Effects of famciclovir in cats with spontaneous acute upper respiratory tract disease

Lucy Kopecny, David J Maggs, Christian M. Leutenegger, Lynelle R Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the effects of famciclovir administration in cats with spontaneously acquired acute upper respiratory tract disease. Methods: Twenty-four kittens with clinical signs of acute upper respiratory tract disease were randomly allocated to receive doxycycline (5 mg/kg PO q12h) alone (group D; n = 12) or with famciclovir (90 mg/kg PO q12h; group DF; n = 12) for up to 3 weeks. Clinical disease severity was scored at study entry and daily thereafter. Oculo-oropharyngeal swabs collected at study entry and exit were assessed using quantitative PCR for nucleic acids of feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1), feline calicivirus (FCV), Chlamydia felis, Bordetella bronchiseptica and Mycoplasma felis. Results: The median (range) age of cats was 1.5 (1–6) months in group D vs 1.6 (1–5) months in group DF (P = 0.54). Pathogens detected in oculo-oropharyngeal swabs at study entry included FCV (n = 13/24; 54%), M felis (n = 8/24; 33%), FHV-1 (n = 7/24; 29%), C felis (n = 7/24; 29%) and B bronchiseptica (n = 3/24; 12%). Median (range) duration of clinical signs was 11.5 (3–21) days in group DF and 11 (3–21) days in group D (P = 0.75). Median (range) total disease score at the end of the study did not differ between groups (group D 1 [1–1] vs group DF 1 [1–3]; P = 0.08). Conclusions and relevance: This study revealed no significant difference in response to therapy between cats treated with doxycycline alone or with famciclovir: cats improved rapidly in both groups. However, identification of FHV-1 DNA was relatively uncommon in this study and clinical trials focused on FHV-1-infected cats are warranted to better evaluate famciclovir efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • doxycycline
  • famciclovir
  • Herpesvirus
  • quantitative PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals


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