Cat Conjunctivitis Treatment with L-Lysine

Cat conjunctivitis results when the pinkish part of the eye, called the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed. Cat conjunctivitis is often contagious, and can become chronic. Symptoms include a clear or colored discharge, yellow, green, white or brown, accompanied by squinting of the eye and potential pain. It is possible for cats to contract conjunctivitis without experiencing additional eye problems, however it is common for conjunctivitis to result from a corneal ulcer, corneal inflammation, or a condition known as uveitis, or intraocular inflammation. Feline herpesvirus-1 can also cause cat conjunctivitis.

Herpes Viral Conjunctivitis

Feline herpesvirus-1 is a viral infection that grows in the tissues of the body. Feline herpes is actually quite common in kittens who undergo stressful situations such as poor nutrition or fleas. In fact, most kittens are exposed to feline herpes, but many resist the infection. Since stress weakens the immune system, shelter kittens, strays or kittens experiencing malnutrition may contract feline herpes. Symptoms of feline herpes may pass, or be non-existent straightaway, but the disease remains in the body. When stressful situations arrive in the later life of the cat, infection will break out, symptoms may recur and your cat will require treatment.

Treatment with L-Lysine

The herpesvirus is dependent upon an amino acid called argenine for reproduction. Argenine is produced by the body, while lysine is not. L-lysine is an essential amino acid commonly used to treat herpes infections which cause cat conjunctivitis, since the herpesvirus will favor the amino acid lysine over argenine. Lysine slows or stops the viral replication, helping to significantly speed recovery. Lysine has been shown to clear symptoms completely, and discourage outbreaks for longer periods of time.

Caution When Selecting Lysine Supplements for Your Cat

While lysine is an herbal remedy readily available at natural food stores, occasionally lysine supplements contain preservatives. The preservative "propylene glycol" is a dangerous compound for cats. Cats who have ingested propylene glycol have been shown to experience side effects such as blood reactions. Always choose all natural ingredients when selecting a brand of l-lysine supplement to treat feline herpes and cat conjunctivitis. 

Dosage and Availability

L-lysine is readily available at some grocery stores, and most local and online health food stores. It is relatively inexpensive and comes in the forms of capsules, tablets, powder or liquid. Recommended dosage for treating cat conjunctivitis caused by feline herpes is 500mg twice a day for 5 days. Symptoms should be significantly lessened, at which point you may opt to continue supplementing with lysine. A maintenance dose of 250mg per day can be given indefinitely, as few to no side effects are likely. If your cat is finicky and notices the slightly salty taste of lysine , you can mix capsule, liquid or powder lysine with regular canned cat food, or baby food. Pill pockets are also available for administration of tablets. Pill pockets are a nutritious cat treat with a pocket specially designed for hiding pills.