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Aina Meducci 2012


The following blog posts is not genuinely from my research but through readings and citation from trusted website. I do not own any of the copyright and therefore you may use it at your own risk


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Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV/ Cat's AIDS)

Few day ago, I found a stray cat with many bleeding wounds on its body (I considered it as non-healing wounds) wandering nearby the beach. I felt sorry for its condition and it reminds me of sporotrichosis which I've posted before. And here's another disease that gives the same appearance in cat that is- Feline immunodeficiency virus or Cat's AIDS.



A cat positively infected with FIV

What is FIV?

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a common retrovirus in cats that is thought to share many features in common with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. Infection with FIV progressively suppresses the cat’s immune system. As a result, the symptoms of so-called “feline AIDS” can vary widely, as the cat’s immune system slowly breaks down.Although any feline is susceptible, free-roaming, outdoor intact male cats who fight most frequently contract the disease. Cats who live indoors are the least likely to be infected.

Cats who are infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) may not show symptoms until years after the initial infection occurred. Although the virus is slow-acting, a cat’s immune system is severely weakened once the disease takes hold. This makes the cat susceptible to various secondary infections. Infected cats who receive supportive medical care and are kept in a stress-free, indoor environment can live relatively comfortable lives for months to years before the disease reaches its chronic stages. Many people confuse FIV with feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Although these diseases are in the same retrovirus family and cause many similar secondary conditions FeLV and FIV are different diseases.

Model structure of a member of the retrovirus family that includes feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

It is zoonotic?

HIV infects only humans and FIV infects only cats. The viruses are very specific for the species and there is no risk of cross infection between the immunodeficiency viruses of cats and people.

Transmission of FIV

The primary mode of transmission is through bite wounds. Casual, non-aggressive contact does not appear to be an efficient route of spreading FIV; as a result, cats in households with stable social structures where housemates do not fight are at little risk for acquiring FIV infections. On rare occasions infection is transmitted from an infected mother cat to her kittens, usually during passage through the birth canal or when the newborn kittens ingest infected milk. Sexual contact is not a major means of spreading FIV.

Other cats in the same household may already have been infected and should be tested. Spread between cats through normal social contact such as grooming is unlikely so the majority of cats may be FIV-negative when tested. However, a cat that has FIV does present a risk to other cats.

Cat's fight are the most common transmission of FIV

Infected cats shed the virus mainly in their saliva. Naturally occurring transmission of an infection occurs when an infected cat that is actively shedding virus into the saliva bites another cat, directly inoculating its saliva through the bite wound. A susceptible cat can also become infected when other bodily fluids, particularly infected blood, enters the body. In this case, the infected blood may enter the cat's body through a bite wound, or the cat may become infected by means of a blood transfusion.

Experimentally, the virus may also be transmitted through semen, but it is not clear whether this means of transmission is responsible for any naturally occurring cases.It is not surprising that many FIV-positive cats are known fighters, particularly those with a history of cat bite abscesses. Any cat bitten by a cat with an unknown medical history should be tested for FIV approximately two months after the bite.A cat bitten by a cat with an unknown medical history should be tested for FIV approximately two months after the bite.

The FIV organism is not able to survive for very long outside of living cells. This is another reason that casual infection is uncommon. Kittens may become infected before, at, or soon after birth. In these cases, it is believed that the virus was transmitted across the uterus during pregnancy or through the queen's (mother cat's) milk during nursing. Around a quarter to a third of kittens born to an infected queen are likely to be infected themselves. Normal social interactions, such as grooming, appear to have a very low risk of transmitting FIV.

Clinical signs

The clinical stages in FIV infection are classified into 5 stages based on their clinical symptoms.

1. Acute phase (2-9 weeks): Fever, neutropenia (lack of neutrophils), generalized lymphadenopathy

2. Asymptomatic carier (up to 10 years): No clinical signs associated with FIV


3. Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy stage (several months to years): Fever generalized lymphadenopathy

4. AIDS-related complex stage (several months-years): Weight loss, bacterial infection, viral infection.

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5. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS stage 1-6 months) : Severe weight loss, opportunistic infection, pancytopenia, lymphopenia,, neurological abnormality, tumors and renal failure.

Symptoms associated with FIV

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Disheveled coat
  • Poor appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal appearance or inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
  • Inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis)
  • Dental disease
  • Skin redness or hair loss
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes or nose
  • Frequent urination, straining to urinate or urinating outside of litter box
  • Behavior change

Gingivitis/stomatitis is the most clinical signs of FIV

Diagnosis of FIV

FIV is diagnosed based on history, clinical signs & a blood test known as ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), which detects antibodies to FIV.

ELISA kit tested for both FIV and FeLV (2 in one) sold commercially in veterinary clinics

It is possible to get false positive or false negatives from these results for the following reasons:

Positive results:

Because few, if any, cats ever eliminate infection, the presence of antibody indicates that a cat is infected with FIV. This test can be performed by most veterinary diagnostic laboratories and also is available in kit form for use in veterinary clinics. Since false-positive results may occur, veterinarians recommend that positive results be confirmed using a test with a different format.

Infected mother cats transfer FIV antibodies to nursing kittens, so kittens born to infected mothers may receive positive test results for several months after birth. However, few of these kittens actually are or will become infected. To clarify their infection status, kittens younger than six months of age receiving positive results should be retested at 60-day intervals until they are at least six months old.

Negative results:

A negative test result indicates that antibodies directed against FIV have not been detected, and, in most cases, this implies that the cat is not infected. Nevertheless, it takes eight to 12 weeks after infection (and sometimes even longer) before detectable levels of antibody appear, so if the test is performed during this interval, inaccurate results might be obtained. Therefore, antibody-negative cats with either an unknown or a known exposure to FIV-infected cats-such as through the bite of an unknown cat-should be retested a minimum of 60 days after their most recent exposure in order to allow adequate time for development of antibodies.On very rare occasions, cats in the later stages of FIV infection may test negative because their immune systems are so compromised that they no longer produce detectable levels of antibody.


No effective treatment demonstrate on the patient. Cats can carry the virus for a long time before symptoms appear. However, one can treat the secondary bacterial infection associated with feline AIDS with antibiotics even though it is only temporary because re-infection can occur again due to immunosupressive stage of the animal.

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

Euthanization is not necessary until the late stages of disease. Like people with HIV, cats with FIV have a long period where they can appear healthy and show no clinical signs. This period may last for two to five years or perhaps even longer, during which your cat will have a normal, happy life.

Management with FIV patient

1. Keep Cat Indoors Only

Now that you know your cat has an infectious disease, the responsible thing is to prevent the spread of this disease in your community. This means that your cat will need to be an indoor cat. Cats who are used to living outdoors will make a fuss about being allowed outside. It is crucial that you do not give in as this will simply reinforce the crying and fussing. If you just allow the fussing to run its course, it will cease and the cat will get used to the new indoor only life. Cats who are inclined to slip past people entering the home when the door is open can be managed by leaving them in a closed room when someone is out of the house. This way, when someone arrives home, the cat does not have access to the front door.

2. No raw foods

There are currently numerous fad diets involving raw foods for pets. With an FIV+ cat, it is crucial not to succumb to these popular recommendations. Uncooked foods, especially meats, can include parasites and pathogens that a cat with a normal immune system might be able to handle, but which an FIV+ cat might not. Stick to the major reputable cat food brands.

3. VaccinationJustify Full

Vaccination should be continued for these cats just as they are for other cats. Some experts prefer killed vaccines because of the concern that modified live vaccines might revert to the virulent form in which it can cause disease. This has not panned out as a problem in reality; also, the killed vaccines have been associated with vaccine-associated fibrosarcomas, an additional problem an FIV+ cat does not need.

4. Parasite control

The last thing an FIV+ cat needs is fleas, worms or mites, especially now that he is going to be an indoor cat. There are numerous effective products on the market for parasite control. Consult with your veterinarian about which parasites you should be especially concerned with and which product is right for you.

4. Immune stimulating agents

There are numerous products on the market claiming to stimulate the immune system of an FIV+ cat. These include Acemannan, levamisole, ImmunoRegulin®, and interferon alpha. None of these products have been shown definitively to be helpful though it appears that they certainly do not do any harm.

Oxidative stress is rather a long story and it has been implicated in the development of cancer, in age-related degeneration, and in other diseases. In short, oxidative stress stems from reactive oxygen compounds that our metabolism generates. The oxygen compounds are able to damage DNA unless they are scavenged (rendered harmless) by either the natural antioxidant systems of our bodies or by antioxidant supplements we take in pills. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the progression of HIV infection in humans and it has been extrapolated that the same is true of FIV infection in cats.

7. General monitoring

While a non-geriatric FIV- cat should have an annual examination, the FIV+ cat should have a check-up twice a year. Annually, a full blood panel and urinalysis is a good idea. Also, it is important to be vigilant of any changes in an FIV+ cat. Small changes that one might not think would be significant in an FIV-negative cat should probably be thoroughly explored in an FIV+ cat.



It is impossible to accurately predict the life expectancy of a cat infected with FIV. With appropriate care and under ideal conditions, many infected cats will remain in apparent good health for many months or years. If your cat has already had one or more severe illnesses as a result of FIV infection, or if persistent fever and weight loss are present, a much shorter survival time can be expected.

Sources: FIV; Wendy C. Brooks, FIV infection; VCA animal hospital, Symptoms of FIV in cats; ww.petwave.com, FIV; Cornell University Collage of Veterinary Medicine, FIV; www.ascpa.org,Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV or Cat AIDS) - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment of FIV in Cats; www.cat-world.com.au,

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city said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

Emily Lund said...

Have you heard of Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator (LTCI) as a treatment for cats with FIV? Read more about it here: http://tcyte.com

miura haruma said...

Do you sell it?

miura haruma said...

Do you sell it?

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