Feline Diseases – FIV

FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

  • Veterinarian can perform test
  • Preventative vaccination available 
  • Vaccination intervals: every six (6) months

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a retrovirus (classed as a Lentivirus) and is primarily spread through bite wounds. Outdoor cats and territorial tomcats are most susceptible to infection. However, unlike feline leukemia, casual contact through sharing food and water bowls doesn’t significantly increase risk of contracting FIV. Although a mother cat may pass the virus along to her kittens, this happens rarely.

Cats who are infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) may not show symptoms until years after the initial infection occurred. 

Although the virus is slow-acting, a cat’s immune system is severely weakened once the disease takes hold. This makes the cat susceptible to various secondary infections.

Symptoms of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

An FIV-infected cat may not show any symptoms for years. Once symptoms do develop, however, they may continually progress -or a cat may show signs of sickness interspersed with health for years. If your cat is demonstrating any of the following symptoms, please have him/her examined by your veterinarian:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss/Anorexia
  • Disheveled / Unkempt coat / Not thoroughly groomed as usual
  • Poor appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal appearance or inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
  • Inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis)
  • Dental disease
  • Skin redness or hair loss
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes or nose
  • Frequent urination, straining to urinate or urinating outside of litter box
  • Behaviour change

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