This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of topical ophthalmic aciclovir applied five times daily as a treatment for feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) keratitis in a group of cats in a first-opinion practice setting. Cats with ocular signs indicative of FHV-1 or Chlamydophila species infection, predominantly conjunctivitis and keratitis, were tested for FHV-1 antigen using an immunofluorescent technique on air-dried conjunctival swabs. They were first treated with topical chlortetracycline with efficacy against Chlamydophila species and then, in cases positive for FHV-1, with topical aciclovir. The time to recovery was determined and illustrated using a Kaplan-Meier plot. Three cats were infected with Chlamydophila species and showed a median time to recovery of 14 days (95 per cent confidence interval [CI] 10 to 18 days), while 30 cats infected with FHV-1 showed a median time to recovery of 12 days (95 per cent CI 10 to 14 days). The drug dose at which 50 per cent plaque reduction (ED50) occurred in a standard plaque reduction assay was determined in an in vitro study. This showed a mean (sd) ED50 of aciclovir of 25 (3·5) mg/ml compared with 0·4 (0·05) mg/ml for trifluorothymidine, a drug known to be efficacious against FHV-1. The study shows that even though aciclovir is generally considered to lack efficacy against ocular FHV-1 infection, when used frequently it can have a beneficial effect in FHV-1 conjunctivitis and keratitis
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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