Feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV is a fatal condition that affects cats across Australia and yet little is known about it. Cats who are infected with the virus may carry it for years before showing any symptoms, which makes the chances of spreading the disease much higher. It’s a slow-acting disease which can be managed but will ultimately take your cat’s life.
What Are the Symptoms of FIV?
When symptoms do develop, your cat may show signs for a short period and then appear to return to normal health, or the symptoms may gradually worsen over time. Any of the common symptoms on their own don’t necessarily indicate feline AIDS, but if you notice two or more of the following simultaneously in your cat then it’s time to head to the vet:
- Weight loss
- Unhealthy coat
- Inflammation of mouth or gums
- Wounds that don’t heal
- Change in behaviour
How Can My Cat Get FIV?
The most common form of transmission is through fighting. When deep bite wounds are caused there is a chance of the disease spreading, but there’s no need to worry about light scratches or surface scrapes. It is also possible for the disease to be transmitted during birth from the mother cat to her kitten.
What If I Suspect FIV?
If you suspect your cat has feline AIDS then it’s essential you take it to your vet straight away. Explain all of the symptoms you’ve spotted, no matter how insignificant they seem as anything could help with the diagnosis. Keep your cat indoors and away from other cats until you are sure it is safe.
What Will My Vet Do?
The test for FIV is a blood test which your vet will carry out as soon as possible. If the results are inconclusive then further tests may be carried out in order to definitively rule out FIV, as the risk of infecting other cats makes a suspected case very serious.
What is the Treatment for Feline AIDS?
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for FIV. The virus slowly attacks the cat’s immune system, making it highly susceptible to secondary infections. Treatment focuses instead on keeping the cat comfortable and boosting its immune system with medicines. You’ll need to keep your cat indoors for the rest of its life and away from healthy cats and make sure that it is neutered.
What is the Future for a Cat with FIV?
With a healthy diet, the proper medical care, and a stress-free environment your cat could live for years to come before reaching the chronic stage of the disease. Your vet will be able to give you an accurate prognosis so that you know what to expect for the future of your pet.
To arrange a check up with one of our friendly vets, call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team today on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.