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Lysine for Cats for Feline Herpesvirus: All You Need To Know


Often when someone says their cat has an upper respiratory infection, they are advised by friends who have had cats for years that they should sprinkle some lysine for cats that to place on the sick kitty’s food. However, a look over the body of research available indicates that lysine supplementation does not help cats with Feline Herpesvirus (FHV-1).

What is Feline Herpesvirus?

Feline Herpesvirus (FHV-1) is one of the main causes of upper respiratory infections in cats, and it is directly or indirectly accounts for over 90% of feline eye diseases. The virus is very common, and many cats are exposed to it as kittens by an infected mother caring for them.

  • The virus transmits between cats through:
  • Direct contact through saliva or through nasal or eye secretions
  • Inhaling sneeze droplets of an infected cat
  • Sharing food bowls and litter boxes
  • Sharing contaminated bedding or grooming aids

FHV-1 Infection Symptoms

At the time the cat is infected, the main symptom of FHV-1 is an upper respiratory infection, including discharge from the eyes and nose, sneezing, fever, lethargy, and sometimes coughing.

After the upper respiratory symptoms are gone, the virus remains in an inactive status in the nerve cells of most cats. A little under half of those cats will have the virus reactivate at some time later during their life. The FHV-1 virus reactivates when the cat is under stress, including emotional or physical stress. Additionally, some drugs like corticosteroids are likely to reactivate latent FHV-1 in a cat.

When the virus reactivates in a cat, the cat might show upper respiratory symptoms mentioned above, or the kitty might instead only shed the virus, becoming contagious to other cats without appearing sick.

Less commonly, cats with chronic FHV infections have inflamed corneas (the clear covering of the eye) that can lead to ulcers in the eye.

Why Do People Expect Lysine Would Help with FHV-1?

Dr. Andrew Weil, an integrative physician for humans, recommends that people with the viruses that cause herpes in humans, HSV-1 and HSV-2, reduce the amount of the amino acid arginine in the diet and increase their intake of the amino acid lysine to reduce symptoms. There is mixed evidence about this, practice, but it is frequently repeated advice both around the internet and through veterinarians.

The theory behind this is that lysine interferes with the replication of the virus by blocking the body’s uptake of arginine, which can worsen herpes outbreaks. Human bodies create arginine naturally but require dietary lysine, so dietary modifications and/or supplementation are suggested.

Lysine for cats is similar to Vitamin C for humans. It is an amino acid that helps boost the immune system. I’m sure there are far more technical descriptions about lysine and cats, but that is the extent of my knowledge. This is the same thing as L-Lysine that humans take, but the one for cats includes flavoring to make it more palatable for them.

Cats, Lysine and Arginine

Cats and humans aren’t the same. An overview of all of the previous research done on lysine and FHV-1 showed that lysine does not inhibit arginine in cats. This means that there isn’t really a purpose behind supplementing cats with lysine.

Cat herpes, otherwise known as rhinotracheitis, is an upper respiratory illness that can also potentially affect the eyes. It is an airborne virus, and because of how easily cat herpes spreads, cats that live with other cats in the same household are the most at risk. While L-Lysine supplements are not a direct cure for cat herpes, it has been clinically shown to both decrease a cat’s risk of contracting the rhinotracheitis virus, and slow the growth of the infection.

Symptoms of Cat Herpes

You can tell if your cat has the cat herpes virus if it displays excessive sneezing and nasal discharge. Cats infected with the feline herpes virus can also get rhinitis, or an inflammation of the nose. It is uncommon for a case of cat herpes to affect the eyes, except in young kittens, which have a less developed immune system. Ocular infection also grows more likely as the cat gets older. Kittens usually experience so much ocular discharge that their eyelids stick together, while adult cats that contract an ocular case of rhinotracheitis are more likely to display corneal ulcers and recurrent conjunctivitis (inflammation of the membrane lining the eyelid).

What is Lysine Allergy? Lysine is an amino acid that is used as a supplement in people as well as cats. Lysine will help in improving supplemental calcium absorbency and is often recommended in the treatment of herpes. It works by decreasing the amount of arginine, which is an amino acid that is considered necessary for the herpes virus to reproduce.

Cats with feline herpes will display a respiratory infection with flu-like symptoms like wheezing, fever, lethargy and conjunctivitis (swollen eyes with discharge). Many cats experience exposure to the feline herpes virus however never show symptoms of the illness. If your cat has been exposed to the virus and his immune system becomes weak, the virus may flare up and cause symptoms in your cat. Lysine may also be used for cats that are experiencing allergies.

Lysine is available as a pill or in a powder that can be mixed into your cat’s food. Unfortunately, while lysine has few side effects, some cats will experience an allergy to it.

An amino acid given as a supplement, lysine can be helpful in keeping the herpes virus under control. While it has minimal side effects, should your cat’s immune system overreact, he will experience an allergy.

The Impact of Feline Herpes Virus on Your Cat

 What is the Feline Herpes Virus?

The Feline Herpes Virus causes an acute respiratory illness known as Rhinotracheitis. The virus affects domestic and wild cats worldwide. Rhinotracheitis, a member of the feline upper respiratory infection complex, is one of many viral and bacterial infections that cause sneezing and discharge from the eyes and nose. Cats often have two or more of these respiratory infections at the same time with FHV-1 being the most common.

Where does the virus typically originate?

Cats of all ages and breeds are susceptible to FHV-1. Certain factors increase the likelihood:

  • Kittens born from infected mothers
  • Multi-cat households, catteries, and pet adoption centers with the following factors:
  • Overcrowding
  • Physical or psychological stress
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor sanitation
  • Poor ventilation
  • Lactating pregnant cats
  • Sick cats, particularly those with a weakened immune system or other respiratory infection
  • Unvaccinated cats

How is the virus spread?

FHV-1 is spread through the discharge from an infected feline’s eyes, nose and mouth. The most common methods of transmission are when contact with contaminated objects that an infected cat has touched or sneezed on includes cages, food, water bowls, litter trays, etc. Several days of close contact are necessary for infection to occur. Most cats that are infected with FHV-1 are never completely rid of the virus and are known as latent carriers. Latent carriers do not necessarily show symptoms but harbor the virus in nerve cells.

 What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Common symptoms include:
  • Coughing
  • Fever (up to 106⁰ or 41⁰C)
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss (anorexia)
  • Runny nose (rhinitis)
  • Sneezing attacks
  • Runny eyes

How is the virus diagnosed?

FHV-1 is diagnosed on the basis of clinical symptoms and the cat’s medical history. Lab tests detect the virus in the cat’s nasal or eye secretions. It is strongly recommended that your cat visits your veterinarian on a regular basis. If any of the symptoms are exhibited by your cat, immediate veterinarian attention is advised.

Treatment of Lysine Allergy in Cats

Should it be determined that your cat is experiencing an allergy to lysine, it is important to eliminate the supplement from your cat’s diet. If your cat has been exposed to the herpes virus and lysine has been helping to strengthen his immune system, your veterinarian may be able to recommend other supplements that can replace lysine.

Name of the ProductImageWhere to BuyAverage Reviews
Viralys Oral Gel For Cats 5oz
Vetoquinol Enisyl-F Oral Paste for Cats, 100ml
Viralys Oral Gel for Cats, 5 oz (L-Lysine) - 3 Pack
PET KING Oratene Veterinarian Antiseptic Oral Gel, 1.0 oz.
Maxiguard Oral Gel - 4 oz
Lysine for Cats - Best Cat L-lysine Immune Booster Support - Powder - All Natural Feline Amino Acid Supplement
Enisyl-F Lysine Treats For Cats (Immune System Support) - 6.35 ounce (3 Pack)
L Lysine for Cats - Tasty Chews for Immune System Support 3.74oz
NOW Pets L-Lysine for Cats Powder, 8 oz, Pack of 2

Recovery of Lysine Allergy in Cats

Once lysine is removed from your cat’s diet, the symptoms he is experiencing should resolve themselves. It is a good idea to work closely with your veterinarian to find other options that will help your cat strengthen his immune system. A strong immune system is particularly important if he has been exposed to the herpes virus as his immune system can keep the virus in check so that symptoms are not experienced.

Upper respiratory infections are common in cats, and the symptoms of these kitty colds – sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, lack of appetite, fever – are very much the same as what we experience during a cold. In addition to conventional treatments such as antibiotics or antiviral drugs, L-Lysine supplementation is often recommended to treat symptoms and prevent a recurrence. According to a recent study, more than 90 % of veterinarians in cat hospitals recommend L-Lysine supplementation.

What causes upper respiratory infections?

Upper respiratory infections are caused by either a viral or bacterial infection. The two most common viruses that cause upper respiratory infections in cats are herpes and calici. Bacterial infections are most commonly caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae, bordatella bronchiseptica, and chlamydia psittaci bacteria.

L-lysine for Cats

As a cat owner, you have probably come across the term lysine for cats and may wonder what it is and what benefits it has to offer to your kitty. Lysine is a type of amino acid that is present within the cat’s body.

I know it can be a tad bit confusing when you see two different names. It makes you wonder what the differences is. This is the case with lysine in regards to cats. Both are amino acids, and from what I could gather, they have slightly different properties between them.

Most often lysine and l-lysine are used interchangeably. For those interested in diving into the biological differences you can learn more about lysine and l-lysine by clicking on that link and reading about both.

What to Know About Lysine for Cats

It is an essential amino acid that has been used to stop the growth of feline herpes which is an upper respiratory infection that is common among cats. This respiratory condition is extremely contagious for cats. Because this is an airborne disease, it makes it much easier to spread between felines.

Some of the common symptoms of feline herpes include:

  • Sinus congestion
  • Squinting
  • Sneezing
  • Eye discharge

The Use of Lysine Supplements in Cats

As mentioned earlier, lysine is an amino acid that is used to treat feline herpes. Those who own cats will often utilize lysine supplements in treating the signs and symptoms of the virus. The lysine for cats supplements are specially formulated to inhibit current and recurring symptoms in your cat.

Lysine supplements are available for purchase over the counter with no need for a prescription. However, it is prudent to consult with your vet before making a purchase. One on the main reasons to speak with you cat’s doctor is because the dosage will differ depending on the cat’s size, eating habits, and background.

Your vet will be able to assist you with determining how much to give your cat. Plus, since it is a health-related issue, and just like how people tell their physicians about any changes in medical issues, we should be sharing it with our cat’s veterinarian too.

All You Need To Understand about the Side effects Of Lysine Supplements Powder For Cats

One question you most likely are considering is: what is lysine? Well, lysine is a pure amino acid present in the cats’s body. It’s a useful amino acid in that it inhibits the growth of feline herpes – probably the most common upper respiratory infections (URI) found in cats. Feline herpes is extremely contagious because it’s an airborne infection that replicates itself in the upper respiratory tract no matter the feline. This infection is just not contagious to dogs or humans; however it is beneficial to own an understanding of the herpes virus and the supplements used as a treatment for it.

The uses of lysine supplements powder for cats 

So is aforementioned, lysine is an amino acid used to naturally treat feline herpes; however feline owners will utilize lysine supplements to treat the signs and symptoms of the virus – squinting, eye discharge, and sneezing and sinus congestion. The lysine supplements powder for cats is actually an amino acid dietary supplement some getting accustomed to suppress current and recurring clinical symptoms.

The lysine supplement may be purchase over-the-counter; however it is advised that you simply consult a veterinarian before administration despite the positive reviews this unique supplement has received. This is recommended as an appropriate dosage will differ as stated by the cat’s size, medical background to eating habits. During a remedy phase, the cat should be isolated from different felines to scale back the various spread of the URI virus. It is advisable to wash your hands properly with soap and water before administration of the supplement.

The negative effects of lysine supplements powder for cats 

Even though this treatment is worthwhile, there is straightforward that this specific supplement can affect a feline’s health negatively. Some animals are in tune with the tablet and may present symptoms such as facial swelling, hives, persistent scratching, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums and seizures. Lysine supplements may relate to other vitamins and weight loss pills as well. In reality, when the tablet is administered in large doses the cats can develop toxicity to other penicillin-based antibiotics. If these unwanted effects should appear it’s highly sugested the fact that the cat is given to a veterinarian as possible.

Despite the cats’s ability to treat a feline herpes virus naturally with the lysine amino acid in their body, there is the choice of utilizing a lysine supplement as an extra therapy. However, if you choose to use this treatment you have to consider all the negative effects and suitable administration practices.

Administering Lysine to Felines

You should always isolate the affected cat from the rest while handling the patient. Furthermore, ensure your hands are properly washed with soap and water before you administer the supplement. Don’t forget to wash up thoroughly afterward too.

People vs. Cat Supplement

Most people wonder whether it is effective to give their kitty supplements that are formulated for humans. Well, although it is possible, it can be dependent on that specific supplement.

It is better to just buy supplements made for felines. For a definitive answer on using people supplements, you should ask the vet about whether it is safe to do so and dosage. The choice of using treats allows you to easily dial the required dosage then administer it to your pet. In most cases, the cat will like it, and this makes things a little bit easier for you.

Ailments Treated by Lysine

Lysine offers immense benefits to your cat. It helps and prevents:

  • Feline herpes symptoms
  • URI (Upper respiratory infection) symptoms
  • Squinting
  • Panting
  • Sneezing
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Fever blisters
  • Lethargy
  • Breathing problems
  • Throat and mouth sores
  • Cold sores

Dosages for Lysine in Cats

Cats that suffer from herpes virus benefit from lysine just like humans.
The supplement should be added to your kitty’s diet. The typical recommended dosage is 400mg per day for your cat. The dose can delivered in the form of “kitty treats” making it easier on your and your cat.

Lysine for Cats Products

One great thing with lysine is you have many choices as far as which one will work best for your animal. You can get lysine in many forms and comes in the following selections:

  • Cat treats
  • Powder
  • Paste
  • Pill
  • Gel
Name of the ProductImageWhere to BuyAverage Reviews
Viralys Oral Gel For Cats 5oz
Vetoquinol Enisyl-F Oral Paste for Cats, 100ml
Viralys Oral Gel for Cats, 5 oz (L-Lysine) - 3 Pack
PET KING Oratene Veterinarian Antiseptic Oral Gel, 1.0 oz.
Maxiguard Oral Gel - 4 oz
Lysine for Cats - Best Cat L-lysine Immune Booster Support - Powder - All Natural Feline Amino Acid Supplement
Enisyl-F Lysine Treats For Cats (Immune System Support) - 6.35 ounce (3 Pack)
L Lysine for Cats - Tasty Chews for Immune System Support 3.74oz
NOW Pets L-Lysine for Cats Powder, 8 oz, Pack of 2

Easiest Option – Lysine Powder for Cats

One of the most traditional options is the powder form likely because it is so easy just to mix it in with your pet’s food. As long as your cat can’t detect it or don’t mind it mixed in, they will eat it up with their meal. With the lysine powder, you can also always mix it with a strongly flavored cat food as a treat. The Fancy Feast wet foods tend to be outstanding options to disguise medicine and supplements in for your cat to eat it.

Most Convenient Option for Owners – Lysine Treats for Cats

Another good option is the cat treats which are tasty and easy to give your pet. With this option, each dose is already measured per treat. The choice of using treats allows you to easily determine the required dosage then administer it to your pet.

Cat treat lysine supplements are probably the most convenient option because there is no mixing or trying to trick your cat into taking it. In most cases, the cat will like it, and this makes things a little bit easier for you.

It is prudent to check with your cat’s vet on which form of lysine to use. They can also provide advice on the brand that will be ideal for your pet.

Does Lysine Work?

For years this was the “go-to” for treatment. More recently, there has been some research indicating it doesn’t work as well as once suspected. As with any supplement, results can vary, so it’s hard to say. Many people still use lysine supplements for cats with feline herpes.

Many say the supplement works perfectly on cats who are not under a lot of stress. Research has shown that cats that at animal shelters sometimes do not respond as well to lysine supplements. The reason for it many not work as well is because of the extreme stress levels a cat can experience when at a shelter. Keep in mind, the cat is mixed in with other animals and is in an unfamiliar territory, so it is understandable how stress levels are elevated under these circumstances.

Lysine for Cats Side Effects

Lysine offers immense benefits to your cat, but it can also have some adverse reactions. Some of the possible side effects in some cats include:

  • Persistent scratching
  • Facial swelling
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Hives
  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting

Does your Cat Need Lysine Supplements?

Lysine supplement benefits have been said to be undeniably crucial for the well-being of your cat. It not only treats feline herpes but it also helps to eliminate the symptoms. Some of the dangerous effects of feline herpes include upper respiratory damage and a painful discharge from the eyes which could result in blindness.

Herpes is highly contagious and spreads within cats however humans can not contract it from cats. It is only from cat to cat. Most cats tend to suffer from herpes virus and carry the condition all throughout their lives. Supplementation helps manage herpes since there is no cure for the condition.

Remember, a cat is capable of treating feline herpes naturally as part as its typical immune system function up to a point. However, using the lysine supplement as an extra therapy can suppress the symptoms.

Offers Help for Cat Immune System

It’s when your cat’s immune system is being taxed that the supplement provides the additional help your cat needs. Causes for a lower immune system can include various reasons such as when cats are under stress, become ill, get fleas, and extreme temperature changes to name just a few examples. It is under these types of conditions when symptoms tend to reoccur.

A lysine for cats supplement provides that extra assistance your cat needs during those stressful times. The supplement will stop the symptoms and prevent them from recurring. You should also consider the effects of the supplement and choose the administration practice that suits your kitty best.

Study finds L-Lysine supplementation is ineffective and potentially harmful

A recent study looked at infections caused by herpes virus 1, and found that L-Lysine supplementation was not effective in preventing or treating herpes infections in cats. L-Lysine supplementation also didn’t decrease the development of clinical signs, nor did it aid in treating symptoms.

L-Lysine does not have antiviral properties, but researchers found that it does lower arginine levels. Arginine is an essential amino acid that is involved in a number of different functions, including wound healing, helping the kidneys filter waste products, and maintaining immune and hormone function. Cats cannot synthesize this amino acid themselves, and arginine deficiency can result in hyperammonemia (a metabolic disturbance characterized by an excess of ammonia in the blood,) which can be fatal.

Finally, and most importantly, several clinical studies with cats have shown that L-lysine is not only not effective for the prevention or the treatment of feline herpesvirus 1 infection, some even reported increased infection frequency and disease severity in cats receiving L-Lysine supplementation.

How much lysine can you give a cat?

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.

What is Viralys for cats used for?

Viralys is a nutritional supplement containing L-Lysine HCl. It is used in cats and kittens with conditions responsive to this amino acid. In particular, Viralys is used to treat the feline herpes virus.

What are the side effects of too much lysine?

Use of calcium supplements with lysine may be associated with increasedabsorption and reduced elimination of calcium. Aminoglycoside toxicity may be enhanced in patients taking lysine supplementation. GI adverse reactions, such asdiarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain, have been reported with lysine ingestion

What is lysine and what is it used for?

Lysine is found in foods such as yogurt, fish, cheese, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, pork, and other meats. Lysine has been used to treat or prevent herpes infections (genital herpes and cold sores) and canker sores. It has also been used to treat symptoms of Bell’s palsy, and to improve calcium use in the body.

Can you give vitamin C to a cat?

Very little is stored within the body and the minute amount that is, is contained within the adrenal gland. Ascorbic acid can be fed or it can be manufactured within the body from glucose. Unlike cats and dogs, guinea pigs and humans cannot manufacture vitamin C so their only source is in their diet.



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Lucy Patrick
Lucy Patrick
Hi Furiends! Welcome, and thank you for reading CatFoodStuff! To learn more about our story, come visit us on our about page. I am Lucy Patrick, I have been around with cats for around more than 12 years. I have done the catsitting for alot of clients in and around our area & have been pursuing the Veterinary Course from University. Catfoodstuff is my attempt to answer all the issues that comes around while raising cats at your places & I am highly delighted with the reviews I am getting. We would be happy to hear from you! We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that is what provides a means for CatFoodStuff to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The price remains the same for you & we receive a small commission contributing to the website development. Certain content that appears on this site comes from amazon services llc. this content is provided 'as is' and is subject to change or removal at any time.

1 Comment

  1. williams rose says:

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