Transmission of FHV

FHV-1 is shed through the discharge from an infected cat's eyes, nose, and mouth. Contact with these secretions is a potential mode of transmission. The most common mode of transmission appears to be contact with contaminated objects that an infected cat has touched or sneezed on including cages, food and water bowls, litter trays, pet owner's clothing, and the pet owner's hands.

FHV-1 can be transmitted by direct contact with an infected cat's mouth, nose, or eye discharge. Several days of close contact are necessary for infection to occur.

Sneezing and coughing can spread the virus as far as 4 feet.

Many cats that are infected with FHV-1 never completely get rid of the virus. These cats are known as latent carriers. Even though they may not show symptoms, they harbor the virus in their nerve cells. Latent carriers spread the infection and are a major source of new infections.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 01 Mar 2001

Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014