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FIV or FeLV?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
First off I am asking this for someone else. She wishes to remain anonymous so I'll just call her Jane.

First off, she has several cats and all of them are strays. She's tried to do the best she can with the resources she has. She knows the situation is out of control and has tried to get help without success. She's disabled and cannot afford to spay/neuter or provide a lot of vet care (though she tries).

There are at least 20 cats roaming her property. She feeds them what she can. However many are sick and dying. She took one in and it tested positive for FeLV. However the symptoms look more like FIV to me.

With FeLV the cats will get skinny before death right?

However these cats are at a healthy weight. She said one that was the worst had blood from it's nose and lost coordination in it's back legs. That one had to be put down.

The vet is saying it's airborne which I've looked both of these diseases up and nothing I find says that. So we are getting conflicting information. The FIV looks like some can survive years with it as long as nothing compromises their immune system. She has a few in the house that have not shown any symptoms and is keeping them away from the other cats.


What else can she do? (keeping in mind she has a limited income).

She's tried rescues around here and they say they would just euthanize. She does not want to do that when so many are not showing signs and have a good quality of life.
post #2 of 11
There is some info on symptons and treatment of both here

FIV: http://www.thecatsite.com/Health/89/FIV-in-Cats.html
FeLV: http://www.thecatsite.com/Health/87/...mia-Virus.html

as it says, there is little that can be done to help in the case of FeLV, especially if expensive vet treatments are not an option, there is a bit of info on helping with FIV on the first link.
post #3 of 11
If she can't get any help from anywhere.
Is there any way she could build an enclosure and seperate the males from females?
Or keep the males in one room and the females in another until she can get any help?
Or even just get the females and keep them in one room together?
post #4 of 11
I forgot to add,IF one of the cats tested positive for FelV then the chances are they have all been exposed to it.Stray and ferals seem to have more of immunity to the virus.


Here is a very informative and uptodate link on FelV

http://www.gla.ac.uk/vet/clinical/di...lv.htm#mixinfd

and here is a very good link on FiV

http://www.gla.ac.uk/companion/ofiv.htm

Hope this helps
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by furryferals View Post
If she can't get any help from anywhere.
Is there any way she could build an enclosure and seperate the males from females?
Or keep the males in one room and the females in another until she can get any help?
Or even just get the females and keep them in one room together?
They are all pretty much feral. And their outside except for a few. So no. She couldn't catch them and there's no room to do that anyway.
post #6 of 11
I'm sorry to say this but if your friend has no way of keeping the cats and has
very limited means to treat them for illness,and obviously many are sick and dying
then the only humane thing she could do is to get somebody to take the cats for testing and neuter,and then release back the ones who are fit.

I'm sorry,but thats just my opinion.There are very very few animal welfare orgs
that would look after these cats IF they are infected,so I think if your friend can't offer them any hope then it's better to get a org involved.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by furryferals View Post
I'm sorry to say this but if your friend has no way of keeping the cats and has
very limited means to treat them for illness,and obviously many are sick and dying
then the only humane thing she could do is to get somebody to take the cats for testing and neuter,and then release back the ones who are fit.

I'm sorry,but thats just my opinion.There are very very few animal welfare orgs
that would look after these cats IF they are infected,so I think if your friend can't offer them any hope then it's better to get a org involved.
That's what she is trying to do. She simply cannot find an org that is willing.
post #8 of 11
I had a very long talk with the president of a no kill shelter who had a weakness for feral cats about euthanizing cats with FIV/FeLV. If you don't spay/neuter any of these cats, they will continue to breed and breeding is one of the easiest ways to spread the disease. If these cats live for years, it means that there are just that more cats to infect, and more will die a younger death. Many folks that do TNR don't bother to test cats - they just speuter and return, no questions asked. Speutering in and of itself can curb the spread of the disease. However, when faced with this issue herself, she looks to the welfare of the "cat nation" over the individual cat.

As harsh as this sounds, if your friend cannot at least get them fixed, then she shouldn't feed them. She is only encouraging sick cats to breed which is a death sentence to them. She needs to look for a group that will TNR, and be prepared that if some of them have FeLV, that they could be euthanized. She may lose a few to save a lot.
post #9 of 11


I found this link for you that lists all the rescues in Kentucky.
I don't know which of them might be able to help your friend but try them all,
and get her to ask if they have any volunteers who they know might be able to help.
You never know....They might just know someone


sorry here it is

http://www.h4ha.org/shelters/USA/Kentucky/1-18-0.html
post #10 of 11
Long before I found this site, I found Alley Cat Allies and emailed them in hopes of finding help to get a growing out of control feral population spayed/neutered. Someone very nice and helpful got back to me through email with some possible options is I couldn't find help locally.

One thing I had going in my favor was that besides feeding, I was constantly working with the cats where I could approach, pet and pick up so I did not have to worry about trapping.

I agree with what has already been pointed out that if she is unable to find someone, (preferable a group), to help then she is really not doing any of the cats any favors by continuing to feed which allows them to keep up the cycle of breeding and passing disease on to more cats.

Has she considered presenting her problem to friends and business owners to perhaps offer donations for spay/neuter?
Here is a link for Alley Cat Allies that will take her to many suggestions on how to get help.
http://www.alleycat.org/resources_care.html

I hope she can get some help to deal with her crew. I know what it is like to feel so overwhelmed and not know which way to turn.
post #11 of 11
A lot of people have given good advice so far. I agree that the symptoms do sound like what I have seen with FIV but honestly, it's relatively rare for FIV cats to develop active illness. Any time a cat actually gets sick, I'm more likely to suspect FeLV off the bat. If the cat is female and/or relatively young (e.g. under 5 years old), then makes FIV even less likely since it's mostly a virus that affects fully mature males and it takes years for symptoms to develop if it ever happens.

A lot of people have made similar points but here's my take anyway: Feeding without spaying and neutering often results in situations just like this one. It seems counterintuitive because common sense says that fed animals are healthy animals, but what actually happens is that natural selection is tossed on its head. Unhealthy animals that would otherwise die (and by dying, no longer breed which is how FeLV and FIV are spread) live and continue to breed and spread the viruses. Many TNR programs have found that colonies that have been fed but not sterilized for a long time have the highest instances of FeLV.

I would strongly advise against testing any more cats simply because of finances. If a feral is visibly very ill, then it's perfectly reasonable to make the decision to euthanize the animal without diagnostic tests if there is no money to provide treatment no matter what the results. A FeLV/FIV test costs pretty much exactly the same as a spay/neuter surgery and the surgery will go a long way to prevent a positive cat from spreading the virus further or prevent a negative cat from ever getting the virus, so it's a major thing there - not to mention the kittens whose suffering will be prevented. Testing is only a diagnostic and by itself it can't do anything so it's not a good use of funds when resources are limited.

I went to Alley Cat Allies' website and found this: http://http://www.alleycat.org/orgs.html#ky. I don't know how these are geographically but if you contact them they can probably point you toward resources closer to your area. Getting these cats spayed and neutered has to become the #1 priority and they can help you with the resources to get this done.
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