The veterinary clinic has diagnosed your cat as having the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). This virus damages the immune system so your cat recovers much slower from an illness or disease. With your help, your feline companion can live many years comfortably with this virus. Here is how you can assist your cat live well for the rest of their life.
Secondary Illnesses are the Greatest Problem
The FIV doesn't create any particular symptoms itself. The danger with this virus is that it suppresses the immune system so much that your cat can become seriously ill from a simple cold. Or it may develop a bad infection from a small scratch from another cat. You'll need to be on guard for changes in your cat that indicate an illness or infection has set in. Some of the signs to watch for include
- An unkempt coat of fur that looks dull and rough.
- Weight loss and a decreased appetite.
- Sores on gums, lips, and cheeks
- tooth decay and abscesses.
- Vomiting soon after eating and frequent diarrhea.
- Vocalizing when urinating or having a bowel movement.
In the later stages of FIV, the neurological system is effected and you may see your cat have seizures.
Helping Your Cat Avoid Secondary Illnesses
There is no cure for FIV, but if you can help your cat avoid illness and injury, they will live well for many years. Here are some ways you can be your feline friend's caretaker.
- Keep your cat inside of the house so they won't come into contact with other animals outside that may spread an illness.
- Keep the claws trimmed on other cats in the household to prevent scratches.
- Spay or neuter your cat so their reproductive system doesn't burden their immune system.
- Work with your vet to create a high-protein, low waste diet that's easier on the cat's digestive system.
- Never give your cat raw food to prevent a food-born bacterial infection.
- Check your cat's mouth daily for signs of sores or other dental problems.
- Help your cat groom by brushing them every day to keep their coat healthy.
- Remove all mats in their fur before they become tight on their skin.
- Examine your cat's skin when helping them groom for scratches, rashes or other skin irritation.
- Feel around your cat's joints for signs of painful and swollen lymph nodes.
- Take your cat to the animal hospital for an exam at the first sign of coughing or sneezing.
For more information, talk to a professional like Phoenixville Animal Hospital - R B Wolstenholme DVM.