FIV IN CATS
FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, which only affects cats. The virus is common worldwide. It’s highest prevalence is in cats that go outdoors, stray cats, and barn cats, especially in adult male cats and cats that fight/bite each other. The virus is very short lived outside of the cat.
Mode of Transmission:
The most common way FIV is transmitted is directly through saliva from bite wounds from infected cats. Less common ways are blood to blood, or from infected queens to their kittens.
Clinical Signs of Disease:
Following infection most cats have no signs of illness for years. Many cats with FIV will live a happy healthy life for 5-10 years or more. Over time the immune system is compromised and doesn’t function as well as it should, predisposing cats to secondary infections. Signs of FIV infection are varied, but can include:
General lethargy, oral lesions and sores in mouth, eating less, losing weight, fever, large lymph nodes, other infections, lymphoma, as well as many other signs.
Most affected cats will test positive on a routine antibody test within two months of exposure. Occasionally false positive results occur, in which case the cat should be tested again weeks later, or a confirmatory test can be run-like the Western blot test. Cats vaccinated for FIV will turn up positive on current FIV tests. Veterinarians are currently working on tests to differentiate a previously vaccinated cat from a truly infected cat.
Vaccine for FIV:
A vaccine commercially exists for FIV, but veterinarians rarely give it because of effectiveness concerns and that vaccinated cats test positive on FIV tests.
Isolation of FIV positive cats in households where cats get along and don’t fight is no longer considered necessary. If there is a risk of fighting and biting then isolation is best. Keep the affected cat indoors to minimize chance of virus spread to other cats and to prevent secondary infections in your affected cat. Drugs that stimulate the immune system generally don’t help but interferon alpha may provide some benefit. The human HIV drug AZT may help cats showing signs of infection.
If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, call and schedule your appointment today. Please do not hesitate to get in touch! We will make it the best experience possible for you and your four legged friend!Squan Animal Hospital LLC 1427 Lakewood Rd Manasquan, NJ 08736 Phone: 732-528-9199 Fax: 732-528-0769 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org