The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) causes feline AIDS and is relatively common in Australia and New Zealand, with up to 25% of domestic cats testing positive for the virus.
This disease is incurable. It compromises the efficiency of a cat’s immune system by killing or damaging cells – allowing them to be far more susceptible and likely to succumb to common illnesses and viruses.
How is FIV transmitted?
The virus is spread by blood or saliva transfer between cats, through:
- Biting (between fighting or mating cats)
- A mother cat and her kittens
What are the symptoms of FIV?
Symptoms may not develop for many years in a large percentage of infected cats, and some may never experience any. When symptoms do develop, the most commonly observed are:
- Severe dental (and gum) disease
- Weight loss
- Kidney disease
- Eye and mouth discharge
- Swollen/enlarged lymph nodes
- Eye diseases
- Neurological issues
How is feline AIDS treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure or specific treatment for feline AIDS.
Veterinarians will treat each individual problem in an infected cat as and when it occurs. Often, the cat will appear to return to full health before they become ill again.
Protect your cat from FIV
You can protect your cat to an extent by keeping them indoors and limiting their exposure to unknown cats.
We recommend vaccination for high-risk cats. Vaccination will cover two strains of FIV, and is up to 80% effective.
We will run a test to ensure your cat has not already contracted the virus before beginning a vaccination program and annual booster shot.