Feline immune deficiency virus (FIV), a term that can place immediate fear in a cat owner, is not a mandatory death sentence for your cat.
High protein diets, continually building up your cat’s immune system to help starve off secondary infections.
With aggressive treatment of those possible infections, your cat can still lead a long and relatively healthy life.
Feline immune deficiency virus can be helped tremendously by building the immune system.
The immune system in cats is a complex system that when functioning properly, fights off bacteria, parasites, fungi, and infections.
Critical nutrients and supplementation of those nutrients to stimulate the immune system are a must to keep it functioning properly.
Vitamins A, C, E and essential fatty acids, as well as Minerals that include manganese, selenium, zinc, copper and iron, all help the to build and maintain the immune system.
FIV in cats is not the same as human immune deficiency virus which leads to AIDS.
The biggest threat to cats with this disease is the secondary infections, such as upper respiratory infection, skin infections, bladder and kidney infections, and or failures.
These infections should be treated very quickly by your veterinarian any time they occur, but especially in a FIV feline.
Your cat can become infected with viruses which can cause deficiency of the immune system along with FIV, and your cat could also contract feline leukemia virus which is from the same family of virus as the human form, known as AIDS.
However, it is extremely important to note that feline immune deficiency virus and feline leukemia virus cannot affect or can it cause AIDS in people.
They are specific only to cats and were first diagnosed in 1965.
However, this virus in your cat leads to blood borne infection, the next stage will most likely be Feline leukemia, and this is a life threatening situation.
It can be transmitted through intimate contact with an infected cat via the mouth and nasal cavities, but is more often caused by biting.
FIV is also found worldwide, but the degree of severity will differ greatly depending on the region of the world.
In the United States, most cats are household cats.
Aggressive, male roaming cats are most frequently infected, especially if prone to roaming freeing and fighting (biting and clawing) with other cats.
The infection entering through open wounds is by far and away the most common way a cat will be infected.
There are occasions when this virus will be spread from a mother cat to its kittens through the birth canal, but this is very rare.
Cats infected with Feline immune deficiency may appear normal for many years, but the entire time it is infected the immune system is weakened.
Thus the importance of continually building up your cats immune system.
The warning signs are a fever and swollen lymph node glands, where the disease is carried.
It will than spread from the lymph nodes to the rest of the body.
These symptoms will usually pass unless the lymph node glands become very large.
After these symptoms, you may see a loss of appetite along with a persistent fever.
The loss of appetite will lead to a loss of nutrients, resulting in a poor coat condition.
You may also start to see signs of a chronic infection within the skin and the bladder.
Persistent diarrhea, several different types of eye problems and than severe weight loss is also common.
As the disease progresses, if not caught and treated, your cat will literally start to waste away. Some cats may also experience seizures.
Having you cat tested early by your veterinarian if you see signs of Feline immune deficiency can be extremely effective in catching the disease, as very few cats ever eliminate infection.
Antibody tests will show that your cat is infected in almost all cases if they have Feline immune deficiency.
However, there have been some cases where the immune system has become so depleted that your cat is no longer producing antibodies, and this could cause a negative test.
The managing of cats that have proven positive in the testing should obviously be to keep your cat indoors and away from other cats.
They should be immediately spayed or neutered.
You should also feed an infected cat a diet that is as nutritious as possible and avoid raw meats and eggs, as well as dairy products that are not pasteurized to avoid any possible parasite infection.
You should than set up a regular routine of visits with your veterinarian, but you should also continue to watch for the warning signs in case the disease does start to worsen.
Swollen lymph nodes will again be the sign, as well as weight loss, which will lead to possible deterioration of your cat.
If you cat has not had serious illnesses as a result of Feline immune deficiency, you can and should expect your cat to live for several more years.
If they have a previous and serious illness, there is little hope at that point.
It should be important to note that if your cat does lose the battle to Feline immune deficiency, there is very little concern you should have with getting another cat.
You will not need to do any special sterilization to your home, as again, the virus can not survive outside of the infected cat, nor can it be passed onto you.
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