Did you see the Feline HIV posters when you last visited your local Veterinarian? Have you heard about it on social media? It’s becoming increasingly common, and one of our subscribers has asked us to tell you more about it.
The video below is very informative and I encourage you to watch it! Feline HIV is actually Feline AIDS, or FIV; Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. It is carried in a cat’s saliva and is transferred (usually) via bites/cat-fights. Like HIV in humans, FIV slowly disables the animal’s immune system, resulting in a limited ability to fight off other infections. This can make common ailments more severe, and sometimes life-threatening! (See our article on Cat Flu)
FIV isn’t like snakebites, or a nasty bout of diarrhea; it can take many years before signs of infection are even noticed. Over time, infected cats will present with things like anorexia, gum disease, persistent vomiting, anemia and diarrhea, weight loss, dermatitis, respiratory, or urinary infections, and other illnesses that are often associated with immunodeficiency.
Has your cat recently been in a scuffle? Have you just had them treated for a cat bite abscess? If so, it’s a good idea for them to be tested for FIV. While it might sound like a scary prospect, imagine the gut-churning doubt of not knowing! A simple blood test is all it takes to give you the answers you need.
If your cat’s blood test comes back as negative for FIV, (this means your cat does NOT have the virus), your veterinarian may offer you a new three-part vaccination (followed by an annual booster), which has proved to offer good prevention! And if your cat is one who roams, we can’t recommend the vaccinations highly enough to help give your beloved pet their best chance at a full life.
Should it be found that your cat has FIV, I am sad to report that there is currently no cure. But don’t despair! Symptoms may not develop for YEARS, and until your cat is deemed to lack quality of life, they can live out their days without a care in the world!
However, when symptoms begin to show, treatment is intended to help support your cat’s immune system until the disease proves fatal, or your pet needs to be euthanized to ensure they don’t suffer.
To be a responsible pet parent, it is recommended that any FIV positive cats are kept indoors at all times to reduce the spread of the disease. If you are concerned about your pet’s health, please contact their local Veterinarian immediately.[mashshare]
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