What does FIV mean?
Feline immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus which is endemic in cat populations world wide, the main mode of transmission is through bite wounds. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but FIV doesn’t infect human nor HIV doesn’t infect cats . Male cats are more susceptible to FIV than females.
Feline immunodeficiency virus
Class : incertae Denis
Order : ortervirates
Family : Retroviridae
Genus : lentivirus
Species : Feline immunodeficiency virus
FIV and FELV
Feline immunodeficiency virus (fiv) and feline leukemia virus (felv) are from the same family, but each one have a different group, fiv from the group lentivirus, while felv from the group gamma. while the two viruses from the same family they cause different signs and rates of disease.
Is fiv fatal to cats?
Cats with feline immunodeficiency virus can live healthy and happy like any other cat for along period reach to years with few or no symptoms. Feeding on high quality diet, keeping indoor, vaccination and veterinary supervision lead to increase life quality of infected cat with feline immunodeficiency virus.
How does FIV transmitted?
FIV is found in the blood, saliva and body fluids of infected cat. Virus transmitted to another cat through bite wounds. Also FIV can transmitted to small kittens from infected mother through placenta especially if the queen is undergoing Acute infection. FIV is very weak, as the virus can’t survive in the external environment for along time only for few hours, so FIV can’t be transmitted via contaminated hands, clothes , litter boxes, and food dishes. Some risk factors that increase the rate of infection by felin immunodeficiency virus include adult hood, male gender , and out door life style.
Is fiv in cats contagious?
Feline immunodeficiency virus is not contagious as infected cats can live together non infected cats with low risk of transmission as long as there’s no risk of fighting and bite wounds.
What is the effect of FIV on cats?
After the infection by FIV, cats pass by three phases include:
- First stage ( Acute stage-asymptomatic) begins after infection by felin immunodeficiency virus, aperiod of flu like symptoms is found. This period is quite and can’t be diagnosed or miss diagnosed.
- Second stage may last for months to years without appearance of any symptoms on infected cats but FIV affect on the immune system of the infected cat causing secondary infections as mouth, skin ,and respiratory tract infections.
- The late stage (chronic stage)
What are the symptoms of FIV in cats?
Fiv infect white blood cells leading to immune deficiency, so the cat is more susceptible to secondary infections. Incubation period of fiv (the period between infection and onset of signs) may reach to years. Symptoms which appear in the late chronic stage of fiv Infection include:
- Persistent fever.
- Loss of appetite and weight.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Pale gums
- Skin lesions.
- Respiratory tract diseases.
- Poor coat condition.
- Immune mediated glomerulonephritis.
- Chronic rhinitis.
- Lymph adenopathy.
- Neurological symptoms (rare).
- A long period is needed for recovery from any infection.
- Sever parasitic skin diseases.
- Developing tumors.
FIV diagnosis in cats
Diagnosis of feline immunodeficiency virus depends on detection of the antibodies in the blood of infected cat using some Techniques include:
- ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay): In which we can detect the antibodies in fresh blood sample from infected cat.
- Western blotting test: It is considered the gold standard for fiv serology as it used to confirm results.
- PCR ( polymerase chain reaction): It detects the proviral DNA in the blood of infected cat.
Virus isolation: It is very diagnostic method to isolate the virus from fresh blood sample.
Positive results in small kittens may be due to passive transmission from infected mother, so retesting is recommended after 16 weeks of age to confirm infection with felin immunodeficiency virus.
Vaccination leads to false positive results as the detected antibodies in the blood of infected cat comes from vaccine not from a natural infection
False negative results occur if the cat tested during acute infection as cat is recently infected by fiv so antibodies against the virus are not found in the blood.
Treatment of VIF in cats
- FIV positive cats should remain indoors, away from stress, fed on a high quality diet, and regularly treated from worms and fleas.
- Also vaccination help in prevention of any secondary infections and transmission of infection to other cats.
- Till now there is no specific treatment for fiv, but veterinarian decides the recommended treatment to each case according to the clinical signs founded.
- Using Symptomatic treatment are for treatment of secondary infections as Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Some drugs are given to the cat for improving it’s immune system.
What are the measurments can be done to prevent FIV in cats?
Some steps are done to prevent infection of cat by fiv as the following:
- Vaccine of fiv is available, but it isn’t effective by 100% . Vaccination is recommended in out door cats as they are more susceptible to infection by fiv through fighting with infected cats.
- Housing of infected cats in a separate cages to prevent spread of infection to other healthy cats.
- All surgical tools and any tools contaminated by body fluids should be sterilized as these tools can transmit the virus from infected cat to non infected cat.
- Spaying and neutering of male cats, it helps in avoidance of many health problems.
- Testing of any new cat for fiv before it becomes in contact with other cats in house.
Prognosis of VIF in cats
Cats with felin immunodeficiency virus can live for a long period reach to years healthy and happy with or without clinical signs. It is recommended that positive cats should not be euthanized.