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Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Niles Animal Hospital and Bird Medical Center
7278 N. Milwaukee Ave. Niles, IL 60714
(847)-647-9325 FAX (847)-647-8498
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a viral infection that attacks the immune
system of cats. It is a retrovirus similar to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV),
and a syndrome similar to AIDS occurs in cats. Affected cats may have a variety of
symptoms including infections caused by a poorly functioning immune system,
anemia and low blood-cell counts, infections of the gums and mouth, cancer or
neurologic disease.
FIV is not contagious to people; it is an infectious disease spread from cat to cat,
primarily by biting. FIV has been found in the mother's milk and can be transmitted
from mother to kitten. Transmission among household cats through normal contact
is thought to be unlikely. Outdoor and male cats are predisposed.
Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:
FIV is diagnosed through blood tests such as an ELISA (enzyme-linked
immunosorbent assay), IFA (indirect immunofluoresence) or Western blot
test. Cats that have been vaccinated for FIV will have positive test results.
For this reason, only unvaccinated cats should be tested.
Treatment depends on the disease process, your individual pet, and your
veterinarian. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Nutritional
support is important to maintain health. Masses may be biopsied and
surgically removed. Affected cats should be kept indoors to prevent spread
of the virus. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this
What to Watch for*:
Chronic infections
Non-healing wounds
Loss of appetite
*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!