Q: My cat has just been diagnosed with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). It came as a huge shock - she only went to the vets to have a dental clean. What can I do for her?
A: Feline Aids works in the same way as human Aids, weakening the immune system and exposing the patient to an increased risk of infection. Your cat may have shown signs of gingivitis during the dental procedure, which may have been why your vet tested her for common viruses. Many cats live with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) for years, with studies suggesting that most survive for at least seven years after infection. Unfortunately there is no specific treatment to counter this virus, but you can help your beloved cat by having her checked regularly by your vet, especially if she gets an injury. A good-quality diet or multivitamin supplement will bolster her immune system and you may consider keeping her indoors, both for her sake and the sake of other un-infected cats in the neighbourhood.
Scott Miller, vet