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Find out the facts about this deadly disease

What is feline AIDS?

[Cat Image] Feline AIDS is caused by infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). FIV causes a potentially fatal viral disease that interferes with the immune system of a cat. The virus lives in the blood of the infected cat and is carried in its system throughout its life. Healthy cats contract the infection through being bitten by an FIV positive cat. Cats infected with FIV may remain healthy for a number of years. While some infected cats show no sign of disease, others may display initial symptoms such as:

As the disease progresses, symptoms may occur such as:

Eventually the immune system becomes too weak to fight off other infections or diseases. As a result, the cat may die from one of these subsequent infections.

How is the infection contracted?

FIV is spread from cat to cat primarily through bite wounds, the virus being shed in high levels through saliva. Outdoor cats are at a higher risk for contracting the disease. The spread of FIV through watering bowls or grooming is unlikely. An actual bite wound is an integral part of the disease transmission. Although rare, it is possible for a mother to pass the infection on to her unborn foetus.

How prevalent is FIV in Australia?

It is reported that between 14% and 29% of cats in Australia test positive to the disease. Outdoor cats are at the highest risk of disease.

[FIV map]

* Even though this feline virus is related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), no human has ever been reported to be infected with FIV.

What can I do to prevent feline AIDS?

There is no treatment or cure for an FIV infected cat. However a vaccine is available that can aid in the prevention of infection with FIV. Talk with your veterinarian about the best vaccination program for your cat.

Along with vaccination, other health management measures include:

Limiting exposure of indoor cats to outdoor cats
Using caution when introducing a new cat to a multi-cat household
Having a new cat tested prior to joining the household
Isolating an aggressive cat from other cats


FIV vaccination guideline

Unvaccinated cats: Those cats presented at 8 weeks of age or older require 3 doses at an intervaccination interval of 2-4 weeks.

Vaccinated cats: Annual vaccination is recommended.


Please talk to one of the veterinarians at the Eureka Veterinary Clinic who will prescribe the most appropriate vaccination and testing regime for your pet.

To learn more about FIV and feline AIDS visit  www.stopfiv.com.au

Do the online FIV risk-assessment
See FIV infection rates in your state
Read other people’s stories about their experiences with FIV
Keep up to date on FIV news

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