What Exactly is FIV?
FIV stands for feline immunodeficiency virus, which is most commonly caused through wounds accrued from biting and fighting. This disease requires the virus to enter the bloodstream, and a litter of kittens born to a mother that is positive in FIV have a 25 percent chance of being infected. Felines with a higher risk of FIV are unneutered male cats, as they are the most likely to fight.
What Are the Signs of FIV?
FIV can be difficult to detect since after an infection, a cat may remain healthy for several years. Since an infected feline’s immune system may be weakened, this leaves them vulnerable to serious infections, such as a simple cold turning into pneumonia. Other signs may include:
- Long-term inflammation of the gums
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
To diagnose FIV, there are many different tests which all work in different ways. These tests will often detect the feline immune system’s response to FIV, but they ultimately can’t predict whether the cat will become sick or fight off the infection. A repeat test in three to four weeks will be suggested to make a proper diagnosis.
How Can I Prevent FIV?
There is no cure for FIV, so the best way to avoid it for your cat is by proper prevention. FIV is mainly spread through feline fighting, therefore, neutering your male cat will greatly help prevent this disease, since it decreases your male cat’s desire to wander and get into tussles. Keeping cats indoor and away from other unfamiliar felines also helps.