Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Symptoms

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) affects cats and may cause feline AIDS. FIV is not necessarily a deadly virus, as cats may be carriers and transmitters for a long time without having any medical issues.

Symptoms of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

The symptoms of FIV include weakness and susceptibility to illnesses. The cat with FIV will have a deficient immune system and will be more prone to any illnesses or viruses and bacteria in the environment.

Other symptoms of the feline immunodeficiency virus depend on the stage of the disease.

However, there may be cats with FIV that display no symptoms.

Acute Stage Symptoms

The first stage of the disease is the acute stage and occurs 1 to 2 months after the cat is infected. The acute stage includes symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen lymph nodes or lymphadenopathy; the virus causes general lymphadenopathy early in the development of the disease

Subclinical Stage Symptoms

The subclinical stage follows the acute stage and may start as early as 1 month after the infection with the virus; however, this stage may be delayed, according to each case in particular.

You may notice the same symptoms as in the first stage of the disease, however, some of these may be absent for short periods and re-occur.

Chronic Stage FIV Symptoms

A cat in the chronic stage of the disease will be very weak and will develop chronic infections, as the immune system does not function properly.

Cats may easily get:

  • Stomatitis
  • Gingivitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Enteritis
  • Dermatitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Bladder infections
  • Upper respiratory infections

If you notice that your cat keeps on getting ill, this should be an alarming sign and you should test your pet for FIV.

These secondary infections need to be kept under control to prolong the cat's life and make him feel better.

These recurrent infections may be fatal to the cat.

FIV Diagnosis

FIV may be tested for FIV and FeLV antibodies. Cats with FIV may also have a low white blood cell count.

How FIV Is Transmitted

The feline immunodeficiency virus can be transmitted through bites and scratches. The virus is present in the cat's saliva and blood.

The virus may also be transmitted from mother to kitten.

Managing a Cat with FIV

If your pet was diagnosed with FIV, this does not necessarily mean that he is hopelessly ill. If you manage the secondary infections and offer a high protein diet, your cat can live a long life with FIV. All the common secondary infections that occur in a cat with FIV are fully treatable, so if you act in a timely manner, you can save your cat.

Your cat's diet should also contain some vitamin supplements, antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Make sure you keep parasites away, especially fleas, which may be carriers of other diseases.

FIV in cats does not lead to AIDS as frequently as it does in humans.

A FIV vaccine has been invented; however its efficiency hasn't been scientifically proven.