Famciclovir is an antiviral drug used in veterinary medicine to predominantly treat cats suffering from feline herpes virus and FHV (feline viral rhinotracheitis).

What Is FHV?

FHV is an upper respiratory infection caused by feline herpesvirus 1. It is also called feline influenza and feline coryza. This is a very serious disease and one that is highly contagious, especially among young kittens. If left untreated, FHV will result in death from pneumonia in most cases.

Signs and Symptoms of FHV in Cats

Early onset signs of FHV in cats will typically include loss of appetite, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis and fever. Secondary bacterial infections like sinusitis and empyema can also develop after some time. Ocular problems, such as corneal ulcers, keratitis and corneal sequestra, can also develop.

If a cat becomes infected at an early age, the risk of FHV causing permanent damage to the nasal and sinus tissue is substantially higher.

Possible Side Effects of Famciclovir

While Famciclovir is safe and effective for use in cats, it is a potent drug and some patients may experience particular side effects, the most common of which include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and low-grade fever. Administering the medication with food can help offset stomach upset.

Famciclovir Precautions 

Treatment with Famciclovir should be avoided in patients with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the medication. It should also be avoided in cases in which the patient suffers from acute renal failure or liver disease.

Since the extent of Famciclovir’s excretion into a nursing animal’s milk is unknown, use of this drug in pregnant or nursing animals should only occur when the benefits outweigh the risks.

How Is Famciclovir Administered?

Famciclovir is administered orally through a number of formulations including oral tablets, capsules, pastes and suspensions. This medication is registered and only available with a prescription from a licensed veterinarian.

Due to the intense nature of FHV and feline herpesvirus, it is very important to follow the prescribed directions as precisely as possible. It is equally vital to complete the full course of treatment in order for the medication to work as intended. Failure to do so will increase the risk of relapse.

Author: Giano Panzarella

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