Cat FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)
How Is FIV Treated?
Unfortunately, there is no specific antiviral treatment for FIV. Cats can carry the virus for a long time before symptoms appear. Therefore, treatment focuses mainly on extending the asymptomatic period or, if symptoms have set in, on easing the secondary effects of the virus. Your veterinarian may prescribe some of the following treatments:
- Medication for secondary infections
- Healthy, palatable diet to encourage good nutrition
- Fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Immune-enhancing drugs
- Parasite control
How Do I Care for My FIV-Infected Cat?
- Keep your cat indoors. This will protect him from contact with disease-causing agents to which he may be susceptible. By bringing your cat indoors, you’re also protecting the uninfected cats in your community.
- Watch for changes-even seemingly minor-in your cat’s health and behavior. Immediately report any health concerns to your vet.
- Bring your cat to your vet at least twice per year for a wellness checkup, blood count and urine analysis.
- Feed your cat a nutritionally balanced food-no raw food diets, please, as bacteria and parasites in uncooked meat and eggs can be dangerous to immunocompromised pets.
- Be sure your cat is spayed or neutered.
How Can FIV Be Prevented?
FIV vaccines are available but may not protect all cats. In addition, these vaccines can interfere with testing for the virus. It is best to work with your cat’s veterinarian to determine if FIV vaccination is the best option for your cat. Whether or not your cat is vaccinated, it is always important to prevent exposure to FIV. The best way to prevent your cat from contracting the virus is to keep him indoors, avoiding any chance of contact with infected felines. If you walk your cat, keep him on a leash when outdoors. And if your cat is going to be spending any time in a cattery or in a home with other felines, make sure all cats have tested negative for FIV.
Also, any recently adopted cat should be tested for FIV prior to entering your home.
What Can Happen if FIV Goes Untreated?
Without proper treatment, the secondary infections that can occur as a consequence of FIV can progress to life-threatening conditions. Additionally, cats with FIV can develop various forms of cancer, blood diseases or kidney failure, which will ultimately claim the cat’s life.