Why Is It Important To Understand Fiv And How It Is Tested
Consider this unfortunately common occurrence: A cat with no signs of health issues is brought to an animal shelter. Shelter staff conduct a routine FIV test, and the cat is found positive for FIV. As a result, the cat is killed. Though she showed no symptoms of FIV-related health problems, the test was still treated as a life-or-death matter.
This cat, and many others just like her, could have had a high quality of life in indoor homes with people or outdoors with their feline families. On top of that, the test may have been incorrect. FIV tests are not diagnoses and can be unreliable for multiple reasons.
Whether you have a cat who has tested positive for FIV, are trying to decide which tests to include for a Trap-Neuter-Return program, or are answering questions from others on FIV, the information below will help you save lives.
What Is Fiv In Cats
If you’re a cat parent, you may have heard of FIV, but what is it? FIV is short for feline immunodeficiency virus, which is an infectious retroviral disease in cats. FIV is a lot like HIV in humans: It attacks a cat’s immune system, weakening it over time and leaving them vulnerable to secondary infections. Once a cat is infected with FIV, they’re infected for life.
Keep reading to learn more about FIV, including its signs, how to prevent the virus in your cat and how FIV treatment works.
What Can Be Done To Prevent The Spread Of Fiv
Cats should be kept indoors, so they do not fight with an FIV-positive cat. Depending on where one lives, the rate of FIV-positive cats ranges from four to 24 percent. An FIV-positive cat can live with an FIV-negative cat as long as neither cat is a fighter, or if the FIV-positive cat has no teeth.
There is a vaccine for FIV, but Best Friends does not recommend it because the vaccine does not have the best efficacy and, after a cat is vaccinated for FIV, the cat will test positive for the virus. At this point, no test can differentiate whether a cat tests positive for FIV from the vaccine or from having the infection. In some areas, if a cat escapes and is picked up by local animal control and then tested, the cat may be killed because of a positive test.
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What Is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a retrovirus belonging to the lentivirus subfamily. It infects the cells of a cats immune system and can kill, damage, or affect the cells normal functions. In short: It can compromise the immune system. FIV only affects cats and cannot be spread to humans or other animals.
How Is Fiv Spread
FIV is spread primarily through cats saliva, particularly when a cat bites deep into another cat.
FIV typically does NOT spread through cats grooming each other, sharing food and water bowls, or sharing a litter box. A cat who tests positive for FIV can live with a cat who tests negative as long as they get along and arent aggressive toward one another to the extent of serious biting.
It is possible, but less common, for an infected mother cat to pass FIV to her kittens before they are born or while they are nursing.
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Delight Their Palette With These Smart Food Choices
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The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang
Canned cat food is an essential part of your cats diet. While cats do enjoy a varied selection of food and should be fed both dry and wet foods, canned cat food has the advantage of a high water content, which helps to keep your kitty hydrated.
The amount you feed them and the type of canned cat food depend on several factors, including their age, overall health needs, and size. You should also keep an eye on the ingredients when shopping for cat food, since some cats have sensitivities to certain ingredients or preferences when it comes to protein sources.
Read on for the best canned cat foods.
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Turkey | Life Stage: Adult
When selecting a canned food for your feline friend, look for one that has been certified Complete and Balanced by the American Association of Feed Control Officials . This means the food contains a high-quality mix of ingredients to meet your feline’s basic nutritional needs, explains Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH, including meat, taurine , and water.
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 6 ounces | Main Ingredient: Salmon | Life Stage: All
What Are The Symptoms Of Feline Leukemia
This disease produces very variable symptoms, sometimes subtle. The affected cat may show non-specific symptoms such as decreased appetite, depression, general discomfort, and fever. You may also notice weight loss, swollen glands, diarrhea or chronic loose stools, respiratory and eye problems such as rhinitis, sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and various infections such as gingivitis, dental infections, and abscess.
In addition, in the long term, cancer and blood disorders can also create all kinds of various symptoms.
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Caring For An Fiv Positive Cat
Feline immunodeficiency virus is an infectious disease that attacks a cat’s immune system. It causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome in cats, resembling AIDS caused by the human immunodeficiency virus in humans . In North America, a 2006 study of more than 18,000 cats found that 2.5% were positive for FIV.
FIV positive cats may appear normal for years, but their compromised immune system makes them more vulnerable to other infections. Normally harmless organisms found in the everyday environment, like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can potentially cause severe illnesses. To obtain a diagnosis, testing is done using a small blood sample. A positive screening test is typically followed by a confirmatory test.
Cat Stress: Is It Connected To Immune Support For Cats
One of the best ways you can set your cat up for success is through extra immune support, including giving your cat everything they need to thrive. As a cat owner, youve probably seen products marketed towards you for cat supplements or special treats and diets that promise to improve your cats immune system. The best resource for ensuring your cats immune system is supported is always going to be by talking with your PetWellClinic veterinarian. However, here are some other easy things you can do at home for immune support for cats!
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Why Does An Fiv+ Cat Need A Garden/outdoor Area
Behaviourally, the domestic cat is very much like her wild cat relatives what this means is that she may be highly motivated to spend a large proportion of her day exploring and seeking out interesting sights, smells, sounds, textures and tastes within her environment. She may get a lot of pleasure from these activities, which will help to keep her both mentally stimulated and physically fit and active.
She may also enjoy having time away from the busy and sometimes unpredictable environment inside of the home, instead preferring to quietly relax in a sunny spot outdoors, perhaps getting a good view of her territory via a high up ledge, or even curling up and sleeping under a bush, or in a specially provided cat den.
Giving her access to a suitably enriched and stimulating cat proof garden is the best way to allow her to perform these behaviours all of which are very important for her physical and emotional wellbeing. Ideally, she should have constant access to this space, via a cat flap for example.
The FIV virus will not influence a cats temperament or drive to perform these behaviours, and so her needs for positive sensory stimulation and access to quiet areas away from the home are the same as for any non FIV+ cat. Whilst technically it could be possible to provide her with the above opportunities within an indoor only environment, in reality, this is much harder to do, and in most cases not practical due to the space, cost, time and effort required.
Question: Do Cats Infected With Fiv Show Symptoms Immediately
No!: Infected cats may be asymptomatic for years.
A cat who contracts FIV will usually still have a strong immune system for several years after infection, it is only over time, that the effects of the virus may start to show, and even then, most infections can be treated with the appropriate medications. With love and good care however, many FIV+ cats can live normal lifespans. These days, its not unusual to find FIV+ cats reaching 15 years or more. Knowing what we now do of the prolonged nature of the condition, euthanasia is totally inappropriate and inhumane.
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Heres How To Pick The Best Cat Food For Overweight Cats
Before we jump into the reviews, lets talk more about the qualities of the best cat food for overweight cats.
The ideal weight loss diet has high protein content with moderate fat levels and minimal carbohydrates.
In general, if your cat is overweight, he may have been eating the wrong food for a long time. For overweight cats, just switching to a species-appropriate diet is often enough to make a difference. This type of diet helps to prevent obesity, and the transition alone may be enough to help your cat shed some extra pounds.
A species-appropriate diet mimics the nutritional content of your cats prey.
Its rich in the right amino acids, contains low-to-moderate levels of animal-derived fat, and has little to no starch. This macronutrient distribution is at the heart of every good cat food. It helps cats maintain lean muscle mass, achieve appropriate blood sugar levels, and experience overall wellbeing.
Wet cat food is ideal for weight control.
Most overweight or obese cats live on dry cat food, which leaves them under-stimulated, over-sugared, and at risk for serious health conditions.
In contrast to kibble, high-moisture cat food is bulkier and will help your cat feel full for longer, even if hes eating fewer calories. Think of it as a bowl of grapes versus a handful of raisins. Youll get fewer calories in the bowl of grapes, but it feels more substantial and will leave you full for longer.
Free feeding is out for overweight cats.
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Natural Organic And Human Grade: Are They Meaningless Buzzwords
Until recently, the description scientifically formulated was a popular pet food marketing catchphrase. People wanted to imagine their cats food as being formulated by scientists in a sterile laboratory.
Todays cat food consumer has a different ideal. Theyre looking for food thats gently crafted, fresh from the farm, non-GMO, natural, and based on real meat. Thanks to the back to nature trend, the number of natural or organic cat food labels has skyrocketed. Numerous brands capitalize on the premium natural food concept.
But are they healthy for your cat?
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Cat Owners’ Guide To Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Felineimmunodeficiency virus is a serious cat disease, separate butrelated to feline leukemia virus , both of which can affect anycat. Here’s important information about FIV to help cat owners learnmore about the disease.
Acat-specific retrovirus is responsible for making cats sick with FIV.The virus is in the same family as human AIDS, but FIV can only makecats sick. Human children, human adults, and pet dogs can’t catch FIVfrom the cat.
Expertssay that outdoorcatsaremost at risk of acquiring FIV, especially if the cats are aggressivemales who roam. That’s because FIV is commonly transmitted from catto cat via deep bite wounds cat saliva from affected cats hashigh concentrations of FIV. Indoor cats are at the lowest risk of FIVtransmission.
FIVdoes notspreadby any of the following:
- Food bowls
- Human clothes,shoes, or skin
Casualcontact between felines does not appear to spread FIV from cat tocat. Mother cats can sometimes transfer FIV antibodies to theirkittens, but the antibodies will not be present in any uninfectedkittens once they reach six months of age.
Allcats should be tested for FIV during wellness exams or when they showsigns of the disease. It’s important for cat owners and veterinariansto know which cats are affected by the disease since affected catscan transmit FIV to other cats.
Askyour cat’s veterinarian to test your cat when:
Symptomsof FIV include the following:
Many Cats Suffer From Weak Immune Systems At Birth Leaving Them Sick And Unthrifty Unfortunately The Same Scenario Exists For Geriatric Cats As The Normal Functioning Of The Immune System Declines With Age
There are several cat immune boosters that can help young or old cats to avoid suffering from more infections than cats with strong immune systems.
For example, if an immunodeficient cat stays at a boarding facility, the chance of acquiring an infectious respiratory disease increases.
That said, the best way to minimize the risk of infection is by strengthening your cats immune system.
Below are some of our favorite cat immune boosters.
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How To Choose A Diet For An Fiv Cat
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 90% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 12,301 times.
FIV is a disease that affects a cat’s immune system. Also known as Feline AIDS, FIV weakens the immune system and makes a cat more susceptible to infections in various parts of the body .XResearch source Fortunately, with proper care, an FIV cat can live a long and happy life. Part of this proper care includes feeding your FIV cat a healthy diet. Work with your vet to choose the best diet for your cat and take simple steps at home to ensure your cat eats and enjoys its food.
Supplements For Fiv Cats
As a pet parent to an FIV cat, youve probably heard your veterinarian say that a healthy diet, close monitoring, and regular vet visits are essential to your feline friends overall health more times than you can count. But as much as you may think they sound like a bunch of broken records, those things really are a hundred percent true. However, in addition to those aforementioned lifestyle tweaks, you may want to consider looking into a few immune-boosting supplements for your FIV cat, especially if youre struggling to find cat food thats nutritionally complete and balanced.
When feeding your FIV cat their daily meals, it can be challenging to monitor the exact dose of vitamins and minerals theyre getting every day. Theres no way of knowing for sure if theyre receiving too little or too much nutrients, which, either way, can be harmful. Through dietary supplements and the right dosage instructions from your veterinarian, youll easily be able to supply your FIV cat with the right amount of nutrients and accurately keep track of them, as well. With that said, here are 5 of the best supplements for FIV cats:
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How To Treat Feline Leukemia
At present, there is no treatment capable of completely eradicating feline leukosis this virus causes the death of nine out of ten infected cats within four years. On the other hand, the treatment protocol consists of taking charge of the pathologies, infections, and dysfunctions that result from viral leukemia. This support is therefore adapted on a case-by-case basis. This goes for example by:
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A cat that suffers from feline leukemia needs food that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and low in carbohydrates. Purina Pro Plan is our best overall option because this mouthwatering wet food fulfills all of these criteria while being recommended by vets. It also helps stimulate the appetite of kitties, which is greatly appreciated by cat owners concerned about the nutrition of their sick cats. The antioxidants in this wet food are also excellent for promoting the feline immune system. However, for all the goodness of this food, some cats just dont like it, much to the chagrin of their well-meaning owners.
Unfortunately, kittens are not immune to contracting the feline leukemia virus. Indeed, they can contract the disease in their mothers womb or through her milk. This is why there is no age limit to start giving a diet that reinforces the immune system of your little feline. And with Hills Science Diet Kitten Chicken Recipe, its hard to go wrong. This highly recommended vet brand has ingredients like antioxidants and vitamins C and E that have been clinically proven to boost the kittens developing immune system. This option is expensive, although you may have the opportunity to switch to a cheaper option once your kitten has reached adulthood.
- Might not work for all cats
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