Did you know you might not even know your cat had Aids (FIV)!


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Does your cat spend time outside, ANY TIME AT ALL? If you answered yes, your cat is at risk of FIV - a debilitating, painful and life threatening virus.

What is FIV (Feline Immuno-deficiency virus)? Think HIV for humans, but for cats! (Note: Humans cannot contract FIV).

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a cat-only virus that causes a suppression of their immune system. IT CAN BE FATAL and once a cat has contracted the virus, they have it for life (the virus lives in the blood of an infected cat and is carried in its system throughout life).

The sneaky part about FIV is that cats infected with the virus can actually remain healthy for a number of years without showing any signs! Just like walking down the street – can you tell who has HIV and who doesn’t? Well, the same applies to your cat. In fact, some households can have one cat carrying FIV and another that is still free of FIV. Many cats appear normal and healthy in the early stages of FIV infection and can stay like this for several years.

When symptoms show up (sometimes immediately, other times several years after infection - but invariably they do show up. FIV is a ticking time bomb), they can include a fever, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, lethargy, and swollen lymph nodes. Cats can lose weight, have a poor coat, suffer from dental disease or other sores in their mouth and as mentioned, can develop chronic infections or cancer.

BETWEEN 14-29% OF CATS IN AUSTRALIA TEST POSITIVE TO THIS VIRAL DISEASE.

How is the virus transmitted? Infected cats have high concentrations of virus in their saliva and the most common route of infection is via catfight wounds.

Can FIV be treated? At present there is no specific treatment for cats infected with FIV. That is why understanding the disease and preventing it with vaccinations is so important.

Which cats are at risk? Any cat that spends time outside is at risk. Most outdoor cats will at some stage be involved in a fight with other cats and therefore be at risk of being infected. The more they fight, the greater the chance of contracting FIV

How is FIV detected? A simple in-clinic blood test will detect FIV infection in most infected cats. On occasion a laboratory test (called a PCR test) may be required to confirm a diagnosis.

Can FIV be prevented? FIV vaccination can prevent viral infections. It is as important as the cat flu vaccine – in some areas it is THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE!

In the Aldinga area, we consider this to be a high-risk virus and any cat that spends time outside should be vaccinated. We regularly see cats with FIV.

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Aldinga Map

Willunga Map


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