Feline AIDS – what does it mean for your cat?
IT is a little-known fact that Australians love cats - they’re the second most popular pet to dogs nationwide, with an estimated 29 per cent of Australian households owning at least one.
Another little-known fact is that Australia has one of the highest rates of infection world-wide for Feline ,PPXQRGH¿FLHQF\ 9LUXV DOVR NQRZQ DV ),9 RU )HOLQH AIDS.
Feline AIDS, as a result of the name, often attracts FRPSDULVRQV WR +,9 RU $,'6 in people.
In many respects the diseases are quite similar - infection is life-long, leads to a compromised immune system and may be transmitted from mother to offspring, or by sexual transmission.
An important difference, KRZHYHU EHWZHHQ +,9 $,'6 LQ SHRSOH DQG ),9 LQ cats is that that the primary mode of transmission between cats is in fact cat ELWHV DV ),9 LV VKHG LQ FDW saliva.
Feral cats are especially important in the transmission of Feline AIDS, with the SUHYDOHQFH RI ),9 LQ IHUDO cats estimated to be up to 25 per cent, compared to a prevalence of eight per cent in healthy pet cats.
Thus, any cat that goes outside has the potential to JHW LQWR D ¿JKW ZLWK DQRWKHU cat, and contract Feline AIDS.
Dr Chelsea Hair explains that over recent months we KDYH KDG VHYHUDO ),9 SRVLWLYH FDWV KHUH DW 'HODWLWH 9HW Services.
The consequence for a
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Some cats may show an acute, mild form of illness where clinical signs may include fever and lethargy (however, this stage may go unnoticed).
Cats will then go through what is known as a latent stage, and live for many months to years appearing healthy and well.
7KH ¿QDO VWDJH RI ),9 LV a chronic AIDS syndrome, where immunosuppression leads to various opportunistic infections.
Dr Hair urges cat owners
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This can be incorporated into a yearly vaccination and health check.
There is a quick in-house test that can be run before starting a vaccination course to ensure your cat is free of the virus.
It is important for cat owners to understand that
D GLDJQRVLV RI ),9 LV QRW D death sentence for your cat with appropriate management and care, these cats can still go on to lead happy lives.
These affected cats simply need more meticulous management to ensure a prolonged asymptomatic stage.
$W 'HODWLWH 9HWHULQDU\ Services, we are committed to providing high standards of preventative veterinary care to your cats.
For the month of March, we are offering discounted testing and vaccination DJDLQVW ),9 WR UDLVH awareness of this disease, as well as prevent further spread.
To book your cat in, call 5779 1754.
LOOK AT VACCINATING AGAINST AIDS: Feline AIDS is estimated to be found in 25 per cent of feral cat populations, and is easily transmitted to domestic animals. Luckily, a vaccination is available.