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Diet Changes for Feline Herpes Virus

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi all! It's me....again.

I'm just soaking in as much information as possible while waiting for some signs of improvement for Butters, my new little boy, since he may or may not have the herpes virus and is having an outbreak right now (antibiotics aren't working for long, etc).

I've gone on to read that many of you have this situation with cats, and that you have yours on special diets. What do you recommend? I won't say what I have my cats on now, because the petfood war seems to be pretty big, and I honestly can't afford $100 bags of catfood for my 3 babies, but it's not bargain dollar-store brand...it's probably higher mid-range.

My problem is that all cats are fed at the same time via a large bowl that's always there for them (I know, not ideal), and wet food a few times a week for just a treat. My two newest are pretty small (in fact, we're trying to get Butters to gain just another few pounds -- he is up a pound in two weeks though! This is great, because he was SO skinny), but my oldest (2.5 years) is larger (13.8 pounds), but still not "fat." The vet considers him to be "perfect," which is odd for such a heavy cat, but from my photos (he's the black and white -- Domino), you can see, he's just HUGE....he's twice as long as the little ones.

But he does have a little pouch, so I do have the concern of not wanting him to get any larger (and honestly a pound lost would probably not be terrible for him), but wanting the two others TO get larger, and now the added bonus of possibly having a separate diet just for my herpes boy.

Phew. I hope this wasn't as confusing as I think it might be...
post #2 of 8
If he does indeed have FHV, then the best thing you can do for him is to go grain-free. It is believed that the arginine in the grain helps the herpes virus to replicate. I feed Wellness CORE wet and dry as well as Taste of the Wild wet and dry.

My herpes girl gets mainly wet twice a day and about 1/8 C dry a daily. We have to feed her from a separate bowl and we have to be sure to pick up food when finished serving and put away, so we do scheduled feedings.
post #3 of 8
I use low to no grain wet s and a rice and oatmeal containing dry... Grain free caused flare ups here.. in my 4 herpes cats the mid level grain containing is working well along with lysine of 500 mgs a day

If you go grain free in most areas Taste is the most reasonable at 20-25$ for 15lbs which roughly is 3.5 months for one cat
post #4 of 8
Grain free diet (here), and Lysine... I am not sure where you are and what kind of stores you have available? Mid range I think you would do well with TOTW - Taste of the Wild. I personally feed EVO, but I am thinking of going back to Orijen... I miss that fabulous food...
You might want to consider increasing the wet food too - it is one of the best things you can do to your kitties, long term... I know it is hard to afford an all wet diet... But if you can give them some every day, that will probably save you lots in vet bills in the long run...
Just something to think about...

ETA: There is another reason why I do grain free for Bugsy, and that is his IBD... With Herpes AND IBD, he just does much better on it.
If you must do grains, I would choose Rice, and stay away from wheat, soy (as source of protein) and corn.

You will know what is best for HIM and for yourself - some diets simply don't agree with some kitties... Cats very different in that department...
post #5 of 8
l-lysine is used to control the herpes virus. Antibiotics only clear up the secondary bacterial infection, will not touch the virus itself, which is not curable.

I don't agree that cats with herpes need grain free diet, but every case is different. Tolly has herpes, and until he began l-lysine there was a time I thought he would lose his eyes.

Tolly has been taking l-lysine for 8 years now, and never has flare ups anymore.

Tolly does very poorly on grain free diets, he loses weight (which he can ill afford to lose, being already too thin) and his coat gets rough and dull.

He is on a canned food diet with rice in it, with kibble for snacks, the kibble also has other grains (but no wheat).

Schedule feeding (and increased exercise) is the best way to manage a cat's weight who does not self regulate.
post #6 of 8
Really, foods are what works for the cats.

Our vets have never recommended any special foods or changes in food for herpes cats other than it is best to give them wet as they can smell their food better when they have a fluid buildup from an outbreak so will eat more.

While I think a higher quality food would help the immune system from the extra nutrients in it - I don't think there is a right food as such, as you can see from posts above, many recommend something different, it is just what is right for your particlar cat and you in terms of affordability and who it is fed
post #7 of 8

I have tons of advice for FHV kitties. I've raised 3 from several days old.

In regards to food, chicken is not recommended.  Rabbit or lamb, as hard as it is for this vegetarian to put, is best.

I've done years of research and have tons of info for dealing with flare ups.  

I'm going to be sharing everything soon so that people can get some great info through tons of experience and 

lots of money. Easy, inexpensive things that are quite doable.  I'll keep everyone posted if anyone is interested. 

Thanks and good luck!

post #8 of 8
This is a very old thread. We welcome any comments and ideas on treating FHV, but there are other more recent threads on the subject, or you might wish to start your own.
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