Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Feline AIDS is a disease caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and affects the cat’s immune system. Their natural defence against attack by other diseases may be seriously affected, much in the same way as human AIDS.
This disease is not transmissible to humans.
FIV is almost always transmitted by bites from infected cats. The virus that causes the disease is present in saliva.
While some infected cats show no sign of disease, others may display initial symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes.
As the disease progresses, symptoms may occur such as weight loss, sores in and around the mouth, eye lesions, poor coat and chronic infections.
Eventually, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections and diseases. As a result, the cat may die from one of these subsequent infections.
Unfortunately in Australia, a lot of cats are infected with this virus.
FIV is generally spread by cat bites. Amongst other clinical signs affected cats usually develop oral ulceration.
FIV is quite prevalent in outdoor cats in Australia. We have had confirmed cases in Greenvale and surrounding suburbs.
Vaccination for FIV is effective and easy. If starting with kitten vaccinations (preferable) a course of 3 injections is given. In all adult cats a blood test prior to commencing the course of 3 injections is required to rule out infection. Following this initial course, an annual booster will maintain immunity.