Pet Pointers: Feline AIDS
You may have heard of a disease called FIV or Feline AIDS, but what is it and can it be cured? Today, we’ll learn more about FIV in this edition of Pet Pointers.
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FIV was first isolated by researchers at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1986 and is now identified all over the world. Humans cannot be infected with FIV this disease is exclusive to cats.
FIV weakens a cat’s immune system, and if they pick up a bacteria or virus they could become very sick from an otherwise harmless exposure. A cat can have no symptoms of FIV for many years until they are ill. Signs of FIV in cats may include poor coat condition, fever, and loss of appetite or behavior changes.
Infection commonly occurs when an FIV positive cat bites another cat. Often it is free-roaming, aggressive male cats are the most likely to be infected, while cats that are only indoors are much less likely to be infected. Sexual contact is not a major means of transmission and infected mother cat can pass FIV to her kittens but not necessarily. Before you bring a new kitten into a home with other cats be sure to have the kitten tested. If they test FIV positive, have them tested every 60 days until they are six months old, there could have been a false positive reading which often happens with an FIV positive mom. Do not be alarmed if healthy cats come into contact with FIV positive cats unless they play rough. Normal contact will not spread infection but biting could.
If a cat is FIV positive work with your vet to provide treatments that will keep the disease in check. Many FIV positive cats live long happy healthy lives with proper attention and care.
Feline FIV is not a death sentence and can be managed with help from your vet.