The feline AIDS by veterinarians of Lachine

Veterinarians of Lachine demystify feline AIDS.

Our kitties are usually reluctant to venture away from home when it’s cold and the temperature is gloomy. But when it starts to get beautiful, it’s another story. During the summer, veterinarians of Lachine notice that many cat owners let them go explore the neighborhood for very long periods. So these days, it is normal to see many more cats roaming our neighborhoods than say, during the winter. This practice exposes our cats to several infectious conditions as severe as car accidents. Remember that there is no vaccine against car bumpers !

a cat infected with HIV cannot infect humans or other animals.

A cat infected with HIV cannot infect humans or other animals.

Since the beginning of summer, veterinarians of Lachine have seen a sharp increase in bites, wounds and battle abscesses  in cats. In the vast majority of cases, these injuries are inflicted by other cats. Even neutered  part-time wonderers are considered by tomcats, as intruders. Particularly when females are in heat. They hunt and bite. In addition to the obvious injuries that can be imposed following a meeting of the “third kind”, a very harmful virus can also be transmitted through the saliva of infected cats.

In 1986, American researchers found that cats could suffer from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome similar to AIDS in humans. It is caused by a lentivirus (a subgroup of retroviruses similar to HIV).

FIV reaches the cat’s immune system. The virus lives in the blood of infected cats and remains in them throughout their lives system. Veterinarians of Lachine explains that infected cats can contaminate healthy cats when they come into contact  through bites. Cats infected with HIV can live without any signs for several years. Some cats appear healthy while others may have initial symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, lethargy and swollen lymph. As the disease progresses, other symptoms may occur, such as weight loss, sores in and around the mouth, eye lesions, poor coat and a variety of chronic infections.

Where appropriate, the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections or diseases. This then results in death, triggered by a secondary infection.

Veterinarians of Lachine explain that FIV spreads mainly through bites because the virus is present in high concentrations in saliva. This is why  mainly unsterilized male cats are the main carriers of this virus. Cats that go outdoors are at greater risk of contracting the disease. The spread of FIV through water bowls or grooming equipment is unlikely. The virus is very fragile in the environment: it survives a few tens of minutes maximum. It is possible, but rare, for a mother to transmit the infection to her fetus.

 It is important to know that humans cannot become infected from infected cats and vice versa. The FIV and HIV are two retroviruses, it is true, but they are still different. It is said that the disease is species specific. So a cat infected with HIV cannot infect humans or other animals. A bit like rhinotracheitis in cats. This respiratory condition is caused by a herpes virus (well known in humans …), but can be transmitted to other animals and humans.

Tests are available to detect the disease ask the veterinarians of Lachine. Is euthanasia is the only option if your cat is FIV positive? Absolutely not! Many kitties will live perfectly normally for several years before showing signs of the disease. Where appropriate, veterinarians of Lachine will treat secondary infections caused by immunodeficiency.

A vaccine is now available to combat this disease. But its effectiveness is questioned by some American experts. Clinical studies conducted by researchers at the origin of the vaccine were nevertheless quite impressive …

Apart from vaccination, the best way to protect your cat against feline AIDS is the avoidance of contact with carriers of FIV cats. Veterinarians of Lachine know that many find  inhuman to keep a cat indoors, but it is a very good way to prevent the disease. It is also recommended to sterilize  cats  to help reduce fighting.

Any new cat that is adopted should be tested. This is especially important if other cats are already part of the family.

Talk to the veterinarians of Lachine.

About the clinic: The Lachine Veterinary Clinic offers an unmatched and personalized service to pet owners from Lachine, LaSalle, Dorval and Pointe Claire, but also across the West Island of Montreal (West Island) and Laval, and has done so ,since 1982.

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