Protecting your cat against Feline AIDS

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FAQ

Protecting your cat against Feline AIDS.

Q. What is FIV and Feline AIDS?

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) causes serious illness in cats. FIV in cats is very similar to HIV in humans. It damages the cat’s immune system, making them very vulnerable to secondary infections (AIDs). There is no direct treatment for the virus and it is an incurable disease. With supportive care, some cats can cope with the virus for several years, however the disease is usually fatal.

Q. Is my cat at risk?

FIV is most commonly spread by bites and scratches. Any cat that goes outdoors and may come into contact with other cats is at risk. This includes stray cats and your neighbour’s cats. Cats are very territorial and most cats will, at some point in their lives, get a bite or scratch from another cat.

FIV is also spread by mating – another good reason to have your cat desexed!

Q. How can I protect my cat?

Fortunately, there is a vaccine available to protect your cat against FIV. The vaccine is very effective. This is NOT part of the standard core vaccine (F3) that is recommended for all cats to protect against cat flu and parvovirus. It is an optional extra recommended for at-risk cats. We recommend that all cats with access to outdoors should be vaccinated against FIV.

If your cat is not vaccinated, we strongly recommend keeping him or her indoors at all times to prevent contact with other cats.

Vaccine protocols

FIV protection is given with an initial course of 3 vaccines, followed by an annual booster every 12 months. It can be given at the same time as the cat flu (F3) vaccine. Depending on your cat’s age, a blood test may be required before the vaccine course. This is to ensure that your cat is not already infected before starting vaccinations.

Blood test

Initial course

Booster

Kitten

Not required

3 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart

Annually

Healthy adult

Antibody test

3 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart

Annually

After an injury

Wait 6 weeks before antibody test

3 vaccines, 2-4 weeks apart

Annually

If overdue by

>3 months

PCR test

Restart the course with

3 vaccines

Annually

If you would like further information about FIV

or would like to arrange vaccinations to protect your cat,

please ask one of our vets or nurses.