plus contains prebiotics and probiotics useful in balancing digestive health and function plus much more. Recognized as one of the most important medicinal plants of the whole world, particularly related to supporting balanced immunity and limiting inflammation and inflammatory conditions.

Shake Ur Groove Thing  (learn more) promotes healthy bowel function and purification, gentle parasitic detoxification and body clarification, used for cramping, pain, constipation, gas and bloating, supports correct balance of intestinal flora and helps calms the digestive system, for anal fissures, fistulas, hemorrhoids, food allergies and hypersensitivities, as a general skin support, and provides a healthy solution for waste and toxin removal, including pesticides, environmental toxins, chemicals related to flea and tick products and drugs regimens such as NSAID’s and synthetic glucosteriods and corticosteroids.

Feline Conventional Treatments:

Vaccination is the best preventative. Diagnosis can be challenging, and is often based on a combination of symptoms, health history and lab tests.

Once infected, the majority of cats do not get rid of the virus. Treatment is focused on symptoms and your veterinarian may prescribe oral antibiotics or antiviral medications to help ease symptoms.

Drops and creams may be used for conjunctivitis or other eye irritations.

Sneezing is uncommon in cats. Any cat developing an upper respiratory infection should be under veterinary supervision. A brief exam by a veterinarian will help to determine if your cat requires medication, has a fever or is dehydrated. If a cat begins to show nasal discharge, loss or appetite or other symptoms, there is evidence of a secondary bacterial infection and cause for starting antibiotics.

Preventative care is contingent on limiting stress in your animal’s environment. Cats, in particular, like hiding places and private bedding areas to sleep and relax.

If your cat has shingles, frequent cleaning of the eyes to remove discharge may increase comfort.

A humidifier may help reduce congestion.  

Provide access to fresh, filtered drinking water.

Isolate your infected animal from other pets.

Keep all litter boxes, food and water bowls clean, and regularly wipe your cat’s eyes and nose, as blocked nasal passages could cause him to stop eating.

Canine Conventional Treatments:

There is no specific treatment for the herpes virus in puppies. In older puppies, force-feeding and anti-diarrhea medication are used to control symptoms until the puppy can recover.

Keeping whelping boxes warm may help to prevent the spread of the virus among newborn and young puppies. Mother dogs that produce litters with CHV should be spayed and not allowed to reproduce as it is likely the virus will infect all offspring.



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