Fe­line Im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency Virus (FIV)

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - with Felix DeNa­tris, BvSc VET­ERI­NAR­IAN

FE­LINE Im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency Virus (FIV) is a com­mon virus that af­fects cats in Vic­to­ria and Aus­tralia as a whole.

It is a virus speard most com­monly by cat bites of­ten from feral or stray male cats, but can be spread by any cat.

The virus over time sup­presses the im­mune sys­tem lead­ing to in­creased sus­pectibilty to in­fec­tions and cer­tain can­cers.

The FIV virus is closely re­lated to HIV, but luck­ily hu­mans can­not catch FIV.

How do you know if your cat is in­fected?

Once in­fected, a cat may take years be­fore the virus be­comes ac­tive and starts to cause clin­i­cal signs.

The ex­act time be­tween in­fec­tion and clin­i­cal signs varies greatly be­tween cats.

Most cats that have FIV of­ten are taken to the vet for seem­ingly un­re­lated in­fec­tions e.g. uri­nary tract in­fec­tions, skin in­fec­tion, gin­givi­tis, and oth­ers.

Some cats will de­velop en­larged lymph nodes, fever or lose weight as a direct re­sult of FIV in­fec­tion.

Of­ten your vet­eri­nar­ian will rec­om­mend test­ing for FIV if you have an out­door cat that is hav­ing re­peated or re­cur­rent in­fec­tions. Di­ag­no­sis is based on a sim­ple blood test.

There un­for­tu­nately is no cur­rent cure for FIV. The dis­ease is gen­er­ally man­aged by treat­ing in­fec­tions and other con­di­tions as they arise.

How can FIV be pre­vented?

Avoid­ance is the safest way to pro­tect your cat, by keep­ing your cat/s in­doors or in a cat run.

Min­imis­ing feral cat pop­u­la­tions by de­sex­ing all cats.

Vac­cines are also widely avail­able - a course of three vac­cines 2-6 weeks apart fol­lowed by yearly boost­ers gen­er­ally given at the same time as your cat’s core vac­cines.

If you are con­cerned about your cat and po­ten­tial FIV ex­po­sure, con­tact your vet­eri­nar­ian to dis­cuss test­ing.

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