Study shows FIV-positive is not a death sentence to cats
I was delighted to run across an article published online by The Veterinarian Magazine, as it outlines findings that FIV-positive status alone did not have a negative impact on a cat’s survival. As a former guardian of an FIV-positive cat, this study made my day.
As noted by the American Association of Feline Practitioners, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is a disease that causes suppression of the immune system that may limit a cat's ability to protect itself against secondary infections caused by common bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi. FIV infection occurs worldwide, with prevalence varying by location. FIV is contagious and spreads from cat to cat, typically through biting and fighting, making intact, aggressive male cats that spend time outdoors more susceptible to the disease.
Once thought to shorten the lifespan of an infected cat, a Sydney University study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine found that FIV-positive status alone did not have a negative impact on the lifespan of the cat.
What made this study unique is that it used FIV-negative controls which proved a different outcome.
The article is entitled “Challenges in prognostication of FIV-positive patients.” I highly recommend reading this article, as it points out that both FIV-positive and negative cats do present a range of the same clinical signs. Some FIV-positive cats are asymptomatic and thus can lead normal lives. This contradicts the widely held belief that all FIV-positive cats are doomed to a diminished quality of life.
Keep this study in mind when visiting shelters. Don’t overlook the cats with FIV-positive status. I can personally attest that they make wonderful, loving pets, too. Talk to your veterinarian if in doubt.
In loving memory of Kitty,
Susan, Taurus and Gemini