Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a viral disease-causing agent that
is often recorded in domestic cats around the world. The pathology that
it causes is known as Feline Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, a
long-term disease marked by lowered resistance of the animal’s defense
system, leading to various opportunistic infections.
also known as FIV, is often recorded in free roaming outdoor cats. Once
the virus enters the victim’s body it spreads to the lymphatic system.
Next it may lead to feverish condition and other relatively mild
symptoms before becoming dormant, just like the Human Immunodeficiency
Virus, for a long time. After a period of several months or years, the
virus may finally reemerge and attack the body’s protective white blood
cells – lowering their numbers and as a result weakening the diseased
animal’s defensive capability to a degree that makes it quite exposed
to opportunistic illnesses.
Even with the illness and risk of
death associated with FIV, exposure to it is not always lethal. Often
the cats act as carriers and with a nutritious diet and good veterinary
care, they can live a normal and healthy life for some time. Alongside
the added care it is important that the feline be sterilized and not go
outdoors where it may infect other cats or acquire other illnesses. If
there are other felids in the vicinity, they may be separated. Usually
though the risk of transmission to other house cats is low in a normal
household. The virus does not infect other animals and people.
Therefore there is no need to euthanize a cat that has been diagnosed
with FIV. The Association of Feline Practitioners recommends against it
and advises routine checkup and care.
In order to prevent your
pet from contracting this disease, make sure that it doesn’t go
outdoors unsupervised for long periods of time. Spayed or neutered cats
and the ones that stay indoors are the ones least likely to come into
contact with the virus. A vaccine is available that is said to protect
against FIV but its efficacy is not firmly established at the moment.
Therefore, at the moment, prevention is better than cure!