What is Feline Aids?
Feline Aids is due to infection with feline immuno-deficiency virus (FIV). This a potentially fatal disease that targets the immune system of the cat. Once infected the virus remains in the cat's system throughout it's life. Eventually the cat's immune system is so weakened that the animal succumbs to other infections or diseases. Some cats infected with FIV can remain healthy for up to 10 years. Infected cats may expose healthy cats with the virus by biting. This is how it is spread - by catfights ie cat bites. A cat bite wound is an integral part of the disease transmission. It maybe possible for an infected mother to pass the virus onto her unborn kitten.
Prevalence of FIV in Australia
The prevalence in Australia is uncertain. Most if not all vet clinics will report enough cases to be of concern - we have ourselves. Population studies in Australia have put the prevalence to between 14% and 29%.
The main symptoms of Feline Aids
- While some infected cats will show no signs of disease, others may show initial symptoms such as:
- Fever & lethargy
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
As the disease progresses, additional symptoms associated with a weakened immune system will occur:
- Weight loss
- Sores in & around the mouth
- Poor coat
- Chronic infections eg Upper respiratory
- Eye lesions
Eventually the cat will die from overwhelming infections and the progressive deterioration in normal body functions.
What can I do to prevent Feline Aids?
Vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease in at-risk cats. There is no treatment or cure for the disease. Please contact our veterinary clinics for more information on the vaccine and vaccinating your cat. All previously unvaccinated cats require 3 doses of vaccine at monthly intervals and then vaccinated yearly. Unvaccinated adult cats need to be tested prior to any vaccination program
Along with vaccination, other health management measures include:
- Limiting exposure of indoor cats to outdoor cats
- Having a new cat tested prior to joining a household with other cats
- Isolating an aggressive cat from other cats
- There is NO current reason to concern us in regards to risks to humans!