Feline Leukemia & Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
More commonly known as Feline AIDS, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a virus that cats can carry for years with no clinical symptoms.
How It Is Spread
It is known as the “fighting cat” disease because it is spread from one cat to another through deep bite wounds. These wounds usually occur during aggressive catfights. It is highly unlikely that cats can spread it to each other through mutual grooming or sharing food/water bowls.
Once symptoms develop, the infected cat’s immune system is severely weakened and they become susceptible to secondary infections. FIV can also shorten a cat's lifespan because of the illnesses associated; however, many cats can still live a long life. Unfortunately, there is no cure.
There is a vaccine for FIV, however, it is controversial so it’s recommended that you speak with your veterinarian before vaccination. The only way to prevent your cat from contracting this virus is to have any new cats coming into the home tested first and keep your cats indoors. This is a test that can be performed at your veterinarian’s office and you can usually get the results by the end of the appointment.
For more information on FIV, view the FAQs About Feline Immunodeficiency Virus flyer (PDF).
Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is a virus that suppresses the infected cat’s immune system.
How It Is Spread
Cats contract FeLV when they come in contact with an infected cat. It is known as the “friendly cat” disease because it can be spread from one cat to another through mutual grooming, sharing bedding and food/water bowls.
Unfortunately, cats with FeLV have a shorter lifespan because of the health concerns and secondary infections from the suppressed immune system that are associated with it. There is no cure for FeLV positive cats.
The good news is that this is 100 percent preventable. There is a vaccine that is highly recommended for any cats that go outdoors and could come in contact with unknown cats. You should also make sure any new cats that you are bringing home are tested for the disease before introducing them to your other cats. This is a test that can be performed at your veterinarian’s office and you can usually get the results by the end of the appointment.
For more information on FeLV, view the FAQs About Feline Leukemia Virus flyer (PDF).