Treating kittens with eye disease associated with viral upper respiratory tract infection!
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"Help us find a better treatment for kittens with eye disease associated with viral upper respiratory tract infections!"
Animal: Cats
Age: Less than 12 weeks of age
Healthy Pets: No
Keywords: infectious upper respiratory disease, IURD, feline, cat, kitten, famciclovir, ocular herpes virus, herpes virus, FHV-1, ocular
Type: Drug
300 Participants
Background and purpose
In older kittens and cats, the anti-viral drug famciclovir reduces the duration and severity of eye disease caused by the feline herpes virus, but it has not yet been studied in young kittens. We are therefore studying if the antiviral drug, famciclovir, can reduce the duration and severity of herpes-induced ocular disease in young kittens if added to the current treatment.
What happens in this study

Procedures involved in this study include:

  • Physical examination at UC Davis to determine age, weight, FeLV status (it not already known), and the severity of ocular disease;
  • Receive the usual treatment (antibiotic (doxycycline) by mouth and eye drops) plus either famciclovir or a placebo for 21 days;
  • Kittens will be otherwise managed according to all routine shelter and rescue group protocols.
Pet owner responsibilities

If you decide to take part in this study, you will be responsible for:

  • Administering all medications as prescribed up to 3 times daily;
  • Tracking and recording your foster kitten’s weight and health assessment observation once daily;
  • Submitting your health assessment observations once weekly;
  • Informing the study veterinarian and rescue group of any significant or emergent changes to your foster kitten;
  • Following the rescue group’s protocol housing, food and routine medical care;
  • Bringing your foster kitten to and from the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) for scheduled appointments; and,
  • Picking up medication from the VMTH when necessary.
Participation requirements

We are looking for kittens that:

  • Weigh less than 3 pounds
  • Are less than 12 weeks old
  • Have been diagnosed with FHV-1 (feline herpes virus) associated ocular disease *Are FELV negative (this test can be run during a preliminary examination)
Benefits and risks of participating
Taking part in this trial may reduce the risk of surgery or serious illness. It may also reduce the length of time, and intensity of upper respiratory infection symptoms.

It is possible that clinical signs may worsen or fail to improve during the 21 day treatment. If this is the case, the kitten may be removed from the study, and placed on famciclovir if they were not already receiving it. Otherwise, we do not anticipate any risks to kittens in this study.
There are no personal costs to you or to the rescue group/shelter you are fostering for, aside from transporting the kitten(s) to UC Davis for scheduled appointments.
PDF Docs
Clinical Trial Informational Flyer
Study duration and period
This study will last 21 days and include one visit to the VMTH.
UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
1 Garrod Drive
Small Animal Clinic - Neurology and Neurosurgery
Davis, CA 95616
Ellie Purpura

Have any questions or want to learn more? Leave your contact details below and the research team will reach out to you.


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