The virus acts in the same way as the human form of HIV, destroying the immune system and leaving a cat susceptible to infections, disease and cancers. Once a cat has been infected, FIV can then progress to feline acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, also known as Feline AIDS.
The virus is spread from cat to cat through saliva, often via a cat bite wound. A mother cat can also pass the virus to her kittens across the placenta or through her milk. FIV cannot be transferred to humans.
Close to 30% of cats in Australia are thought to be FIV positive and the scary thing is, any cat that ventures outside and has contact with an infected cat is at risk.
Can we prevent the disease?
Cats that are kept inside 100% of the time are generally safe, that is unless they accidentally escape. This is not uncommon so why put your cat at risk? Thankfully there is a vaccine available to help prevent FIV infection. All cats require an initial course of three vaccinations and then yearly boosters to maintain protection.
To start your cat on the path to prevention of this nasty disease we recommend that you speak to your local vet. Just an annual vaccination is all it takes to becoming part of the fight against feline AIDS!