FIV in cats: definition and causes

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The Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is also called cat AIDS for a reason. It is very similar to human immunodeficiency. It can take years for your pet to develop symptoms before the disease breaks out. The disease FIV is transmitted from cat to cat - Image: Shutterstock / melis

FIV is an infectious viral disease. Once infected, there is no cure. The FI virus spreads throughout the cat's body. It gradually destroys the white blood platelets and T-helper cells, which are important for the body's defense system. Bacteria, fungi and other pathogens are then easy to play. The clinical picture is therefore very unspecific. When cat AIDS has broken out, severe inflammation of the oral mucosa and gums occurs in many animals. As with humans, it can happen that the disease does not break out until several years after the actual FIV infection.

These are the causes of FIV

The most common cause of FIV in cats is transmission of the virus through a cat bite. Free-range animals in particular are at risk of being infected by other infected animals. The virus gets from the saliva of the sick animal directly into the bloodstream of the bitten cat. In contrast to humans, transmission through sexual intercourse hardly plays a role. There is also no risk of humans or other animals becoming infected. FIV is only transmitted from cat to cat. However, pregnant animals often transmit the virus to their young in the womb.

What you can do about it

There is no vaccine or successful treatments for FIV. With the right medication, however, the onset of the disease can be delayed so that the cat can live without symptoms for a long time. If you have a hangover, you can reduce the risk of infection by neutering. The animal then doesn't roam around as much and is less interested in the power struggle with other freedoms. Once the immune system breaks down and the disease develops, it can often go quickly. Harmless bacteria, even from your own oral flora, can lead to serious infections. At some point the animal is so weak that it dies.

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