A Promising Drug for Feline Herpes Virus

Eye problems occur frequently in cats with feline herpes virus 1 (FHV-1) and can lead to blindness if untreated. Current medications must be applied several times daily and evidence of their effectiveness is lacking.

Now scientists at the Baker Institute for Animal Health at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine have discovered that the drug raltegravir — used to treat human HIV infections — reduces FHV-1 production, even when applied only once every 24 hours.

“The use of raltegravir to treat ocular FHV-1 infections would be beneficial in that it would require fewer applications to the eye, which, as any cat owner knows, would be a good thing,” says researcher Gerlinde Van de Walle, DVM, Ph.D., at Cornell.

The study was supported by the Cornell Feline Health Center. While FHV-1 is contagious among cats, humans and dogs can’t contract it, nor can cats be infected with human herpes.