Is your cat up to date with their FIV vaccinations?
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a virus that depresses the immune system of infected cats and can be fatal. Australia has one of the highest rates of FIV infection in the world, with a recent study showing that 15% of cats with outdoor access tested positive for FIV. The virus is present in the saliva of infected cats and the most common way for a cat to be infected is by being bitten during a cat fight – cats like to have their own territory and it is common for them to squabble over boundaries.
Shortly after infection a cat may show signs such as a fever, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes. As the disease progresses, it can cause chronic gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), secondary infections of the skin, gut or respiratory tract infections (with bacteria, other viruses or parasites) and weight loss. In some cats infected with FIV, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections and disease, resulting in death.
Treatment of FIV involves management of any secondary diseases that develop, as there is no cure for feline immunodeficiency virus. Prevention is the best cure for FIV. This includes vaccination and stopping cats coming into contact with FIV positive cats i.e. by keeping them exclusively indoors.