Feline AIDS

The veterinary college at UC Davis has discovered a feline virus that can affect our pets. Many cat owners have expressed concern regarding the disease, because the virus is very similar to the Human AIDS virus.

Some current information regarding FIV:

  1. There is no evidence to indicate that the disease is transmittable to humans and cat owners should not be concerned that their cats could expose them to human AIDS.
  2. The disease is predominantly seen in older cats (unlike the leukemia virus) and blood samples from all over the State have tested positive. The disease is "statewide".
  3. Although similar to Feline Leukemia Virus, cats infected with FIV do not test positive for leukemia. There is a specific test available to screen for FIV. It is reliable and requires only a small amount  of blood. *
  4. Symptoms of the disease are similar to those in humans suffering from AIDS and include swollen lymph nodes, severe weight loss, diarrhea, respiratory infections, anemia, and parasitic infections. The cat's entire immune system is suppressed by the virus.
  5. Because FIV in cats attacks the same type of blood cells that the human AIDS virus destroys in humans, it is felt that the cat may help provide answers for AIDS research.

If the doctor feels that your cat is at risk for FIV infection, the test will be recommended.


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