Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, otherwise known as FIV, which can lead to Feline AIDS, is an increasing problem for our much-loved cats. FIV is a severe disease affecting the immune system that is spread by fighting. Thankfully, today we can prevent it.

FIV is a virus that aggressively attacks your cat’s immune system, similarly to HIV in humans. This means that an FIV infected cat is more susceptible to infections and that treating those infections can require an extended course of medication. Unfortunately, even a simple complaint can become a complicated issue in a FIV positive cat.

FIV can be difficult to diagnose. Cats generally present with minor symptoms initially, such as loss of appetite, fever, lethargy and/or gingivitis. As the disease progresses, cats generally suffer with failing health and lingering illness. Today, we can run a simple blood test to check if a cat has been infected with FIV.

The FIV virus is primarily spread through bite wounds generally inflicted in cat fights. This is because the virus can be found in a high concentration in the saliva of an infected cat. FIV is species-specific and therefore cannot be transmitted to humans.

The incidence of FIV varies around the country, but studies have shown that up to 50 per cent of cats that are allowed outside could have FIV. Outdoor cats, of course, have the highest risk of exposure.

Thankfully, today, we are not only able to identify the disease, but we can prevent it as well. That’s right! FIV can be prevented with a simple vaccination program. For more information on the FIV vaccination, ask your local Vetlove for more details.

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