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  • Author or Editor: David J. Maggs x
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Objective—To assess effects of disease severity, sampling instrument, and processing technique on extracted DNA yield and detection rate for feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) via PCR assay.

Sample Population—Crandell-Rees feline kidney (CRFK) cells grown in vitro and conjunctival samples from 40 eyes of 20 cats.

Procedures—Samples of CRFK cells (collected by use of a swab or cytology brush, with or without suspension in PBS solution) underwent DNA extraction; DNA yield was quantified spectrophotometrically. In affected cats, signs of herpetic disease were subjectively assessed. Conjunctival swab and brush samples were collected bilaterally for measurement of DNA concentration; a defined mass (DM) of DNA and defined volume (DV) of sample were assessed for FHV-1 via PCR assays.

Results—For CRFK cells, DNA yields from unsuspended swabs and brushes were greater than for suspended swabs and brushes; suspended swab samples yielded less DNA than suspended brush samples. For conjunctival samples, DNA yields from swabs were greater than for brushes. Clinical score was not correlated with double-stranded DNA yield collected via either sampling instrument; however, cats with FHV-1–positive assay results had higher clinical scores than cats with FHV-1–negative results. Detection of FHV-1 in swab and brush samples was similar. Double-stranded DNA yield and FHV-1 detection were inversely related via DM-PCR assay. The DV-PCR assay had a significantly higher FHV-1 detection rate than the DM-PCR assay.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The DV-PCR assay of DNA extracted from an unsuspended swab sample was the preferred method for assessment of conjunctival shedding of FHV-1 in cats.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate orally administered famciclovir for treatment of cats with experimentally induced disease attributable to feline herpesvirus type-1 (FHV-1).

Animals—16 nonvaccinated specific-pathogen-free cats.

Procedures—Cats were treated orally with famciclovir (90 mg/kg; n = 10) or a similar volume of lactose (400 mg; 6) 3 times/d for 21 days. Cats were inoculated with FHV-1 and administered the first treatment dose on day 0. Disease score; weight; results of urinalysis, serum biochemical analysis, and CBC; histologic conjunctivitis score; herpetic DNA shedding; goblet cell density; anti-FHV-1 antibody concentration; and plasma penciclovir concentration were measured.

Results—On days 4 to 18 following inoculation, disease scores were lower in famciclovir-treated cats than in lactose-treated cats. Lactose-treated cats decreased in weight during the first 7 days after inoculation, but famciclovir-treated cats increased in weight throughout the study. Percentage change in weight was greater in famciclovir-treated cats on days 7 and 14 than in lactose-treated cats. Serum globulin concentration was lower on days 3 through 9, conjunctivitis histologic score was lower on day 14, herpetic DNA was shed less frequently throughout the study, goblet cell density was greater on day 21, and circulating anti-FHV-1 antibody concentration at study end was lower in famciclovir-treated cats, compared with these measurements in lactose-treated cats. Approximate peak plasma penciclovir concentration was 2.0 μg/mL.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Famciclovir administration improved outcomes for systemic, ophthalmic, clinicopathologic, virologic, and histologic variables in cats experimentally infected with FHV-1. Adjunctive topical mucinomimetic and antimicrobial treatments may also be necessary.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine within a cat shelter effects of dietary lysine supplementation on nasal and ocular disease and detection of nucleic acids of Chlamydophila felis, feline calicivirus (FCV), and feline herpesvirus (FHV-1).

Animals—261 adult cats.

Procedures—Cats were fed a diet containing 1.7% (basal diet; control cats) or 5.7% (supplemented diet; treated cats) lysine for 4 weeks. Plasma concentrations of lysine and arginine were assessed at the beginning (baseline) and end of the study. Three times a week, cats were assigned a clinical score based on evidence of nasal and ocular disease. Conjunctival and oropharyngeal swab specimens were tested for FHV-1, FCV, and C felis nucleic acids once a week.

Results—Data were collected from 123, 74, 59, and 47 cats during study weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. By study end, plasma lysine concentration in treated cats was greater than that in control cats and had increased from baseline. There was no difference between dietary groups in the proportion of cats developing mild disease. However, more treated cats than control cats developed moderate to severe disease during week 4. During week 2, FHV-1 DNA was detected more commonly in swab specimens from treated versus control cats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dietary lysine supplementation in the amount used in our study was not a successful means of controlling infectious upper respiratory disease within a cat shelter. Rather, it led to increases in disease severity and the incidence of detection of FHV-1 DNA in oropharyngeal or conjunctival mucosal swab specimens at certain time points.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research