Feline immunodeficiency virus in cats is a dangerous health issue that affects 2.5 to 4.5 % of cats globally. Cats carrying FIV might not show any signs for a long time after the primary infection occurred. The virus acts quite slowly and the cat’s immune system remains severely affected once the virus takes control. It is similar to the immunodeficiency virus in humans.
This virus steadily increases the susceptibility to several other secondary infections. Affected cats receiving intensive and proper medical care can live for years before the virus reaches its final stages.
Signs Of FIV Or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus In Cats
- Varied signs due to the cat’s weak immune system to develop a fighting immune response. FeLV or feline leukaemia virus and other related immunodeficiencies are quite difficult to separate one other clinically.
- Nervous system problems- Nerve problem in paws and legs, disruptions in hearing and vision, behavioural changes, and changes in regular sleep patterns.
- Recurrent skin or ear infections due to fungal infections
- Continuous diarrhea witnessed in around 20 per cent of cases
- Chronic kidney insufficiency
- Glaucoma or inflammation of the eye also including the iris
- Presence of upper respiratory issues in one-third of FIV cases. This include –
- Cornea inflammation
- Nose inflammation
- Moist tissue inflammation
- Tissue and gum inflammation in around 25 per cent of cases
- Moderate to large lymph nodes
- Continuous problem with gastrointestinal and upper respiratory signs
- A decreased capacity to produce a simple immune response
Causes Of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus In Cats
FIV virus can be detected if the semen is tested in cats. The causes may be:
- Transmission at birth
- Transmission through scratches and bite wounds
Diagnosis OF Feline Immunodeficiency Virus IN Cats
Your vet may perform a thorough checkup and consider your cat’s background history of signs and other related incidents that may have increased this condition.
The vet may also perform these tests
- Blood count test
- Blood profile test
Your vet will rule out all sorts of fungal, viral, or bacterial infections before finally settling on thorough analysis.
Vets usually treat these cases as outpatients only. Your vet will give medications to control all sorts of secondary infections. Surgery is also an option for removing tumours and damaged teeth.
An updated diet schedule will be provided.
How much monitoring will be decided based on your cat’s condition? Earlier the detection, the more the chance of survival in cats.
Within 5 to 6 years of contracting the virus, more than 50 per cent of the infected cats actually shows very little clinical signs.
Prevention Of FIV In Cats
You should vaccinate at the earliest and safeguard your cat from other FIV infected cats. The best way is to quarantine new cats before allowing them to mingle with your existing cats.
Even vaccinated cats can test positive for this virus although they may remain clean. Euthanasia will also be considered in some cases where possible transmission is life-threatening.
Confirmatory tests are conducted for further treatment and a Blot test stands a good chance. If your cat has been vaccinated, Polymerase Chain Reaction looks the best option.
In certain cases, the vet may recommend further diagnostic tests such as CBC, urinalysis, and blood chemistry panel. Vets advise medications such as Zidovudine in many cases. These drugs invariably reduce a cat’s Infection.
For cats suffering from anaemia, Erythropoietin is prescribed to increase the RBC count. Cats affected due to FIV suffer from fungal and bacterial infections.
Proper care and medication can reduce the effects of fungal and bacterial infections to some extent.
How To Manage FIV Infected Cats At Home?
FIV tested cats survive for a long time even after a positive diagnosis in some cases. These cats need a balanced diet to improve their immune function.
To tackle any problem at the earliest, FIV cats require urinalysis, blood chemistry panel, blood cell count, and a physical examination by a vet.
Consult Your Vet
False FIV tests on a really healthy cat should always be clarified by one extra test. Western Blot tests and screening tests will apparently test positive on vaccinated cats. Cats less than six months can test positive due to maternal factors present in their blood.
Possible Side-Effects Of Medications
Contact your vet if you find these symptoms
- Diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
- Bone marrow suppression is common in cats taking antiviral medicines.
- Signs of FIV infection include neurological disorders, weight loss, lethargy, and oral inflammation.
- Contact your vet at the earliest if you notice any severe health issue.