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FIV positive kitty with skin infection

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hoping someone here might have some insight or experience.

We have a young (2-3 yo) female cat we "rescued" a year and a half ago. We were told when we adopted her that she had tested FIV positive and because she was a stray there was no way to know if she actually had FIV or if she had been vaccinated at some point. She had been healthy for the first year except for a case of ringworm that cleared up with normal treatment. Then, we noticed she had lost some of her teeth and her gums were a bit inflamed. Vet said keep an eye on it, but wan't concerned. Then we noticed she was finding lots of excuses to pee outside her litterbox. She has a long coat and got very matted. We brushed them all out. Then she developed bald patches, and then those spots started getting sore and seemed to spread. We took her to the vet 2 weeks ago and the vet looked at a sample of the skin under a microscope and said it was almost all white blood cells. We put the cat on antibiotics for 2 weeks but held off on steroids since the vet said that wouldn't be good for her if this was FIV going into full blown FelineAIDS. So after two weeks, she still has the infection (some areas look better, others look the same and it may have spread a bit too). Vet gave us more antibiotics and went ahead and did a mild steroid shot.
So I have come to you all for some advice.
1. Does this sound like Feline AIDS? The vets seem confused about all the white blood cells, since she should be having trouble producing them if she really has F AIDS, right?
2. Do you think it is more likely an autoimmune disorder of some sort?
3. From what I have read, the treatment for autoimmune conditions is steroids...but if she has BOTH, and autoimmune disorder and FIV, is treating the skin with steroids just going to worsen her FIV prognosis?
Our vet seems to be clutching at straws and is suggesting sending biopsies off to the university and other tests and saying we should be optomistic that maybe she really isn't suffering from Feline AIDS...but the tests all cost $$$$ and we just don't have money to be throwing blindly at the problem. We want to keep the cat as comfortable and happy as we can for as long as we can, but we can't afford to do much more than that.
Thoughts? Thanks in advance for any advice!
post #2 of 5
Hello and welcome. I'm sorry that your kitty is not feeling well.

I don't have experience w/ FIV/aids...but a couple things come to mind.

Yes, steroids do suppress the immune system. If you and the vet feel that is the best treatment (despite the FIV), then I think I would go with an oral medicine like Prednisone rather than shots. With the pills, the effect is shorter (12-36hrs I think) so you can easily back off on the dosage if need be. The injections last at least 2 weeks, some are longer acting, like 4-6 weeks I believe. So if there are bad effects there's no going back. I hope that makes sense.

The other thing might be to consider getting a second opinion. Another exam would cost $$ but maybe less in the long run, if another vet can put his/her finger on the exact problem.
post #3 of 5
I am not sure of a solution to this either. I haven't had any experice with this. I too think a scond opinion is valuable and may be cheaper overall. I know some people who have had success with holistic vets although I haven't gone that route. Someone somewhere should be able to help this little one. Sorry to not have been more help - good luck and please keep us updated.
post #4 of 5
I would definitely recommend a second opinion especially since your vet has pretty much admitted to not knowing what is going on. Your best bet would be a board certified dermatologist or feline practitioner. Your vet's office should have a list of specialists that they routinely refer clients to.
post #5 of 5
If you do go for a 2nd opinion, take all your records from your current vet so your sure about what has been done and you don't pay for the same tests twice. Or at least they can use them as a comparison if they do retake tests.
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