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Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in cats

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is uncommon in the UK, but it's important for cat owners to be aware of it. Find out about the diagnosis, transmission, and other diseases that can be caused later.,
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in cats

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) impairs the cat's immune system. Infections that are harmless to a healthy cat can be life-threatening to a cat infected with FIV. A cat infected with FIV unfortunately runs a greater risk of suffering from various types of infections and tumour diseases than a healthy cat does.

FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) in cats

FIV is a viral infection that only affects cats, it damages their immune system. FIV is a bigger problem in countries with lots of homeless cats.

The virus is found in the cat's saliva and blood, and is mainly spread to other cats through wounds and bites. More male cats are affected because they get into fights with each other more often. If a female cat contracts FIV during pregnancy, she can pass the virus on to the kittens. Unfortunately, FIV cannot be treated and remains in the cat for their lifetime.

Diseases that can affect a cat infected with FIV

  • Inflammations in, for example, blood vessels, eyes and joints
  • Anaemia
  • Kidney disease
  • Weight loss

A cat that becomes infected may show symptoms of mild infectious disease such as fever and enlarged lymph nodes. The cat can recover only to suffer from illness several years later. Disease symptoms are then usually caused by other infections due to a reduced immune system, and tumour disease also occurs.

Questions and answers about feline immunodeficiency virus

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