Diseases

FIV and FELV

Greetings everyone, A “biggy” for a Monday morning, however a needed “evil” I suppose. Please note, that under NO circumstances, are the word shared to be taken as gospel. It is from research, supporting facts, and experience in general. Addition to the above, one little, touchy subject – I have often wondered why cats are PTS with either one of the dis-eases… I think it is because of a lack of education. As in both cases the feline, can and will live a life as comfortable as possible with the correct understanding of the infection. And then there is the flip side… the one of thinking, we do not PTS humans with this… so why them? Before you venture further, one thing I have learned – very few people know to ask for the snap test to be done, and even fewer know that there is a “window” of 21 days, where the test could have been negative, and then shows positive afterwards. This is the reason, NO feline is integrated without the test, and no feline allowed for contact 21 days after the “take-in”. Education is key, know the tests you should request, and understand the long-lived life of the feline after the diagnoses. FelV and Aids are also classed as special needs, as attention to detail in the behaviours of our feline is key. It is very unfortunate, that if the colony is CLEAR of these, and FIP, you cannot take in a feline with this dis-ease, as you WILL be spreading the virus to the other healthy felines, if not vaccinated. NOTE: No vaccine is available for the AIDS virus – FIV, only for FelV. The term knowledge is a tad confusing… remember we spoke about FIP – the protein sack – no cure, and once diagnosed, the most humane thing to do is PTS. FIV – Aids FelV – Leukemia Happy reading FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS (FeLV) Feline Leukemia virus infection was at one time the most common fatal disease of cats. Because we can now protect cats with the Feline Leukemia Vaccine, we are seeing fewer cases of the disease. However, it still remains a major cause of death in cats. Once your cat contracts the Feline Leukemia virus, it is very unlikely that it will ever be eliminated from their body, and will inevitably be fatal. "Leukemia" means a cancer of the white blood cells. This was the first disease associated with the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and thus, the source of its name. We often use the term "leukemia" rather loosely to include all of the diseases associated with the virus, even though most are not cancers of the blood. This virus causes many other fatal diseases in addition to leukemia. Another clinical sign can be "Lymphosarcoma" or "Lymphoma", which is a cancer of many different organs, but it begins in lymphoid tissue such as a lymph node. Almost any tissue may then be affected; organs commonly involved include lymph nodes, intestinal tract, kidneys, liver, spinal cord, brain, bone marrow and blood. Clinical signs are related to the organ affected. In younger cats, the lymphoma commonly manifests itself as a mass within the thoracic cavity, called "mediastinal lymphoma", which leads to fluid surrounding the lungs and an inability to breathe. The noncancerous diseases caused by Feline Leukemia can include a variety of somewhat unrelated diseases. Anemia from bone marrow suppression is common. Infection of the bone marrow can also suppress the cats immune system and make them susceptible to many diseases they would ordinarily be able to resist such as respiratory infections. Transmission of the virus is primarily through cat fights. Large quantities of the FeLV virus are shed in the cats saliva, and puncture wounds associated with fighting result in injection of the virus in to other cats. Some virus is also shed through respiratory secretions, but to a lesser extent, so spread through sharing food and water bowls and grooming is possible. Transmission from mother to kittens before birth is also possible. FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (FIV) Feline AIDS is caused by the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. In years past, FeLV was the dominant immunosuppressant virus in cats, but with the earlier advent of the Feline Leukemia Vaccine, many areas are seeing less FeLV, but more FIV. FIV is likened to the human AIDS virus which affects people because of the similarities in the two diseases. Fortunately, most viruses are species specific. This is the case with the human AIDS virus and the feline FIV virus...AIDS only affects humans and FIV only affects cats. Once your cat contracts the Feline AIDS virus, it is very unlikely that it will ever be eliminated from their body, and will inevitably be fatal. This time frame can be from months to several years. Transmission of the virus is primarily through cat fights. As with FeLV, FIV virus is shed in salivary and other bodily secretions and puncture wounds such as bite wounds, introduce the virus in to the body of other cats. Spread through sharing food and water bowls and grooming has not been shown to be a significant route of transmission at this time. As with FeLV, transmission from mother to kittens before birth is also possible. TESTING AND PREVENTION Feline Leukemia and Feine AIDS can be prevented !!! Prevention of the viral infections is through 3 main objectives. First, cats that are indoors are much less likely to come in contact with other cats outdoors, especially ones that might be harboring the FeLV or FIV viruses. Keeping your cats indoors is by all accounts the safest way to go. Second, if your cats cannot be indoors (and even if they can) spaying and neutering will decrease their tendency to roam and will greatly reduce the likelihood of confrontation and "cat fights" which is the typical way the viruses are spread from cat to cat. Lastly, vaccinations are available against Feline Leukemia (no vaccine currently available for FIV) that are extremely effective as well as safe. The Feline Leukemia (FeLV) vaccine is a series of 2 inoculations about 3-4 weeks apart. The vaccination is "boostered" on an annual basis. Our recommendation is that all cats, regardless of age or previous history, be tested before beginning the vaccination series. Vaccinating your cats against FeLV if they have already contracted the virus will not eliminate the infection, and will do nothing to further their immunity. There are, at this time, no commercially available vaccines or any tests that can distinguish between a positive FIV test from exposure to the virus versus a positive FIV test from vaccination if one was done while they were on the market, but there additional tests run at research facilities that can help to differentiate.


FIP

FIP – A deadly, silent Killer… unlike Leukaemia and HIV, there really is not much one can do about this dis-ease, something that lies close to my heart, as the first dis-ease I was exposed to, and learned from… the hard way – for 4 months we stood saying goodbye to babies, older cats… One thing I was told – this virus goes to “ground”, meaning, you have to have a clean bill of health for at least 6 months before you take in any other feline, otherwise, you hand a death-sentence The following information isn’t intended to replace regular visits to your veterinarian. If you think your cat may have feline infectious peritonitis, please see your veterinarian immediately. And remember, please do not give any medication to your pet without talking to your veterinarian first. What Is Feline Infectious Peritonitis Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease that occurs worldwide in wild and domestic cats. It is caused by a type of virus called a coronavirus, which tends to attack the cells of the intestinal wall. In 1970, the coronavirus that causes FIP was isolated and characterized. In 1981, another coronavirus was isolated. Although this virus is nearly identical to the FIP virus, cats who were infected with it developed only very mild diarrhea and recovered easily. What Are the Symptoms of FIP? FIP manifests in a “wet” form and a “dry” form. Signs of both forms include fever that doesn’t respond to antibiotics, anorexia, weight loss and lethargy. In addition, the wet form of FIP is characterized by accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, the chest cavity, or both. Cats with fluid in the chest exhibit labored breathing. Cats with fluid in the abdomen show progressive, nonpainful abdominal distension. In the dry form of FIP, small accumulations of inflammatory cells, or granulomas, form in various organs, and clinical signs depend on which organ is affected. If the kidneys are affected, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting and weight loss are seen; if the liver, jaundice. The eyes and the neurologic system are frequently affected, as well. How Is FIP Diagnosed? Diagnosing FIP is challenging. Despite the claims made by some laboratories and test manufacturers, there is currently no test that can distinguish between the harmless intestinal coronavirus and the deadly FIP coronavirus. A positive test may support the veterinarian’s suspicions, but by itself is inconclusive. It means only that a cat has been exposed to and may be harboring a coronavirus. A negative test usually (but not always) indicates that the cat is unlikely to have FIP. If a cat has what appears to be the wet form of the disease, laboratory analysis of some of the fluid can support a diagnosis of FIP. A 1994 study reported that cats with signs suggestive of FIP, who also had a high coronavirus antibody level, reduced numbers of lymphocytes and high levels of globulins in the bloodstream, had an 88.9 percent probability of having FIP. Diagnosing the dry form of the disease is even more challenging, often requiring biopsy of affected organs. How Is FIP Treated? FIP is fatal in more than 95 percent of cases. In mild cases of the dry form, it may be possible to prolong the survival period, but most cats with the wet form of the disease die within two months of the onset of signs. Fortunately, the disease is very uncommon. In households containing only one or two cats, the FIP mortality rate is around one in 5,000. Is There a Vaccine for FIP? An intranasal vaccine was developed to prevent FIP in cats, but it has been controversial. Some studies show that it protects against disease, while others show that it offers little benefit. The 2000 Report of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and Academy of Feline Medicine Advisory Panel on Feline Vaccines states that “at this time, there is no evidence that the vaccine induces clinically relevant protection, and its use is not recommended.”