How Does A Cat Get Fiv
Cats contract FIV through close contact with other cats. The most common transmission vector is a bite wound, since feline saliva carries the virus . But the virus can also be spread during blood transfusions, through contaminated equipment, from mother to kittens across the placenta, through cats grooming and licking one another, through sharing water bowls and via most feline bodily fluids.
Due to the nature of transmission, older, outdoor, unvaccinated, and intact male cats carry the highest risk of contracting FIV. However, any cat can contract the disease.
How Long Do Cats Live With Feline Aids
The prognosis for cats that are FIV positive, but without showing signs of illness, can be very good, with some cats living for almost as long as cats that are FIV negative. However, cats that have developed Feline AIDS, with severe signs of disease, have a poorer prognosis.
Their remaining lifespan may be just a few months, but with the right treatment, this may be extended to several years.
What Type Of Disease Does Fiv Cause
FIV causes disease because it reduces the ability of the cat’s immune system to respond to other infections. Infections that the cat would normally be able to recover from become prolonged or chronic. This means that many of the clinical signs associated with FIV are due to other non-healing infections.
“Many of the clinical signs associated with FIV are due to other non-healing infections.”
Collectively, the signs seen as consequences of FIV are sometimes called feline AIDS. Common clinical signs of FIV infection include:
â¢ Weight loss
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Caring For Your Fiv+ Cat
Good care and lots of love can help your FIV+ cat to enjoy a long life. Love is a powerful immune system enhancer – so cherish your FIV+ cat! Whilst healthy, their regular annual vaccinations should be kept up to date, but do check with your vet about vaccinating if the cat is suffering symptoms. A good diet will help, including vitamin supplements such as buffered vitamin C and vitamin E, which builds immune system strength.
At any sign of illness, take your cat to the vet, as early treatment can prevent many problems. Antibiotics can control infections, and FIV+ cats who reach a chronic stage may rely on antibiotics more frequently.
Love is a Powerful Immune System Enhancer – so Cherish your FIV+ Cat!
Symptoms Of Feline Aids
As in humans, a cat infected with the AIDS virus can live years without presenting characteristic symptoms or until the disease is detected.
However, when the destruction of T-lymphocytes begins to deplete the immune system, small bacteria and viruses that our pets face daily will start to wreak havoc on the animal’s health. This is when the first symptoms may appear.
The symptoms of AIDS in most common cats that may appear months after the infection are:
- Spontaneous abortions and fertility problems
- Mental deterioration
In general, the main symptom of a cat with AIDS is the appearance of recurrent diseases. So it’s important to watch for the sudden onset of common diseases. Or if your cat relapses steadily into health problems that seem unimportant at first.
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Fiv Its Not Feline Leukemia Its Not Curable And Its Common In Cats
Testing cats for common diseases on annual intervals is becoming standard protocol in Florida. These include Feline Internal Organ Function Tests, Feline Leukemia Virus, Feline Heartworm, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus .
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is very similar to human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. This life threatening disease has no effective treatment and is non curable. It is a Lenti-Virus closely related to the Feline Leukemia Virus and occurs in about 2% of cats in the United States. About 5% of FIV positive cats also have Feline Leukemia. It is not transmitted to humans or dogs but is transmitted to other cats by saliva, primarily through cat bites. It may also be transmitted to kittens during birthing and nursing. Not every kitten born from an FIV queen can be infected. Cats infected with FIV may live for months or years. On average, life expectancy is 5 years from the time of diagnosis depending on how active the infection is. There is a FIV vaccination given twice initially, then yearly thereafter for outside cats or cats exposed to outside cats due to the potential of cat bites. This vaccine will help prevent FIV about 80% of the time.
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Making Your Cat Feel Safe
As your cat no longer has the option to move away from situations he may find stressful you will have to provide additional resting and hiding places for him. Cardboard boxes with a towel over the front or high shelves with comfortable bedding can both provide places he can go to feel safe and secure.
Providing these hiding places can be particularly important if you have more than one cat or a dog in the home. Since they can no longer choose to spend time apart their relationship may become strained and they may become less tolerant of one another.
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What Is Feline Aids
Feline AIDS is officially known as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV. It’s often called Feline AIDS because it’s similar to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus . While Feline AIDS is uncommon for cats, it can have a serious impact on their overall health.It’s a slow-acting virus that can cause a deficiency in your cat’s immune system. When it attacks your cat’s body, it causes your feline to be more vulnerable to other types of infections and diseases.
How Is Fiv Transmitted
FIV is most common in unneutered tom cats who fight rivals. It tends to be spread through bite wounds that introduce an infected catâs saliva into another catâs bloodstream. The virus may also be spread through sexual contact, although this is less common.
Pregnant FIV-positive cats can pass the virus on to their kittens in the womb, during birth or through their milk but, remarkably, the majority of kittens arenât affected. Only around a third of kittens born to FIV-positive mothers develop the condition themselves.
The FIV virus cannot survive for long outside the body. This means FIV transmission is extremely unlikely through cats grooming one another, sharing food bowls or even using the same litter tray .
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How Does Fiv Cause Cat Diseases
Many FIV-infected cats are able to live happily with the virus for a long period of time, and in some cats FIV will never cause any clinical disease.
FIV in cats infects cells of the immune system effecting their normal function.
This means that as the disease progresses, germs found in the everyday environment – where they usually do not affect healthy animals – can cause severe illness in cats with a weakened immune system caused by FIV. These secondary infections are responsible for many of the cat diseases associated with FIV.
Although there are no specific symptoms associated with FIV in cats, typical signs include:
- Weight loss.
- Gingivitis and stomatitis .
- Enlarged lymph nodes.
Comparison With Feline Leukemia Virus
FIV and feline leukemia virus are sometimes mistaken for one another though the viruses differ in many ways. Although they are both in the same retroviral subfamily , they are classified in different genera . Their shapes are quite different: FeLV is more circular while FIV is elongated. The two viruses are also quite different genetically, and their protein coats differ in size and composition. Although many of the diseases caused by FeLV and FIV are similar, the specific ways in which they are caused actually differ. Also, while the feline leukemia virus may cause symptomatic illness in an infected cat, an FIV infected cat can remain completely asymptomatic its entire lifetime.
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Causes Of Fiv Or Feline Aids In Cats
Bite wounds caused by fighting is the number one cause of FIV infection. Occasionally, an infected mother can pass the virus to kittens during childbirth or through nursing. The infection is not spread through casual contact like grooming, sneezing, or the sharing of dishes or litter boxes. Although the virus has been found in semen, it is not likely to be spread through sexual contact.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fiv In Cats
When first infected with FIV, a cat develops a short-lived illness as the virus spreads to the lymph nodes around their body. They may have a fever and swollen glands, lose their appetite and become lethargic for a few weeks. However, itâs not unusual for owners to miss these initial signs of FIV infection.
The cat then enters an asymptomatic stage of FIV infection, which can last for months or even years. They look and behave just like an uninfected cat, but can still spread the virus. Over time, FIV weakens the catâs immune system by targeting white blood cells. This eventually makes them susceptible to secondary infections from bacteria, viruses and other germs â even ones that are normally harmless to cats.
The infected cat is now at risk of developing a range of diseases, including mouth and gum inflammation, respiratory infections, skin problems, eye infections, blood disorders, stomach upsets and cancers. Theyâre likely to lose weight and could also develop neurological and behavioural disorders.
If you suspect your pet might have FIV â for example, if theyâve recently been bitten in a cat fight and are showing early symptoms â keep them indoors, away from other cats, and contact your vet. FIV is diagnosed through a simple antibody test. If your pet tests positive, you must have any other cats they regularly have contact with tested as well.
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Diagnosing Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Diagnosing FIV in cats can sometimes be difficult. The transient nature of the fever and initial symptoms can be overlooked by owners and veterinarians, and FIV is not always initially suspected in cases of oral infections or uveitis.
However, most veterinarians recommend testing cats for FIV at some point during their lives. Typically, tests are carried out when cats are first acquired as new pets if they have escaped the house for a period of time or when they have been exposed to an infected or potentially infected cat. Most veterinarians also test for FIV before administering an FIV vaccine, since the vaccine itself can generate a positive test result.
If theres any reason to suspect that your cats symptoms may be a sign of FIV, or if your cat has an unknown FIV history, your vet will recommend a blood test for FIV. These results may need to be verified with further testing, and your veterinarian may also suggest additional diagnostics depending on which organ systems are involved in the infection.
What Is Their Life Expectancy
A cat who contracts FIV will usually still have a strong immune system for several years after infection, it is only over time, that the effects of the virus may start to show, and even then, most infections can be treated with the appropriate medications. With love and good care however, many FIV+ cats can live normal lifespans. These days, it’s not unusual to find FIV+ cats reaching 15 years or more. Knowing what we now do of the prolonged nature of the condition, euthanasia is totally inappropriate and inhumane.
A ten-year FIV Monitoring Project was carried out at Glasgow Veterinary School involving 26 cats and the results indicated that a higher percentage of FIV negative cats died during the period of the study than FIV positive cats, and that FIV infection did not affect the cats’ life expectancy. Dr Diane D. Addie said “at least 3 studies in FIV positive cats have shown a life span equal to uninfected cats.” A fourteen year study by Maureen Hutchison B.Sc, BVMS, MRCVS found that FIV-positive cats are more likely to die by being killed in road accidents or to be alive and well into their twilight years than they are to die from any FIV related condition.
Knowing what we now do of the prolonged nature of the condition, euthanasia is totally inappropriate and inhumane. Being killed in a road accident is a far higher risk for a cat than FIV
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What Are The Signs Of Fiv
Signs that a cat has become infected can vary greatly, so it is not always apparent until a blood test is carried out. Often, the cat may develop raised lymph nodes around six to eight weeks after being infected, and they may have a high temperature. Sometimes diarrhoea or conjunctivitis may develop, possibly lasting days or even weeks, with the cat then returning to apparent health. Other common signs are gingivitis , sneezing, snuffling, a discharge from the nose or eyes, or kidney failure. The eyes or brain can be affected in a very small number of cases, resulting in changes in behaviour.
The fact that the virus depletes certain of the white blood cells , in theory at least, makes the cat more susceptible to other infections, and it will find it more difficult to shake them off. This is known as ‘immunosuppression’ and is identical to the situation in HIV infection. However, this is purely theoretical, and in practice many cats do not have any more infections than cats which are not infected with the virus.
How Does A Cat Catch The Virus
The virus is present in the blood and saliva of infected cats. But, like HIV, it is a very ‘fragile’ virus, and cannot survive for long outside the body. It also requires a high dose to establish an infection in another cat. Therefore, it is not easily passed from cat to cat. The main route of infection is through biting, when the virus in the saliva of an infected cat is injected directly into the blood stream of the cat it bites. Conversely, a cat which bites an infected cat, is at less risk of being infected, as the virus would not be injected straight into the blood stream, although there is still an element of risk.
Cats who fight are most likely to be infected. Cat fights are most likely between entire toms and these are therefore the group most at risk. Since many feral cats are unneutered and have to compete for food, there is a higher incidence of FIV in feral cats. The take-home message is to prevent fighting – make sure your cat is neutered!
Transmission between cats in a group who do not fight is unlikely as the virus can only survive a very brief time outside a cat’s body, and it cannot be transmitted indirectly, such as on food, feeding equipment, clothes, shoes, hands etc. . Recent research suggests the likelihood of cats passing on FIV to others in the same household is as low as 1-2%.
The take-home message is to prevent fighting – make sure your cat is neutered!
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Preventing Your Cat From Becoming Infected
The only guaranteed way of preventing your cat becoming infected is to never let it outside, where it might meet other cats. This is a drastic, and unnecessary measure, which crucially may reduce the quality of life for cats who enjoy going outside. It’s a bit like never going outside your front door just in case you get run over by a bus, basically the chances are low. The best way of helping to prevent the likelihood of infection is to make sure your cat is neutered. As well as being the most humane way of reducing the future stray population, neutering reduces the tendency to fight, or to wander. »
How Serious Is It Do Fiv Cats Have To Be Put To Sleep
Recent studies have indicated that FIV may not reduce a cats lifespan, and cats may live for many years after being infected. However, it is unpredictable, as some cats develop severe and multiple infections. It is important to try and protect cats with FIV from catching other diseases, as they are more vulnerable than other cats. They should not be fed raw foods that might carry bacteria, such as raw eggs or meat, and it is better to keep them indoors. Hunting should be discouraged.
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Is My Family At Risk
Absolutely not! Although HIV belongs to the same family of viruses as FIV, the two viruses infect different species. HIV infects only humans and FIV infects only cats. The viruses are very specific for their species and there is no risk of cross-infection between the immunodeficiency viruses of cats and people.
Fiv Treatment For Cats
Healthy FIV-positive cats do not require treatment. If the disease progresses, however, cats are treated with supportive care. Theres no treatment for FIV per se, but the symptoms or illnesses that come about as a result of FIV will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For instance, secondary infections like urinary tract infections can be treated and eliminated other conditions, like cancers, are treated with the appropriate medications and protocols.
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Symptoms Of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV, is a slow-acting virus very similar to HIV in people. Although it might take years for symptoms to present in a cat with FIV, they do have suppressed immune systems and will be much more susceptible to infections and other ailments. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, be sure to seek veterinary attention.