How To Care For An Fiv Infected Cat



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How to Care for an FIV Infected Cat

Five Methods:

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infects a cat when infected body fluids (most commonly saliva, but potentially via semen or blood) come into contact with the blood of an uninfected cat. FIV weakens a cat’s immune system, making it harder for them to fight infections and will most likely be fatal unless the FIV+ cat is properly cared for. An FIV-positive cat can lead a normal, happy life for many years if you care for them properly. The key to keeping an infected cat healthy includes providing a healthy diet and environment, giving your cat regular preventative health care, and taking it to the vet at the first sign of ill health.

Steps

Feeding a FIV-Positive Cat

  1. Feed your FIV positive cat a nutritious diet.It is important to give your cat a good diet in order to keep him or her as healthy as possible despite the FIV. Ask your veterinarian about good, quality brands of cat food.
  2. Feed your cat dry kibble.Dry kibble is the best food you can feed your cat, as wet food has a tendency to build up on teeth, causing tartar buildup that can lead to infections. Your primary goal should be to do everything you can to keep your cat infection-free because FIV causes it to be very susceptible to infections.
  3. Feed your cat food that is appropriate for its age.Vets often recommend life-stage diets from Hills, Purina, and Royal Canin. These diets provide for the specific nutritional needs of young animals (under 12 months of age), adults (classed as 1 – 7 years), and senior animals (over the age of 7 years). Matching the life-stage diet to the age of your cat can promote longevity.

Getting Preventative Healthcare

  1. Get your cat vaccinated regularly.FIV causes your cat’s immune system to become weak, which means that it is very susceptible to other illnesses, like cat flu. Because of this, it's important that you get your cat vaccinated against illnesses every year.
    • Talk to your vet about which vaccines to give your cat, as some diseases are more common in certain areas than others.Your vet will most likely suggest that you get your cat vaccinated against feline distemper and other cat viruses.
  2. Keep your cat parasite-free.A FIV-infected cat’s body is less likely to handle infections well. FIV-infected cats also need all the nutrients that they can get and many parasites will rob your cat’s body of those nutrients. You need to treat your cat for both internal and external parasites.
    • Control worms (internal parasites) with milbemax (containing milbemycin.) This wormer is effective against all classes of worms. Indoor cats should be dosed once every three to four months. Cats allowed outdoor access, especially those that hunt rodents, should be wormed monthly.
    • External parasites such as fleas and ticks can also compromise your cat’s health. Vets often recommend Stronghold (UK)/ Revolution (US). This external parasite medication combats all external parasites in the same way that milbemax fights internal parasites.
  3. Boost your cat’s immune system with vitamins it can eat.It is a good idea to boost its immune system with vitamins. You can give your cat vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin C, selenium, and zinc.
    • Talk to your vet about the proper dose for your specific cat. Your vet will most likely recommend something along the lines of 3 to 5 ml of LC-vit daily or 5 ml of Nutri-Plus Gel daily.
  4. Talk to your vet about giving your cat injectable vitamins.If your cat is very weak and has a hard time eating, you should consider giving him or her injectable vitamins to boost its health. Again, it is always important to talk to your vet before giving your cat any supplements or medication.
    • An injectable supplement that is often recommended by vets is Coforta, which is injected at 0.5ml to 2.5 ml per cat once a day for 5 days during a single treatment period.
  5. Give your cat L-lysine supplements.L-lysine is a supplement that can help prevent flare-ups of infections that are common in FIV-positive cats. L-lysine aids in protein synthesis and is involved in tissue repair and maintenance. The recommended dose is generally 500 mg daily mixed with food.
    • Talk to your vet before giving your cat supplements.
  6. Consider interferon treatment for your FIV-positive cat.In interferon therapy, your cat is injected intravenously with interferons, substances that are part of the immune system and help to fight viral and bacterial infections. By increasing the number of interferons in your cat’s body, your cat becomes more resistant to infections, which means that it has a better chance of living a long, happy life.
    • Interferons are speciality medications that are veterinarian administered. They can be costly, but studies have shown they have minimal side effects in cats.
  7. Seek veterinary help if your cat shows signs of illness.FIV-positive cats have a much harder time fighting off infections and other illnesses. Because of this, it is best to take your cat into the vet as soon as you notice that it is sick, rather than waiting to see if the situation will resolve itself. Generally, your cat will simply need to be put on antibiotics to help his or her body fight the infections. You should always be on the look out for signs that your cat is feeling unwell, including:
    • Coughing.
    • Sneezing.
    • Runny eyes or nose.
    • Decreased appetite.
    • Increased thirst.
    • Vomiting or diarrhea.
      Veterinarian Pippa Elliott MRCVS explains: "FIV cats have weak immune systems and can't fight infection. This makes it so important to get the cat checked by a vet at the first sign of illness. A timely course of antibiotics can make all the difference to the outcome."

Controlling a FIV-Positive Cat's Stress

  1. Minimize the amount of stress your cat feels.Stress can have physical effects on your cat because his or her immune system is already weak. When an animal is stressed, its body releases a natural steroid—cortisol—in order to help the body cope with the stress. Long term exposure to cortisol suppresses the immune system and, in a cat that already has a weakened immune system, this will decrease his or her limited ability to fight infection.:
  2. Keep your cat’s routine the same.Change can really stress a cat out, from having a new pet around to moving to a new house. Try to keep your cat’s environment as normal as possible.
    • Don't forget to continue to play with your cat. Give it toys and spend quality time with it as usual. You don't want to exhaust a cat with FIV but you do want to continue to enjoy the company of your pet.
  3. Use a plug-in diffuser.You can purchase diffusers that emit feline pheromones that will keep your cat calm. Vets recommend Feliway, which contains a synthetic version of the pheromone (a hormone messenger) that a contented cat gives off.
    • Feliway is odorless to people, but to cats it sends of a reassuring message that all is well with the world.

Controlling Interaction with Other Cats

  1. Understand how FIV is transmitted.It is important to know how FIV is spread so that you can keep your FIV-free cats healthy and make sure that your FIV-positive cat still has a happy life. FIV is most commonly spread through a cat’s saliva, though it can also be spread through blood and semen. The most common way for a cat to contract FIV is through getting bit by an FIV-positive cat.
    • Keep in mind that FIV is a relatively fragile virus that cannot survive in the environment beyond a few seconds. Outside the body, FIV is rapidly damaged by drying, UV, heat, light and basic disinfectants, and poses no risk to other cats. The virus requires direct transmission from infected saliva of one cat, into the bloodstream of a healthy cat.
  2. Consider keeping your FIV-positive and FIV-negative cats separate.Studies have shown that it is not absolutely necessary to keep your healthy cats separate from your FIV-positive cats if they get along well. If your cats have a tendency to fight, however, it is a good idea to keep them separate.
    • In studies done by the University of Glasgow, it was found that when FIV-free and FIV-positive cats were around each other, there was a 1-2% transmission rate.You will have to decide whether that 1 to 2% is too much of a risk to take.
  3. Spay or neuter your FIV-positive cat.When cats get spayed (females) or neutered (males), they become less aggressive, which means that the chances that they will get into fights is greatly reduced. If you have an FIV-positive cat that you want to remain an outdoor cat, it is a good idea to get it fixed so that it is less likely to bite another cat in a fight.
  4. Keep a male cat indoors if he is likely to get into fights with other cats.As a responsible cat owner, your priorities should be to keep your FIV-positive cat healthy, and to make sure that it does not infect any other cats. Male cats tend to roam over large distances, sometimes across several acres and are likely to encounter other cats on their travels. If he is likely to scrap with these cats, then it is essential to keep him indoors.
    • Keeping a territorial cat indoors might not be the most ideal situation, particularly if he is used to roaming around outside, but it might be the only way to keep him from spreading FIV to other cats in your neighborhood.
  5. Talk to a vet about the health of cats in your area, particularly if you live in a city.If you live in a city, it is a good idea to talk to a local veterinarian about the incidence of FIV in the area. If there is a large population of feral cats who are FIV-positive, you may want to keep FIV-free cats indoors but may feel alright about letting your FIV-positive cat stay an outdoor cat. If FIV is rare in a high cat density neighborhood, then, as a responsible owner, you should keep your FIV-positive pet indoors.
    • If you live in an area with a low population of cats, such as remote countryside, then the risk of cats meeting and fighting is low, and it is acceptable to let your FIV-positive cat out.

Understanding the Progression of FIV

  1. Take your cat to be examined if it gets bitten by another cat.Check your cat for bite marks regularly. You should take your cat to the vet if you notice a bite mark and at the same time that it develops a fever. FIV causes a severe fever that will last for 3 to 7 days. When you take your cat to the vet he or she will check for:
    • Swollen lymph nodes. When cats become ill, their lymph nodes swell up. Your vet will check to see if this is occurring in your cat.
    • White blood cell levels. FIV causes decreases in white blood cell counts. Your vet will take a blood sample to see if your cat has low white blood cell counts.
  2. Be aware that your cat will become a carrier and might not exhibit symptoms.Most cats recover from the first stage of the disease (the fever and low white blood cell counts). When they recover, they will stop exhibiting signs of illness but will still carry the disease. This period of ‘health’ can last for several months to several years.
    • Doing all of the things will help lengthen your cat’s life and prolong this stage in which she is just a carrier of the disease.
  3. Look for signs of terminal illness that are commonly associated with FIV.FIV causes immune deficiency that can lead to your cat developing other illnesses. You should monitor your cat for any signs of illness including:
    • Chronic respiratory infections caused by bacteria and viruses.
    • Gastrointestinal infections and diarrhea (Gastroenteritis).
    • Skin lesions (sores).
    • Mouth lesions (sores).
    • Neurological symptoms like psychomotor problems (like trouble moving around), psychological problems, dementia, and convulsions.
    • Weakness.
    • Emaciation.
    • Dull or poor coat.
    • Chronic urinary tract infections.

Community Q&A

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  • Question
    Where can I purchase the vitamin supplements and parasite medications you recommended? Also, approximately how much will they cost?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    They will cost about three to five dollars and you can find them at a pet store or a vet's office.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    How do I find out if my cat has FIV?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Symptoms of FIV include enlarged lymph nodes, fever, anemia, weight loss, disheveled coat, diarrhea, poor appetite, and inflammation of the eye. If you suspect your cat might have FIV, take him/her to the vet and have them tested.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Can you recommend a very specific cat food, such as the brand?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Thanks!
  • Question
    My cat is FIV+ and in the last week of his life the vet is putting him to sleep at the end of week. He will not eat but likes to lick the jelly of food. Is there any other food you think he may eat?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Your cat may like kitten milk (specially made for cats and kittens) as most cats love that and come running to the dish. He may like cat treats as well. Give him lots of attention and try to make him as happy as you can.
    Thanks!
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  • Give your cat lots of love and affection. Positive support can really boost your cat’s health.
  • Your cat still has some ability to fight infections through his humoral immune response. However, he is still much more prone to infection that other healthy cats.
  • Don't leave your cat alone as it may feel depressed.

Warnings

  • If you think your cat may have been infected with FIV, take him to a veterinarian immediately so that he can recover and stay healthy for as long as possible.
  • Take your FIV-positive cat to the vet at the first signs of illness.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Feline CKD: Current therapies - what is achievable? Korman and White, J Feline Med Surg. 2013 Sep;15 Suppl 1:29-44. doi: 10.1177/1098612X13495241
  2. Small Animal Internal Medicine. Nelson & Couto. Publ: Mosby. 3rd Edition. P1278-1281
  3. Feline CKD: Current therapies - what is achievable? Korman and White, J Feline Med Surg. 2013 Sep;15 Suppl 1:29-44. doi: 10.1177/1098612X13495241
  4. The Merck Veterinary Manual 9th Edition
  5. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16169599
  6. www.abcd-vets.org/guidelines/Pages/en-0803-Feline_Immunodeficiency_virus-FIV_infected_cat_management.aspx
  7. Small Animal Internal Medicine. Nelson & Couto. Publ: Mosby. 3rd Edition. P1278-1281
  8. Transmission of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) among cohabiting cats in two cat rescue shelters. Lister et. Al Vet Journal. 2014 Mar 31. pii: S1090-0233(14)00084-7. doi:10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.02.03
  9. The Merck Veterinary Manual 9th Edition

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Date: 29.11.2018, 22:55 / Views: 95132