Have you ever heard of cat FIV? You need to!
FIV, or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, is an incurable virus found all over the world.
In the U.S. alone, approximately 3% of the healthy cat population are infected and over 15% of sick cats become infected each year.
Although, those numbers may not seem very high, keep in mind that these percentages only came from the cats reported to have this condition. Who knows how many cats are suffering from FIV silently and have not been taken to their veterinarian?
To make matters worse, FIV is a slow-acting virus meaning your cat could be suffering from this virus for years and you many not even know it!
The only way a pet owner can know if their cat has FIV before symptoms arise is through a specific blood test. Without this blood test, you have no idea of the kind of viral monsters hiding in your poor cat’s body.
You love your cat. Don’t let her get infected. Learn how to prevent cat FIV today.
What is FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)?
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is comparable to the human viral infection HIV. FIV is a lentivirus, meaning it is a virus that slowly spreads through the body, attacking the immune system.
The immune system is the body’s own personal body guard, working to keep viruses, bacterial and other harmful substances from harming the body. If the immune system is weakened, like in the case of a FIV infection, the feline is more prone to becoming ill.
There is no cure for the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and treatment for this condition is only meant to improve the quality of life for the feline.
How do I know My Cat Has FIV?
The biggest problem with FIV is that a cat could become infected with the virus and pet owners won’t know it until years later. By the time symptoms do appear, the condition continually becomes worse and the battle of your cat’s health will be prolonged for years.
If you note any of the following FIV symptoms in your cat, have your feline examined as soon as possible:
- Change in behavior
- Polyuria, or frequent urination
- Discharge from the nose and eyes
- Wounds that never heal
- Hair loss
- Reddening of the skin
- Dental disease
- Stomatitis, or mouth inflammation
- Gingivitis, or gum inflammation
- Conjunctivitis – inflammation of abnormal appearance of the eye
- Poor appetite
- Dull and listless fur
- Decrease in weight
- Lymph node enlargement
How Are Cats Infected with FIV?
The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is passed from cat to cat through bites. These bites that transmit FIV are deep wounds, like those commonly found after territorial fights between males.
The virus can also be passed from an infected mother to her kittens during birth or nursing.
FIV is a blood borne pathogen, meaning the blood is infected, therefore a cat can also be infected by coming in contact with blood containing the virus.
Who is at Risk?
Any feline can become infected with FIV, but indoor cats that never leave the house are less likely to develop this virus because they almost never come in contact with another cat.
However, if your house cat goes outside, wanders around town or is primarily an outside cat, he or she is at a higher risk. The most cat veterinarian see enter the office with FIV are male cats who fight with other tom cats.
Can I Get Infected with FIV?
No. The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus can only be transmitted from cat to cat.
How is FIV Managed?
As recently stated, FIV is not curable and the cat’s condition is simply managed. FIV weakens the cat’s immune system, making her more susceptible in developing other infections.
To prevent her from getting sick, cat owners should have her vaccinated from other viruses, keep her indoors and isolate her from other felines.
Your veterinarian may help to relieve your cat of FIV symptoms by prescribing an immunomodulatory drug, a medication that works with the immune system.
One type of antiviral, immunomodulatory drug commonly prescribed is Interferon.
Cats that do not respond well to drug therapy may require dietary supplements containing high calorie levels, transfusions of blood (a process in which blood is given through an intravenous line to restore blood that has been lost) and intravenous fluid therapy (fluid given to the cat through the veins to restore hydration).
How Can I Prevent FIV in My Cat?
1. Have your cat vaccinated for the FIV.
2. Keep your cat indoors or discourage them from leaving the yard.
3. Don’t let your cat outside at night. Your cat is more likely to become infected at night than during the day because cats are naturally nocturnal, meaning they are more active during the night than in the day.
4. Have your male cat neutered. Cats which are not neutered, the process of removing reproductive organs to prevent reproductively, will not fight with other cats and are less likely to roam the countryside.
5. Keep stray cats away from your pet. A stray cat is more likely to carry the virus than pet cats, so it is advised to report strays to the local animal control agency or shelter.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a scary condition that could infect any cat at any time, but you have an advantage. Learning how to prevent FIV in your cat can help keep your perfect feline from a lifetime of suffering.
Don’t take the chance of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus coming in between you and your cat’s lives.
Talk to your veterinarian about an effective preventative plan for you and your cat today.