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Understanding FIV: FELINE Immunodeficiency Virus

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Cats with Feline AIDS are said to be FIV positive, FELINE Immunodeficiency Virus. FIV is the equivalent to HIV, HUMAN Immunodeficiency Virus. Like the human virus, FIV interferes with the cat’s immune system. Once the immune system is weakened the cat becomes susceptible to all forms of infections.

Outdoor cats are at the greatest risk of contracting this virus. Un-neutered male cats are extremely territorial. This strong need to mark their own boundaries causes them to be more aggressive. An aggressive animal is more likely to become engaged in fights with other animals to protect their own domain. The virus is then spread through the blood contact that occurs with biting.

Female cats may contract the virus from male cats during mating. The actual act of mating has not been proven to be the cause of this. male cats will bite the neck of the female during mating. The virus is spread once blood contact is made.

Feline AIDS is not transferable to other cats by sharing food and dishes or by cat-to-cat grooming. It is only transferable by blood contact through openings in the body. It is impossible to transfer from cat to humans because this strain of the AIDS virus is unique to cats.

Testing positive for FIV is NOT a death sentence. Many people share their cat friendly home with FIV positive cats. You can bring a FIV positive cat into a household with other cats as long as the cats are all spay/neutered and not aggressive. Many cats with the virus have proved to be long term forever healthy pets that never succumb to the virus. Your veterinarian see's the worst case scenario FIV cases regularly, as a result they tend to lean towards euthanizing the FIV positive cat rather than wait and see what happens.

Recent studies advise not vaccinating for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus - aka "feline AIDS") and FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), bordatella, giardia, or chlamydia at all. The vaccines for FIV are very ineffective.

Vaccines vary in their ability to confer strong immunity within the patient. Some vaccines, such as the FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) vaccine are not very effective at stimulating immunity in the recipient. Dr Lisa Pierson DMV

The FIV vaccine is said to be about 80% effective, at best. However, once a cat has received this vaccine, it will test false positive for FIV. That means that your veterinarian currently has no test that would tell if your cat later caught the FIV virus - as one-in-five could. Keeping your FIV-negative cat indoors is the best way to avoid exposing him/her to the virus.

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