Feline Aids: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
Feline aids, also known as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), affect 1.5 to 3 percent of healthy cats. Aids in cats can only be transmitted between cats and cannot be transmitted to humans. FIV attacks the cells of your cat’s immune system making it vulnerable to bacteria and viruses.
There is currently no cure for this disease and in the beginning stages FIV symptoms can be very difficult to recognize. Below we will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatment options.
Feline aids usually spreads through the saliva of infected cats. The most common way of transmitting the diseasing is through a bit wound, which may occur when an infected cat gets into a fight with another cat.
In rare cases infected mothers have been known to infected their kittens through their milk or their kittens have contacted the disease when passing through the birth canal.
Feline aids symptoms can sometimes present themselves as other cat health problems. Symptoms of the disease may include; fever, lethargy, poor coat condition, feline weight loss,
loss of appetite, feline anemia, diarrhea, gingivitis, chronic or recurring infections, and swollen lymph nodes.
There are three stages to feline aids. In the first stage, the virus replicates in your cat’s white blood cells and spreads to lymph nodes throughout their body. Although your cat may exhibit symptoms such as a fever and swollen lymph nodes, your cat may still appear to be well.
In the second stage called the asymptomatic phase, the virus may remain dormant for months or years and your cat may appear to be very healthy.
In stage three, your cat’s immune system losses its ability off secondary infections and virus, in this stage your cat will start to exhibit some or all of the above symptoms and will become very ill.
Treatments for feline aids are still quiet new and consistently being researched for effectiveness. Even though Antivirals are available, they can be expensive, and there currently isn’t a significant amount of scientific evidence showing that it really extends the life of your cat. Your veterinarian may recommend the use of antivirals if your cat is suffering from stomatitis or having seizures.
Infected cats should be kept indoors. This is both to ensure other cats don’t contract the virus and also to make sure that your cat’s health does not decline further since feline aids weakens their immune system.
A treatment aid known as the lymphocyte T-cell immune modulator, which helps boost the white blood cells of infected animals, however, the treatment is new, and expensive.
Your veterinarian may recommend that you change your cat's food to a high quality brand that will provide your cat with the vitamins and nutrients he/she needs.
Due to the fact that the most common way of transmitting feline aids is through a bite wound, indoor cats chances of getting into a fight with a stray cat are reduce and so are their chances of getting feline aids. There is also a vaccination for FIV, which can be administered to kittens as early as eight weeks.
Prior to receiving the FIV vaccine, it is recommended that your cat be tested for the disease. The main reason for this testing is that once your cat receives the vaccine, blood tests will indicate a false positive. Testing prior to the vaccine will help to determine if this is just a false positive resulting from the vaccine.
Although the vaccine reduces the chances of your cat contacting the virus, it does not guarantee full protection and is about 84 percent effective. If boarding or travelling with your cat make sure that there FIV vaccine is up to date. When introducing a new cat or kitten into your household make sure to take him/her to the vet for a check up.
Outdoor cats that are sick should always be kept indoor until they are healthy again, the virus transmit much more easily to unhealthy cats. If your cat is an outdoor cat and you notice a wound or bite mark on their body, take them to the vet as soon as possible to check for FIV. Spaying and neutering your cat also plays an important role in prevention.
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