Fiv In Cats Life Expectancy. FIV infection sometimes leads to gingivitis, painful inflammation of the gums. Some antiviral therapies have been shown to help FIV-infected cats suffering from inflammatino of the gums (gingivitis) and mouth (stomatitis). If your cat goes outdoors unsupervised or lives with other cats that might be i nfected with FIV, your veterinarian may suggest periodically testing her for FIV. Why should I have my cat tested for FIV? Early detection will help you maintain the health of your own cat and h elp prevent spreading infection to other cats. Reasons a cat should be tested If your cat has never been tested. If your cat is sick, even if it tested free of infection in the past but subsequent exposure can’t be ruled out. When cats are newly adopted, whether or not they will be entering a household with other cats. If your cat has recently been exposed to an infected cat. If your cat is exposed to cats that may be infected (for example, if your cat goes outdoors unsupervised or lives with other cats that might be infected). Your veterinarian may suggest testing periodically (yearly) as long as your cat is exposed to potentially infected cats. If you’re considering vaccinating with an FIV vaccine.
A healthy FIV positive cat can live for many years, and indeed can often outlive non-infected cats, but please be aware that this is not always the case. Due to their impaired immune system, the cat may succumb to illness earlier, and not reach their normal life expectancy. FIV cats will need prompt veterinary assistance for even minor symptoms. With good care however, many FIV+ cats can live normal lifespans. These days, it’s not unusual to find FIV+ cats reaching 15 years or more.
Fiv In Cats Life Expectancy
Firstly, FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) should NOT be confused with FeLV (Feline Leukaemia) – they are two very different viruses. They are often mentioned together due to the ‘snap’ tests carried out by vets, but they differ greatly in how they affect a cat, and it’s expected lifespan. FeLV is a serious risk to a cat’s health and longevity, whereas FIV is not. To find out about FeLV go here: Feline Leukaemia (FeLV)Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) has been associated with cats for many years, although it was only labelled as such as recently as 1986. The virus depletes the number of white blood cells, which eventually makes the cat less able to fight off infection. However, because it is such a slow acting virus many FIV positive cats can enjoy a normal lifespan with no apparent health problems resulting from the virus. FIV is species specific. It can only be transmitted from cat to cat, not to humans or other animals.
In some cases, the FIV infection is discovered after a cat has been into the vet to treat a bacterial infection that just won’t go away, even after rounds of antibiotics. Is there a vaccine? There is a vaccine to help prevent the transmission of FIV, but the vaccination is not 100% reliable and will generate antibodies that make it very difficult to determine later whether the cat is infected or only vaccinated. A vaccine may be of little usefulness for the cat owner who keeps cats safely indoors. Is it expensive to treat? There is really no treatment for the FIV infection itself. Care should be taken to prevent the FIV-positive cat from being exposed to cats that are sick with upper respiratory infections, are FeLV-positive, etc. because the FIV-positive cat is less able to fight off infection by these secondary diseases.
FIV positive cats should always be neutered, however if a female FIV positive cat is allowed to become pregnant it is extremely rare for the kittens to become infected with the virus. FIV differs from feline leukaemia in that respect, in that it is not passed on from the queen to kittens in utero. However, kittens born to an infected mother will absorb antibodies from her milk and will therefore give a positive response to the FIV antibody test. In these kittens the test becomes negative after 12-16 weeks, as their maternal immunity wanes. It is therefore pointless to test kittens under 16 weeks using an FIV antibody test.
Fiv In Cats Life Expectancy
Some rescue shelters insist that FIV+ cats are homed as ‘indoor cats’ or go to homes with an enclosed garden to prevent contact with other cats. Certainly if the cat has aggressive tendencies it should not be allowed free access to the outside world, or to mix with non-infected cats. However, being indoor-only may be considered as reducing their quality of life, since most FIV positive cats have previously been used to going outdoors. In some cases being confined indoors can even cause stress, which may further lower their immune system. However, given the length of time some FIV+ cats remain in rescues before being adopted, an indoor home is far better than staying in rescue, and will also limit their exposure to outside infections. An enclosed garden can be a good compromise.
Diagnosis To diagnose FIV infection, blood samples are examined for the presence of antibodies to the FIV virus. FIV antibodies can be detected using a number of techniques, including enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), western blot, and immunofluorescence (IFA) assays. These techniques are dependent upon the host cat mounting an immune response to FIV virus. If a host cat has not had sufficient time after exposure to mount an immune response or if the host cannot mount an immune response due to immunosuppression, antibodies may not be detected in a cat that is actually infected with FIV.
Because an FIV-positive cat is at higher risk for other diseases, the pet owner may be at a higher risk for vet bills. How long will an FIV-positive cat live? Unfortunately, a cat infected with FIV is likely to die younger than an uninfected cat. The lifespan depends somewhat on how lucky the cat is in avoiding secondary infection. 10 to 12 years is not uncommon, but neither is 2 to 3 years. So should I adopt an FIV-positive cat? That depends. The downside is that the cat will probably have a shorter lifespan and you may have extra vet bills along the way. Of course, if you and your vet know that the cat is FIV-positive, you’ll probably have a different approach to vet care that can minimize the extra expense by avoiding treatments that may be less effective and by knowing when the battle is lost.
FIV will not survive for more than a few hours in most environments. However, FIV-infected cats are frequently infected with other infectious agents that may pose some threat to a newcomer. For these reasons, to minimize transmission of FIV and/or other infectious diseases to a cat that is brought into an environment in which an FIV-positive cat has lived, prudence dictates a thorough cleaning and disinfection or replacement of food and water dishes, bedding, litter pans, and toys. A dilute solution of household bleach (four ounces of bleach in 1 gallon of water) makes an excellent disinfectant. Vacuuming carpets and mopping floors with an appropriate cleanser is also recommended. Any new cats or kittens should be properly vaccinated against other infectious agents before entering the household.
The most recent research carried out at Glasgow University’s Companion Animal Diagnostics indicates that the chances of FIV being passed from one cat to another in the same household is approx 1-2%. This means that if you have 100 cats (!) in a house with 1 FIV positive cat, only 1 or 2 could be expected to become infected. Even when FIV was passed on, as in the Glasgow survey, none of the cats actually died of it. In another survey a few years ago FIV was not passed from cat to cat in the same household at all.
The Celia Hammond Animal Trust have been conducting a long-term study at their sanctuary since the late 1990’s, where FIV-positive and FIV-negative cats live happily together, grooming each other and sharing food bowls and litter trays. Regular blood tests for the virus are carried out, and to date no cases of transmission have yet been found. Cats are far more at risk of being bitten by an unknown feral or stray FIV positive cat than by a friendly, neutered, FIV positive cat living as part of the family.
Unfortunately, many FIV-infected cats are not diagnosed until after they have lived for years with other cats. In such cases, all the other cats in the household should be tested. Ideally, all infected cats should be separated from the noninfected ones to eliminate the potential for FIV transmission. It is important to realize, however, that since FIV is transmitted primarily by bite wounds, transmission from an infected cat to an uninfected cat is much less likely in households that have stable social structures (i.e. households in which cats do not fight).
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are designed to detect short segments of a virus’s genetic material. This test does not rely upon the detection of antibodies to FIV that are produced by the host cat, but rather tests for the presence of the FIV virus itself (by detecting viral DNA). While antibody-based tests are ideal screening tests for infection, in certain situations (such as confirming infection in antibody-positive kittens or determining infection of cats vaccinated with antibody-eliciting FIV vaccines), PCR-based tests are theoretically superior. Although PCR testing methods offer promise, these techniques result in relatively high numbers of false-positive and false-negative results, so they are not routinely being recommended. Recent advances in this technology, however, have prompted hope that PCR based techniques may eventually improve our ability to accurately diagnose FIV.
Fiv In Cats Life Expectancy