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I'm pretty certain my cat has had fhv-1 most his life, every few months he gets eye and nose boogers. It's generally mild and it will subside. I've had it recommended to me giving probiotics can help a little for the flare ups, via increasing immune function etc. Has anyone any experience with this or recommendations?

Roche makes a veterinary probiotic (live culture) for dogs and cats. It's expensive. Is there any home remedy versions of probiotic cultures safe to give?

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  • Has the condition of fhv-1 been diagnosed by a Vet? There are other causes of the symptoms you describe. – James Jenkins Oct 16 '14 at 9:14
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    @JamesJenkins FHV-1 (also known as feline herpes) is so common in the household cat population that a recurrent infection like this is generally assumed to be FHV-1. – Zaralynda Oct 16 '14 at 13:39
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Anecdotal

The probiotic that I'm most familiar with is Fortiflora. Fortiflora is popular not only for it's probiotic properties, but also as a readily available source of animal digest (which can make unpalatable food smell REALLY GOOD). I have used it for this reason when getting cats to switch to wet food from a dry food diet.

I have one cat with FHV-1, and have not notice any symptom changes whenever he had access to Fortiflora.

Review of Scientific Literature

There appears to be one study on the subject (and they also used Fortiflora).

Lappin MR, Veir JK, Satyaraj E, Czarnecki-Maulden G. J Feline Med Surg. 2009 Aug;11(8):650-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jfms.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Feb 6. Pilot study to evaluate the effect of oral supplementation of Enterococcus faecium SF68 on cats with latent feline herpesvirus web abstract

This study was reviewed in detail by the SkepVet (Dr. Brennen McKenzie):

So overall, the study provides little support for the thesis that Fortiflora boosts general immune function in a way that would be clinically useful for cats with FHV-1 rhinitis. ... This paper is interesting, and the line of inquiry may lead somewhere eventually, but it does not justify the widespread use of Fortiflora for FHV-1 rhintis.

Part of the reason this study is inconclusive is that there were so few animals used (12) and the results were very inconsistent (leading to no statistical differences between treatment groups).

I did not find any further studies.

In Summary

Probiotics are not harmful, and can be helpful if your cat has other illnesses such as diarrhea. If you want to try it, there's no harm in it, but there's also no scientific evidence that it will help either.

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  • This was the answer I was expecting unfortunately. Excellent information here thank you. – rhill45 Oct 16 '14 at 14:56

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