Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
BOOK ONLINE NOW!

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Feline FIV and AIDS

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Australia has one of the highest prevalences of FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) in the world BUT testing positive for FIV is not the same as having the disease feline AIDS.

Feline AIDS describes the terminal stages of disease which may not occur for many years – or at all! A positive FIV test means that your cat has been infected by the virus.

 Are my family at risk?No. Although FIV belongs to the same family of viruses as HIV in people, it only infects cats. There is no risk of cross infection of either virus between species.

 Are other cats in the household likely to be infected?

 The virus is shed in the saliva of infected cats and spread by biting. Cats with a history of cat bite abscesses are more likely to test positive for FIV. Spread between cats in a household is unlikely unless they fight. Normal social interactions such as grooming rarely transmit FIV. The best way to minimise the chances of FIV infection is to confine uninfected cats indoors away from aggressive cats.  How is FIV diagnosed?

FIV is diagnosed with a blood test at the surgery which detects an immune response (antibodies) to the virus. If this test is positive your cat is infected. Kittens with immunity passed on from their mother may test positive until 4 months of age. If a young kitten tests positive we retest them at six months of age. Will my cat recover?

Once a cat is infected with the virus it remains infected for the rest of its life but not all infected cats  become ill.  What diseases does FIV cause?

Like HIV, FIV suppresses the body’s defences so that the cat is vulnerable to diseases it would normally  defeat. The cat is vulnerable to chronic or recurrent infections that fail to respond to regular treatment. These include:
  1. Inflammation of the mouth and tongue leading to appetite loss, drooling and mouth pain
  2. Weight loss
  3. Poor appetite
  4. Fever
  5. Signs of brain dysfunction such as aggression, unequal pupils, convulsions and behavioural changes
  6. Swollen lymph glands
  7. Unusual infections like toxoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, chronic flu, pneumonia, skin disease
  8. Tumours especially those of the lymph system
The non specific signs of weight loss, poor appetite and fever occur in many diseases of cats and are usually unrelated to FIV. Cats with FIV are more likely to suffer from these signs and diseases more often and  be less able to throw them off even with treatment. FIV positive cats have a shorter life expectancy on average than FIV negative cats. Is there any treatment?

Secondary infections with bacteria or fungi are treated with antibiotics and anti-fungals but no specific treatment for the virus is available. Trials with anti-HIV drugs such as AZT have reduced mouth inflammation in affected cats but the cost and availability of AZT makes its use in general practice difficult at present. Anti-inflammatory treatment reduces mouth inflammation and peps up the appetite in many cats. Should I have my cat euthanased?

Certainly not on the basis of a positive FIV test!  Like humans with HIV, cats with FIV appear healthy and happy for a long time before getting sick. On the other hand if your cat has succumbed to multiple infections, is no longer responsive to treatment or is suffering from a chronically painful mouth then euthanasia is the kindest solution. How can I help my cat?

 Confinement indoors of an FIV positive cat  reduces the risk of infection with other agents. It also reduces the risk of transmission of the virus to other cats. A good quality, highly palatable diet as well as worming every 3 months and at least annual health checks will enhance the disease free period. Infections especially abscesses require prompt and aggressive treatment. How do we prevent FIV infection?  Desexing and confinement indoors, especially at night, reduces fighting and therefore the risk of infection. We recommend vaccination with FIV vaccine for all cats with access to the outdoors. Cats older than 6 months of age are tested for FIV before the first vaccination. A series of three primary vaccinations is given 2-4 weeks apart and then a booster is given annually.

 

 


Search Blog

Recent Posts


Tags

water award snuffles heaing massage introducing urination ulcer pancreatitis grooming ACT cat enclosures adipokines drinking a lot IBD cat behaviour nails client night urine spraying liver snot aggressive senior off food exercise cystitis renal disease drinking more bite depomedrol scratching twitching rub hypertrophic cardiomyopathy checkup thirsty information night fever aggression castration echocardiography hunters permethrin intestine Canberra on heat flea treatment pheromone sucking wool fabric obese gifts old cat desexing touch fight pica train furball cortisone face rub examination tumour odour African wild cat moving enemies hearing bad breath pet dental treatment rough play hungry abscess rigid head New Year's Eve new year blood test kibble ribbon mouth breathing pet meat virus cat flu hard faeces tablet stiff dymadon paralysis tick feline enteritis head herpesvirus outdoor cat polish abscess,cat fight flu poisonous plants paracetamol senses blindness vomiting conflict pred holidays thirst feline herpesvirus sensitive stomach unsociable lilly dehydration eye infection chlamydia string kitten tooth sick FORLS vaccination joints sore whiskers changed marking rash scratching post visit cta fight mental health of cats panamax dry food salivation scratch hyperthyroidism rolls pain relief home visit mycoplasma vomit antibiotics litter microchip wet food advantage vision new cat urinating outside litter allergy blue litter box petting cat prey snake urine scale eye lame cognitive dysfunction introductions fluid pills unwell when to go to vet old lymphoma blocked cat eye ulcer cancer panadeine free weight loss lump tapeworm anxiety runny eyes computer photo competition toxins cat enclosure opening hours not eating strange behaviour fear cranky competition kidney disease gasping hypertension diet feliway sensitive new kitten return home tick snake bite dental in season catoberfest panadol spey introduction hole poisons physical activity bump Canberra Cat Vet mince plaque ulcers painful breeder cat history kitten play annual check carrier nose scabs indoor cats blind sneeze cat fight teeth cat worms roundworm decision to euthanase lily overweight eyes runny nose appetite holes in teeth stress spraying paralysis sore eyes itchy prednisolone hyperactive cat vet diuretics toxic cat friendly spray allergy, stare into space kidney restless asthma weight cryptococcosis worms home revolution fleas discount flea prevention jumping kidneys urinating on curtains or carpet poison hunched over skin learning dental check blood pressure appointment behaviour change snakes noisy breathing birthday open day hairball love xylitol feline AIDS open night plants thyroid seizures goodbye kitten deaths skin cancer kittens food puzzles wool hospital slow foreign body skinny fits tartar sun health check insulin groom cage thiamine deficiency aspirin signs of pain blockage brown snake sudden blindness cat anaemia pain killer fat cat containment lilies holes bed pet insurance sick cat comfortis hiding vaccine best vet worming vocal Hill's Metabolic bladder body language best cat clinic lick radioactive iodine blood in urine diabetes best clinic snakebite constipation urinating dilated pupils socialisation panleukopenia heavy breathing change poisoning ulcerated nose introduce inflammatory bowel disease euthanasia corneal ulcer behaviour best veterinarian aerokat house call obesity FIV training dementia wet litter wobbles pain meows a lot antiviral christmas vet visit pill paralysed blood straining biopsy calicivirus headache desex bladder stones panleukopaenia arthritis check-up holiday weight control cough hunting grass breathing difficult RSPCA heart disease collapse poisonous furballs snuffle diarrhoea hunter tradesmen enclosure fireworks activity sense of smell crytococcosus mass high blood pressure sore ears AIDS attack enteritis yowling

Archive

A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

Get Directions