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Constructive Doesn’t Have to Be Adverse: Adopting and Residing With an FIV-Constructive Cat


    Visitor weblog By Dr. Linda Jacobson, President, Ontario Shelter Drugs Affiliation 

    FIV stands for “feline immunodeficiency virus.” This can be a virus in the identical group as HIV, however it’s particular to the cat household and might’t cross over into individuals or different animals.  

    There are numerous misconceptions about FIV, essentially the most excessive one being that each cat with FIV is sick and/or extremely contagious and needs to be euthanized. This isn’t supported by the info, and luckily this sort of pondering isn’t encountered as of late. 

    Let’s begin with what an preliminary constructive FIV take a look at means, as a result of this may trigger numerous confusion. The commonest take a look at is a point-of-care fast take a look at, conceptually much like the COVID fast antigen take a look at. Not like the COVID antigen take a look at, although, it detects antibody, a footprint of the immune response to the virus, and never traces of the virus itself. That is essential as a result of, in a kitten below 6 months of age, a constructive antibody take a look at signifies that the kitten nearly definitely obtained these antibodies by consuming milk from its (FIV-positive) mom. These kittens are practically all the time really FIV-negative, as a result of it’s nearly remarkable for this explicit virus to move instantly from the mother to the kitten.  

    If a cat has a constructive antibody take a look at after 6 months of age, generally they actually do have FIV an infection. FIV is normally unfold by deep chunk wounds, and is overwhelmingly a illness of grownup cats, particularly sexually energetic males. 

    One of many first questions adopters ask is, will this cat give FIV to my different cat(s)? The reply is not any. FIV can’t unfold simply. The virus dies in a short time exterior the cat’s physique, normally inside minutes. Simply dwelling with one other cat with FIV, in a standard residence setting, doesn’t end in unfold.1 Even when cats don’t like one another, it’s extraordinarily unlikely that their dislike will end result within the type of deep chunk wounds that FIV requires to contaminate one other cat. (That is, after all, assuming that the cats are spayed or neutered. If they’re intact and breeding, that’s one other matter altogether.) 

    One other query that’s regularly requested is, what does this prognosis imply for me and my cat? Does having FIV imply my cat is sick, or will certainly get sick in some unspecified time in the future?  

    There’s excellent news right here, too, however first the dangerous information. Cats with FIV do have the potential to develop immune deficiency, and this may result in continual or uncommon infections. The excellent news is that many cats with FIV won’t ever develop medical immune deficiency.2 In my expertise with shelter cats in Toronto, when cats with FIV do have medical indicators of an infection, it’s sometimes a gentle intermittent chilly, or typically an an infection after a “soiled” surgical procedure like dental extractions. We’ve simply not seen the identical type of illness development that do typically see with feline leukemia virus (a very totally different virus with some related options). And when our FIV-positive cats do get sick with common cat illnesses, they reply nicely to straightforward therapies.  

    Do FIV-positive cats make good companions? Properly, they’re all totally different, so there’s nobody reply. That stated, there definitely is a “kind” that we within the sheltering world all know and love. The “typical” FIV-positive cat is a giant tom, with huge cheeks, a can-do perspective, and a group of scars from his life open air. Those that are snug round individuals are more likely to be cats who have been socialized when younger, and have been later misplaced or deserted. They’ve huge hearts and massive personalities and make fantastic and loving members of the family. 

    Ought to cats with FIV be managed in a different way from different cats? Probably not. What we would like for all cats is common veterinary visits, to be updated on vaccinations and deworming, and to obtain a high-quality, balanced food plan. Good main well being care is especially essential for cats that may have immune deficiency. We additionally suggest that these cats shouldn’t have entry to the outside, to restrict their publicity to infectious illnesses. Nevertheless, the AAFP (American Affiliation of Feline Practitioners) tips level out that, for cats that will probably be extremely confused with an indoor-only life-style, being allowed open air, together with a working cat placement, might be thought of. This doesn’t pose a threat to different cats they might encounter – once more assuming they’re first spayed or neutered to stop high-risk behaviours. 

    Adopters could fear {that a} FIV-positive cat will quickly get sick and die. That is unlikely, as these cats sometimes have a standard lifespan. In the event that they do develop indicators of FIV immune suppression, it’s as much as every household to determine how they wish to proceed. There are a couple of drugs that may assist suppress the virus, however the advantages for cats haven’t been confirmed as they’ve been in individuals. We counsel adopters to concentrate on sustaining an excellent high quality of life for his or her FIV-positive cats, and that heroics are usually not required, although some households may select to pursue intensive and costly therapies. There needs to be no guilt concerned in saying goodbye after you’ve gotten given an animal a beautiful second likelihood – an excellent high quality of life in a loving residence.