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FIV in cats (feline HIV): symptoms and what to do

Feline HIV is a viral disease that can affect our cats. Also called feline AIDS or FIV in the catit is a very contagious viral infection for cats.

But is it transmissible to humans? How is FIV transmitted between cats? What are its symptoms? How long does a fiv positive cat live? Let’s find out everything you need to know about IVF below.

How does FIV manifest itself in cats?

I symptoms of FIV in cats they are above all bacterial infections, since the retrovirus responsible for this disease causes, first of all, an immunosuppression (lowering of the immune defenses of cats).

Other manifest symptoms of FIV in cats are:

How long does the incubation last?

The incubation of feline HIV can also take place over several years and during this period the FIV positive cat may not even show any symptoms, but be equally contagious to its fellows.

Symptoms of FIV in cats at different stages of the disease

As a rule, the evolution of the infection is divided into four stages which correspond to different symptoms.

  • The first is theincubation (which, as mentioned, can last even years).
  • The second is one latency stage in which the cat has fever, diarrhea, conjunctivitis and enlarged lymph nodes. At this stage the feline immunodeficiency virus is found in the lymph nodes where it begins to attack the immune system.
  • This stage is followed by that of flare-up where, if the virus search test is carried out, this will be positive, since it is now manifest (even if another latency phase can occur in which the virus becomes “hidden” again).
  • Finally, there is the terminal stage of IVF in cats in which the cat’s immune defenses collapse very quickly, leading to the multiplication of secondary infections and death.
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Diagnosis of FIV

The diagnosis of FIV in cats is made through blood test. If the test is positive it means that the cat is sick, even if the test is negative, however, it is not said that the cat is healthy.

As we have seen, in fact, they exist two possible latency phases where the virus cannot be found.

How is FIV transmitted between cats?

Il virus responsible for FIV, as in the case of FeLV, is a retrovirus. Transmission occurs by direct contact between other infected cats and a healthy cat via saliva, placenta (from mother to offspring) or during mating.

The virus can also be present in mother’s milk and therefore contaminate the puppies during the nursing period.

FIV in cats and contagion in humans

FIV of cats is not transmitted to humans.

Although the retrovirus that affects cats behaves similarly toHuman HIV there is no disease transmission to human subjects.

How to cure a cat with FIV?

Il treatment for IVF it is very hard and based on antibiotics, feline interferon or corticosteroids which can alleviate the symptoms and suffering of the animal, but cannot stop the infection.

There is no cure for this disease and unfortunately to date no vaccine is available for feline HIV.

The treatments can also be homeopathic (after consulting the veterinary doctor) based on:

  • omega 3,
  • blackcurrant;
  • mycotherapy;
  • curcuma;
  • glutathione.

FIV in cats and life expectancy

We have seen that incubation can last even years. Furthermore, if the cat lives in an apartment (i.e. in a protected environment), loved, pampered, looked after and away from particular stress, thanks to the help of medicines it can live at home a long and normal life.

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Article reviewed by

Francesco Reina
Veterinary assistant