There are many health issues that can affect cats, and it can be hard to keep up with all of them. One that you should definitely be aware of is feline immunodeficiency virus, also known simply as FIV. Get to know some of the important facts about this feline illness as well as what you can to keep your cat healthy. Then, you can be sure you are doing whatever you can to care for your cat going forward.
What Is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus?
FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) is a virus similar in type and class to HIV in humans. It is a viral infection that affects a cat's immune system, weakening it and making them more prone to getting other types of infections. It is a viral infection that can only be spread between cats. Other animals and humans cannot contract FIV.
How Do Cats Get FIV?
FIV is most commonly transmitted through bites from an infected cat. However, it can also be passed from a mother cat to her babies during pregnancy. Unlike HIV, it does not seem to be a sexually transmitted disease. It also is not easily transmitted through surface contact, like shared food bowls or the like.
What Are the Symptoms of FIV?
Oftentimes, when a cat is initially infected with FIV, you will not be able to tell. It is not an infection with immediate, clear symptoms. It can take months or maybe even years for symptoms to appear. Most of the symptoms associated with FIV are those of the secondary infections they can develop because of their weakened immune system.
Some of the symptoms might include vomiting and diarrhea, sneezing and coughing, eye infections (conjunctivitis), runny eyes and nose, fever, and unexplained weight loss. If your cat shows these symptoms or any other signs of illness, going to the veterinary clinic right away is of the utmost importance.
What Can You Do About FIV?
There is no cure for FIV. Once a cat has the virus, they have it for life. Treatment for FIV mainly focuses on keeping the cat as healthy as possible and treating the secondary infections. Close contact with a veterinarian at an animal clinic is important when you have a cat with FIV.
Can FIV Be Prevented?
FIV can be prevented in cats. Firstly, you can keep your cat indoors so they do not get exposed to infected cats. However, there is also a vaccine for FIV in cats. This is an optional vaccine and you should talk to your veterinarian about whether or not the FIV vaccine is the right choice for your cat.
Now that you know more about FIV in cats, you can be sure you do what you can to protect and care for your cat (infected or not) going forward. Contact Clovis Veterinary Hospital P A for more questions.