Posted on: 12 October 2015Share
Your veterinarian has diagnosed your cat as having the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which it may have picked up from another cat in the neighborhood. This is not a death sentence for your cat, but it will need your help to live out a long and comfortable life. Here is how you can take care of your feline companion so you'll continue to enjoy years of each other's company.
The Virus Suppresses Your Cat's Immune System
The FIV virus reduces the effectiveness of your cat's immune system. They will struggle to fight off even simple illnesses or infections. Most of the issues for an FIV positive cat are the secondary infections caused by the suppressed immune system. Catching a simple cold virus can cause a severe respiratory infection in a cat with FIV.
Some of the signs you'll notice in your cat because of their lack of immune system response may include:
- dull and rough looking fur
- decrease in appetite and weight loss
- sores in the mouth and on the gums
- diarrhea and vomiting
- urinary tract infections
- respiratory infections
At the first sign of any of these medical issues, take your cat to the animal hospital for a checkup. Simple problems can become major issues if not addressed early in the FIV positive cat.
Supporting Your Cat Through the Remainder of Their Lives
If you can reduce the risk of secondary health problems due to the FIV, your cat can live a long and comfortable life. You'll have to take some actions to reduce the risk of injury or infection, such as:
- Leave your cat inside of the house so they can't come into contact with sick animals outside.
- Get your cat spayed or neutered so their reproductive system doesn't weaken your cat's immune system further.
- Make sure their diet is high in animal protein and low in grains and fillers so it is easier to digest, yet gives your cat the energy it needs to fight off infections.
- Check your cat's body frequently, especially inside of the ears and mouth, for sores and any swelling.
- Help your cat keep their coat healthy by brushing them every day and removing any mats you find before they become tight against the skin.
- Watch your cat for signs of difficulty walking, which can mean there is damage to the cartilage in the joints.
- Feel around your cat's joints for swollen lymph nodes, which is a sign of infection.
With your help and support, your FIV positive cat will be on your lap for years. Take your pet to a pet hospital, such as the Metzger Animal Hospital, at the first sign of any medical issues before they overwhelm your cat's immune system.