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An explanation of

Feline Immune

Deficiency Viruses

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By: Alfred

FIV or Feline Immune Deficiency virus is a slow-acting virus
in the same family as the Feline Leukemia virus. Approximately
one half to three percent of healthy cats are infected with FIV
in the United States. The virus is transmitted through biting
so it is more common for cats that live outdoors to be infected.

FIV can be transmitted from the female cat to its kittens
but the most common mode of infection is through bite
wounds. When a cat becomes infected it will appear healthy
for a number of years. Once the disease takes effect what
happens is that the cat's immune system is weakened. What
kills the cat are all of the secondary infections from the
weakened immune system. This is much like AIDS in humans and
FIV is sometimes called Feline AIDS.

Here are some symptoms that you can watch for:

- Swollen lymph nodes
- Fever
- Deterioration of general health
- Loss of appetite
- Poor coat
- Gum inflammation
- Chronic reoccurring infections
- Persistent diarrhea
- wasting disease

FIV can have periods of remission where the cat may seem
perfectly healthy and then it seems to catch everything all
at once. The way to diagnose FIV is through a test to detect
antibodies in the cat's blood. If your cat's test comes back
positive there will be another test to confirm it in most
cases. If the test comes back negative this can mean that
the FIV hasn't matured yet. It takes at least twelve weeks
for FIV to infect the body.

The best way to prevent FIV is to keep your cat indoors away
from other cats, since the virus prefers to spread through
cat bites. If you have multiple cats and one tests positive
for FIV chances are the others may be infected as well. If
your cat tests positive for FIV be sure to never allow it
contact with other cats as this can spread the disease.

FIV cats need to have certain care taken with them. It is
impossible to say how long your cat will live, as this
disease isn't really what will ultimately kill your cat.
Secondary infections are what kills a cat if it has FIV.

You will need to strictly control your cat's diet. Get the
cat spayed or neutered if it isn't already. Your cat should
have regular checkups with the veterinarian. You also need
to strictly monitor the health of your cat and if it
develops any sickness take it to the veterinarian

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