Managing Feline Immunodeficiency Virus FIV is the HIV for cats

BY | December 07 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
Managing Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Photo by Kelvin Valerio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-cat-with-green-eyes-617278/

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Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a disease that affects some cats, and it can be transmitted from cat to cat. FIV is not spread to humans or dogs, but it does affect the immune system of infected cats.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), similar to human immunodeficiency virus, causes an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in cats, i.e., it causes damage to the cells that help fight infections.

Like HIV, FIV is spread by biting wounds and can also be transmitted from mother to kittens during gestation and at birth. Unlike other viruses that cause immunodeficiency in cats, such as FeLV, FIV does not cause anemia or vitamin A deficiency.

According to a study, in North America, 2.5-5% of healthy cats get infected by FIV, whereas the percentage increases to 15% in sick cats. 

The signs of FIV may vary among individual cats but may include:

? Weight loss

? Lethargy

? Fever (not always present)

? Depression and disorientation 

An FIV-Positive Cat Should Not Be Housed With Other Cats

FIV-positive cats should not be housed with cats that do not have FIV. It is possible for an FIV-positive cat to transmit the virus to a non-FIV-positive cat, although the risk of this happening is low. This can happen through bite wounds or when sharing food and water bowls, litter boxes, and grooming tools.

Because of this risk, cats can only be kept together if they are known to be FIV-negative or if they are vaccinated against FIV. It is also advisable to have the following separated for all of your cats:

·       Cat beds

·       Cat litter box

·       Cat bowls 

Provide Excellent Patient Care

A very important aspect of treatment for an FIV-positive cat is to provide excellent patient care to ensure proper nutrition and parasite control. Proper nutrition is key to managing the symptoms of FIV in cats, such as weight loss and diarrhea. It also helps prevent the development of other diseases that can be associated with immunosuppression.

In general, good nutrition is important for all cats. Still, it is especially important for those infected with FIV because they may have more difficulty obtaining nutrients from their food or be at increased risk for developing vitamin deficiencies due to intestinal absorption problems caused by intestinal lymphoma.

You can get some Nulo cat food, or Royal Canin cat food, as they come in various varieties and are loaded with numerous ingredients to help your cat get all the required nutrients. They are generally readily available and can be found in any pet supplies shop or pet pharmacy. 

FIV Is Spread Primarily Through Bite Wounds

In many cases, cats who are infected with FIV will show no symptoms and can live a normal lifespan. However, in other cases, the virus may cause various illnesses, including anemia, lymphoma, and cancer of the immune system.

Since FIV is spread primarily through bite wounds, and attempts at infection via other routes have been unsuccessful, you should take great care to protect your cat's health. To do this:

? Keep your pet indoors or allow it outside only on a leash or enclosed in a safe enclosure with secure fencing; if you must allow it to roam free outdoors, keep it away from areas frequented by wild animals like foxes and raccoons. 

? Do not adopt stray cats into your home without consulting with a veterinarian to ensure they aren't carrying any infectious diseases. 

If Your Cat Tests Positive, Don't Panic

If your cat tests positive, the following things can help:

? Veterinarians can give them pet medication to help their immune system fight off the virus and manage existing symptoms. This might be done over the course of their life or just during periods when they're unwell.

? They should also be fed a balanced diet, like Purina one, which is full of essential vitamins and nutrients to support good health overall so they stay strong enough to fight off illness more easily than other cats might. 

Conclusion

The good news is that you can keep your feline friend healthy for as long as possible by regularly taking him to the vet for check-ups and vaccinations. Immunodeficiency virus is treatable and manageable. Your veterinarian can advise you on your cat's best course of action, depending on his age and overall health status.

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