We have all heard of the human virus HIV but did you know that there is a feline equivalent of this called FIV? Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a viral disease that only affects cats. The disease destroys the immune system which leaves your cat unable to fight off infection or disease. It is most commonly spread through fighting but can also be passed on from a mother to her litter, or in some cases during mating.
Infected cats can survive for some time without showing any symptoms but eventually you will notice some or all of these signs:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Behavioural changes
The only way to confirm if your cat has contracted the disease is with a blood test. The test is performed in the clinic and we have results within 10 minutes.
There are a few options to limit the chance of your cat contracting this disease. These include:
- Having your cat vaccinated against the disease. A blood test will be required if your cat is over 6 months of age.
- Keeping your cat indoors or in an enclosure.
- Desexing your cat to reduce the chance of roaming and fighting.
There is unfortunately no cure once your cat has been infected with the FIV virus. Vaccination is the best way to protect your pet from this virus and can be started at any time.
Visit the links below for more information about FIV.