Angel arrived at SHS in May of 2023. Angel was a FIV+ (Feline immunodeficiency virus) cat who was immunocompromised. He was moved into foster care and only a month later, he found his forever home!
There is a lot of misinformation about FIV cats, so here is a simple explanation about the virus:
What is FIV?
Feline immunodeficiency virus attacks cats’ immune systems.
“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.” – Hill’s Pet Currently, there is no evidence that FIV can infect or cause disease in humans.
How does FIV spread?
FIV can spread through non-aggressive contact like water bowls or public grooming services. – Cornell University
Specifically, FIV is spread through saliva. “Another way that FIV can spread is from a mother cat to her kittens, although it is very rare.” – PET MD
Signs and symptoms of FIV?
- weight loss
- decrease in appetite
- skin disease
- respiratory disease
- enlarged lymph nodes
- dental disease
- discharge from eyes and nose
What should I do if my pet is diagnosed with FIV?
There is no cure for FIV in cats. However, you can help keep your FIV cat healthy by “using a routine parasite control, feeding a complete and balanced diet, and by visiting the veterinarian every six months for routine exams and bloodwork.” – PET MD
The most helpful tool will be talking with your cat’s veterinarian about diet. Also, there might be supplements that can help boost your cat’s immune system.
- “FIV is one of the most common and consequential infectious diseases of cats around the world.” – Cornell University
- The most important fact about FIV that is often forgotten is that FIV cats can go on to live long, healthy lives! – SHS Foster Coordinator, Amanada.
If you have more questions about FIV, you are welcome to come into our clinic and ask our veterinarian staff.