Feline Aids: Everything You Need To Know
Molly Weinfurter - December 9th, 2020
Cats are notorious for hiding illnesses until it's too late. Because of this, cat parents need to stay on top of their feline's health. So, here is everything you need to know about feline AIDS in case your cat gets sick.
We will cover transmission, symptoms, and treatments for this virus and show you some ways to support your cat’s immune system naturally.
Table Of Contents
- What is feline AIDS?
- Can humans get feline AIDS?
- How is it transmitted?
- Feline AIDS symptoms
- Is there a test?
- How to support your cat's immune system naturally
What is feline AIDS?
Feline AIDS is officially known as the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV. It's often called Feline AIDS because it's similar to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). While Feline AIDS is uncommon for cats, it can have a serious impact on their overall health.
It's a slow-acting virus that can cause a deficiency in your cat's immune system. When it attacks your cat's body, it causes your feline to be more vulnerable to other types of infections and diseases.
Can humans get feline AIDS?
Luckily, there is no evidence that feline AIDS can pass to humans. It seems that only cats are known to get it. Veterinarians and lab personnel conducted a study of this virus that helped confirm it. None of the participating humans showed any evidence of infection, even those who had been bitten by infected cats or accidentally injected with the virus.
Even if people were to be affected by feline AIDS, it's unlikely that they would catch it from their cat. The virus is only active for a short amount of time outside of your cat's body. Thus, even if your cat is sharing a litter box and food dish with uninfected cats, the other cats aren't at high risk.
For those who want to be extra cautious just in case, it's best not to kiss your cat's face if they have the virus. After all, that's an easy way for many people to get bitten by a cat.
How is it transmitted?
Cats most commonly transmit feline AIDS to each other through bites. If a cat has the virus, it will be present in their saliva. Thus, a bite wound is the easiest way for a cat's infected saliva to transmit to another feline.
The risk of a friendly cat transmitting the disease to another is low. In most cases, the virus spreads when an aggressive male cat has free roam. So, if you know your cat has the feline AIDS virus, you should keep them indoors.
In rare cases, an infected mother cat can pass the disease onto her newborn kittens. It can occur during pregnancy, birth, or nursing, all of which are uncommon.
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Cats with feline AIDS might not show symptoms for years. Unfortunately, the symptoms only tend to appear after a cat gets a secondary infection. Once symptoms show, they could continuously progress.
Here are some symptoms associated with feline AIDS:
- Weight loss
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Poor appetite
- Inflammation of gums or mouth
- Inflammation around eyes
- Behavior changes
Feline AIDS can cause a variety of symptoms beyond those listed above. If you notice one or more of these unusual symptoms in your cat, talk to your vet immediately. The longer you wait, the more illnesses your furry friend could face.
Is there a test?
A blood test is required to diagnose feline AIDS. Your vet will take blood samples from your cat and closely examine them. Vets recommend that you only test your cat if they are showing symptoms.
Vets use a variety of techniques during these tests to determine if your cat is infected. Some methods include enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), western blot, and immunofluorescence (IFA) assays.
If the cat hasn't had the virus for long, the test might come back negative.
There are vaccines available to prevent feline AIDS, but they may not be effective for every cat. Keeping your cat's immune system healthy by giving them a beneficial diet and using necessary supplements can also help prevent the virus.
Prevention is important because if your cat is diagnosed with feline AIDS, there isn't a cure. If managed properly, you can still help your infected cat live a normal, happy life.
Continuing a healthy diet, using medications for secondary infections, and frequently visiting your vet can help keep your cat's virus under control. Ask your vet about anti-inflammatory drugs, immune-enhancing drugs, and parasite control drugs to help keep your cat safe.
Feline AIDS won't go away, but you can manage it with proper care.
How to support your cat's immune system naturally
The best way to help your cat stay safe from feline AIDS is to help them maintain a healthy immune system.
Feeding your cat a proper diet will help their immune system stay strong. Serve your cat a high-quality food brand that is rich in protein and free of unnecessary filler ingredients.
Another natural option that can support your cat's immune system is CBD oil for cats. CBD can help keep your cat's bodily systems in balance by supplementing their endocannabinoid system.
One recent study found that worms given CBD lived on average up to 18% longer lives than their non-CBD-taking counterparts. They were also up to 22% more active in the late stages of their lives. We don't yet know how or if this will translate to cats and humans, but it certainly is encouraging.
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