Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is a retrovirus from genus Lentivirus, morphologically and genetically similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It causes an AIDS-like disease in cats, but it represents no threat to humans. FIV inserts its genetic code into the genome of the host using reverse transcriptase. Except in domestic cats, this virus has also been reported in several other species of wild cats. Outside of the host virus loses its infectious potential rapidly and is susceptible to all known disinfectants. The virus attacks T lymphocytes which are important for immunological function, and causes slow progressing immunodeficiency, making cats more susceptible to secondary infections.
Sample: 0,5 ml EDTA-blood
Modes of transmission
The virus is commonly transmitted via saliva by bites and transpalcentary in rare cases (mostly during acute stage of infection). FIV positive cats are continuously infective.
Acute infection is the first stage of the disease and it can last for a few weeks. During this phase the virus replicates which leads to febrile episodes, loss of appetite, depression, lymph nodes swelling and neutropenia.
Asymptomatic stage can last for years and it is characterized by a strong antiviral immune response, low virus titer and degrading number of T lymphocytes.
Terminal stage is the last stage of infection. Most symptoms appearing in this stage are a result of immunodeficiency and secondary infections. Clinical manifestations in this stage include lymphadenopathies, chronic gingivitis, chronic rhinitis, eye and kidney inflammation, weight loss and secondary infections.
FIV infection is incurable, therapy is symptomatic and aimed to prevention of secondary infections and strengthening the immune system.
A vaccination is available for FIV. Separating FIV positive from FIV negative cats is also an important way of prevention.
According to some reports FIV positive cats can live as long as uninfected ones, but the infection makes them more susceptible to other diseases in comparison to healthy cats. FIV positive cats should be kept indoors, more attention paid to their diet and have regular veterinary check-ups.
The prognosis is bad in case of combined infection with FeLV/FIP/FPV.
Generally, the prevalence of FIV in companion cat populations worldwide is about 4-12%, and between 1% and 7% in the USA and Canada, while in Japan it reaches 44% due to large population of stray cats.
Klein, D., Leutenegger, C.M., Bahula, C., Gold, P., Hofmann-Lehmann, R., Salmons, B., Lutz, H., and Guenzburg, W.H. (2001). Influence of preassay and sequence variations on viral load determination by a multiplex real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for feline immunodeficiency virus. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (1999) 26, 8–20.
Hayward, J.J., and Rodrigo, A.G. (2010). Molecular epidemiology of feline immunodeficiency virus in the domestic cat (Felis catus). Vet Immunol Immunopathol 134, 68.
Leutenegger, C.M., Klein, D., Hofmann-Lehmann, R., Mislin, C., Hummel, U., Böni, J., Boretti, F., Guenzburg, W.H., and Lutz, H. (1999). Rapid feline immunodeficiency virus provirus quantitation by polymerase chain reaction using the TaqMan fluorogenic real-time detection system. J. Virol. Methods 78, 105–116.