Posted on: 29 December 2015Share
The feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) damages your cat's immune system, so it's difficult for them to recover from an illness or injury. Your cat will still thrive for many years with your help. Here is how this disease impacts your cat and what you can do to help them live a comfortable life.
The Health Problems are Secondary
The virus itself doesn't produce any symptoms, but you'll see changes in your cat because of the damage to the immune system. Watch out for any of the following signs of an immune system problem and contact your cat clinic for recommendations on how to address these issues.
- A dull coat that looks rough and unkempt. Mats often form against the skin and can cause irritation to the skin if allowed to grow and become tight and pull on the skin.
- Decreased appetite and weight loss as your cat loses interest in food.
- Gums, lips and cheeks that develop open sores and abscesses.
- Frequent diarrhea and vomiting.
- Urinary tract and bladder infections that make urinating painful.
- As the FIV progresses, your cat may have seizures due to the damage to the neurological system.
Making Life Comfortable for Your Cat
While FIV is not curable, your cat will live for many years if you can prevent them from being injured or developing an infection. Here are some ways to protect your cat and help them to be more comfortable.
- Keep your cat indoors and don't let them have contact with any other cats from which they could develop an illness.
- Have your cat spayed or neutered to reduce the burden of the reproductive system on their immune system.
- Give your cat a high-protein diet that contains few grains or other fillers which make the digestive system work harder and create more waste.
- Don't give your cat raw food to reduce the risk of a bacterial infection.
- Do a daily check of your cat's lips, gums, cheeks and teeth. Look for sores, inflammation or foul mouth order, which can mean an infection is present.
- Brush and comb your cat every day to help keep their coat in good shape and free of mats.
- Check your cat's skin during the grooming sessions for signs of a rash or other skin irritation.
- Gently feel around your cat's joints for swollen and painful lymph nodes.
Take Your Cat in for Regular Checkups
The virus can damage organs in your cat without showing symptoms until the damage is severe. Your veterinarian will do a physical exam and blood work to determine if there are unseen health problems in your cat. Thyroid tumors and kidney disease are often seen in cats with FIV. Detecting these early lets you start treatment and prevent the FIV from causing more damage to those systems. For more information, contact centers like Metropolitan Cat Hospital Limited.