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Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Your Cat

When we walk down the street and encounter a stray cat, it is hard for us to imagine that this seemingly healthy and vibrant kitty might actually be very sick. This phenomenon is true with even our human counterparts. Part of this deceiving reality is the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV. This virus affects more than 11% of cats worldwide.

The probable immediate association, once a person hears this, is with HIV or Human immunodeficiency Virus. The two are very similar in how they are transmitted and also how they affect the body. It seems, though, that cats are better able to deal with the disease in terms of life expectancy after it has been contracted.

Contracting FIV is not a death sentence for a cat. In fact, most cats go on to live happy and healthy lives and carriers and transmitters for several years. FIV attacks the body much more slowly than HIV does. Transmission usually takes place in the form of deep bites or scratches, although other forms of transmission do occur, as traces of the virus are found in other areas of the body such as the vagina, the rectum, and the mouth.

The disease occurs in three stages: the Acute stage, the Subclinical stage, and the Chronic stage. The first stage, acute, happens immediately after transmission, during which time the cat experiences fever and depression. Once the cat has survived the first stage, it goes into the second stage, Subclinical, when the cat appears to be completely healthy for an extended period of time. At the third and final stage, Chronic, the cat suffers from the effects of the disease, developing one or several other nonrelated diseases that it would not have contracted were it able to maintain a healthy immune system.

Despite the fact that cats, especially those house kept, can survive for very long periods of time without treatment, many cat owners insist on treating the symptoms of their pet. A new treatment, released in 2006 and sold exclusively through, IMULAN Bio Therapeutics, LLC, has been developed to counter some of the internal symptoms of the disease, like anemia and thrombocytopenia, a small amount of blood platelets.

FIV affects the entire cat family and is found in numerous big cat species found all over Africa. It seems though that these cats have developed a certain evolutionary resistance to the disease over time. If you think your cat might have FIV, be sure to contact a veterinarian in your area. For more information, consult us at

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