No, it’s not me. (Not totally true, anyone who has had chicken pox carries a version of the herpes virus which can reappear as shingles, and (possibly) Bells palsy – which I’ve had several times.)
It’s our darling cat Leo.
WTF, you might say; as indeed I did when the vet gave me the news.
Leo has been lethargic the last few days, off his food, and unusually quiet.
At first, I thought his nose was just bent out of shape because of all the attention his new brother, Murphy, was getting (although, we have made an effort to see that Leo gets his share of the love). But he kept making these “urpy” sounds like he had to throw up but couldn’t.
So then I thought he either ate something he can’t pass or he has hairball from hell that is too big to poop or puke out.
So off we go to the vets.
But once he is in the carrier and in the car, I notice, no meowing. At all. I look and Leo is going through the motions, but little or no sound is coming out.
Now I’m worried he swallowed something and it is stuck in his throat (even though Leo is not the kind of cat who eats strange things – he will play with and chew on things, but has never actually swallowed anything weird).
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
But luckily we are already on our way to see the vets.
The vet takes a look, gets Leo’s recent history. And takes Leo’s temperature (bad touch, bad touch) … Leo has a little bit of a fever, which the vet insists is good news because it is indicative of Leo having … herpes.
Leo has an ulcer on his tongue as well, and it is likely that the virus is active in his mouth and throat – causing the laryngitis (it can also go to the nose and eyes, but he seems okay on those two fronts).
And the vet assures me that, no Leo did not catch it from Murphy. (Whew.)
He told me that that most cats catch the virus from other cats; but actually something like 98% of the kittens coming out of a rescue environment (like both Leo and Murphy) carry the herpes virus which they usually have gotten from their mother (in utero). The virus stays dormant until there is a trigger – like stress. Like a cat who lost one brother a month ago, and got a new brother a week ago. That kind of stress.
The vet gave Leo some sub-cutaneous fluids to cool him down from the fever, and said barring any secondary infections, Leo should be just fine in a week or so.
Meanwhile, I have a cat with herpes. Who’d have thought?