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possible fiv positive cat

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
to give you some background my kitten is a 9 month old female. we have had her since 7 weeks and been updated with her progress since birth. she is fully innoculated and an indoor cat. to the extent of our knowledge she has never had any injury or bite wounds (the friend i got her off would have told me).

however, a few weeks before christmas she had conjunctavitis, the only illness she has had since we got her. as some of you may already know she escaped for five days recently and when she returned she was none the worse except a bit skinny and with a swollen hip joint.

her conjunctavitis came back today so we took her to the vets. she was also sick last night ( i think this was caused by an over indulgence of prawns fed by my dad!) and has sneezed a bit but not in the past few days. the vet thinks she might be a carrier of fiv though she says Maverick doesnt have it herself.

I dont understand this. i thought either you had fiv or you didnt, you couldnt be a carrier and not have it?

my vet wouldnt explain properly and said blood tests were a waste of time as we wouldnt get a true result as most cats have fiv antibodies already. she thinks maverick has had it from birth.

i am going to go to another vet to get blood test as if my cats got it i want to know so i can be extra careful with her (not that i'm not already!).

i just want to know am i in denial or is it possible my cat has fiv? from the info i got from the best friends animal website i dont see how she could have contracted it.

(Mavericks mum is most probably un-vaccinated so might well be a carrier but i read it was rare to pass the virus on from mother to kitten)

advice desperatly needed!
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
by the way this was the info i got from the best friends website: FIV Facts

1. The Feline Immuno-deficiency Virus is a slow virus that affects a cat's immune system over a period of years.

2. FIV is a cat-only disease and cannot be spread to humans or other non-felines.

3. FIV cats most often live long, healthy, and relatively normal lives with no symptoms at all.

4. FIV is not easily passed between cats. It cannot be spread casually - like in litter boxes, water and food bowls, or when snuggling and playing. It is rarely spread from a mother to her kittens.

5. The virus can be spread through blood transfusions, badly infected gums, or serious, penetrating bite wounds. (Bite wounds of this kind are extremely rare, except in free-roaming, unneutered tomcats.)

6. A neutered cat, in a home, is extremely unlikely to infect other cats, if properly introduced.

7. Many vets are not educated about FIV since the virus was only discovered 15 years ago.

8. FIV-positive cats should be kept as healthy as possible. Keep them indoors and free from stress, feed them a high-quality diet, keep and treat any secondary problems as soon as they arise.
post #3 of 16
Did your vet mean FIV or FIP?

They are 2 different diseases and are diagnosed differently.

FIP is very tricky to diagnose.

FIV they will test positive or negative. The tests are quite accurate, not too expensive, and very worthwhile.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
she definitly meant fiv. i'm going to try another vet to get the tests done.
post #5 of 16
Oh no - good luck and let us know what happens!
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
i'm waiting for mavericks course of antibiotics for her conjuncatavitis to clear up before i take her for a fiv test. just a quick question, how reliable is the test? can it differentiate between the anti bodies from her vaccinations and the fiv virus? would i be likely to get a positive result back because she has been vaccinated not because she has it? my vet was no help and now i'm confused! have to wait for monday before my local animal shelter opens, the only other place i can think off to get some sound advice.
post #7 of 16
I have a 17 year old cat that has been diagnosed with fiv for 7-8 years. He is not a biter, and has not passed it on to any of the others. His vet says he is not sure how long he has had it. It has only been in the past year that he has had a sick day in his life. He has had some seizures, and is becoming incontinent, but his vet says a cat that old could have that anyway. I am not saying that it is not serious, but this has been my experience. I have the others tested yearly, and it seems to be a simple test with clear results.
post #8 of 16
Originally Posted by maverick_kitten
i'm waiting for mavericks course of antibiotics for her conjuncatavitis to clear up before i take her for a fiv test. just a quick question, how reliable is the test? can it differentiate between the anti bodies from her vaccinations and the fiv virus? would i be likely to get a positive result back because she has been vaccinated not because she has it? my vet was no help and now i'm confused! have to wait for monday before my local animal shelter opens, the only other place i can think off to get some sound advice.
Has she been vaccinated for FIV?
If she was, then I beleive it is possible for her to test positive for it because she would have antibodies from the vaccine. If she wasn't vaccinated for FIV, then she shouldn't test positive for it, unless she has it.
post #9 of 16
First of all- it is unfair and inaccurate for your vet to say that Maverick could have or be a carrier of FIV just because of conjunctivitis. There are many causes of this including an upper respiratory infection or simple allergies.

Second, an FeLV/FIV combination snap test is not a waste of time. Even if there is a positive on the snap test, blood should be sent to the lab for verification. Not all positives on the snap test are true positives. Although reliable, the test is not fool proof. Whenever we get a positive result at our clinic, we ALWAYS send blood out for verification by the lab. Many times, a faint positive on the snap test will be a negative from the lab. It is possible to get a faint positive if the cat has antibodies. Also, some kittens will show a positive since they still have antibodies from their mother. Especially if the mother was positive. In such a case, you must wait for the mother's antibodies to clear from the cats system and then test to see if the cat is a true carrier. Not all cats will get the disease from their mother. Maverick is old enough that her mother's antibodies should be gone.

Your friends website does have good facts about the FIV virus. However, I don't think it's right for your vet to be trying to diagnose the disease without the accurate tests. Please, please go get a second opinion at a different vet's office. You shouldn't have to be scared into thinking your poor Maverick has an awful disease when conjunctivitis is the only diagnosing factor. You should also just get the vet to draw blood for the snap test...it's easy and is done in house in only 10 min. If the test is negative, you can even get a 2nd test a year down the road just to be sure. And, if it's positive, don't get too scared yet...make sure they send a blood sample to a veterinary laboratory to verify the results of the snap test. Good luck and I'm very sorry you have to go through this.

PS sorry for any typos...i'm exhausted but just had to post when i saw this
post #10 of 16
Many vets won't give the FIV immunization because it makes the cat test positive, yet doesn't provide reliable immunity. There is no reason to immunize an indoor cat against FIV. Be sure that you know your cat's immunization status before you get her tested, because if she was immunized for FIV she will test positive. If she was properly tested before being immunized and now tests positive, then you can assume it is from the immunization. There is no way to tell the difference between antibodies provided by the immunization and naturally acquired ones. If she is positive, just provide her with a low stress and well fed life. React to infections as you have already done. And choose another vet. Becky
post #11 of 16
I hope your kitty isn't FIV positive. I read that it's spread through bite wounds, wasn't Maverick missing from your home for awhile?
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
thanks for all your advice, we're going to be taking her to a new vet our local cat charity reccomends who does all their fiv tests.

we had her immunized for fiv when she was 7 weeks old although she is a house cat just incase she escaped or some how got in contact with another cat, which ironically happened a few weeks ago.

wellington cats- i hope she isnt too! the vet thought this before she escaped and we checked her over throughly for bite wounds when she came back and she seemed ok. as she'd already been immunised when she ran away hopefully she would have been protected.

julya- thank you for all that advice. i think we've just got a bad vet to be honest. we've always been dubious about the advice given to us by her as shes always rushed no matter what time we go in there and is never able to answer our questions. when i looked up fiv on the internet i was really angry that she could say that to us without explaining what it entailed and without any evidence apart from conjunctavitis.

i've got exams at the moment so i'll have to wait until after monday to go get the test.

even if she has it she'll still be the same loveble, naughty cat she's always been and we'll still love her just as much. she'll just be that little more precious.

thanks for all your help and support, i'll keep you all posted.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
just an update-- the vet doesnt think she has fiv!!

she said that without a blood test she cant be certain but her eye problems are caused by tiny growths on her eyeball that can be scraped during her spay surgery.

she says its very, very unlikely she has it and although we can do a snap (is that right?) test says theres little point as the chances are so remote. she also says mav's in perfect health. poor baby had really been going through the wars recently.

also discovered maverick HASNT been immunised against fiv like my old vet told me. i'm going to dig out our copy of her records to see what she has been immunised for as on more than one occassion i was told she has. hmmmmm- at least on the plus side i'll get a clear reading if i decided to test for it. thanks for all your help and advice.
post #14 of 16
Maverick, wow, you've been on a bit of a roller coaster up and down, haven't you! I am sorry for this. I would find another vet and go in for a snap test as opposed to an entire blood panel. And, if Maverick did come in contact with another cat while he was AWOL, FIV wouldn't necessarily show up so fast....the disease can lay dormant for an un-set amount of time and can be triggered at a later date by trauma, stress, or other factors. Just because you test negative now, with a young jr. cat under a year, is not a 100% guarantee of negative. I would let the conjunctivitis clear up and keep your little guy inside if at all possible and then test again within 60 days to be sure. With a vet who is supprtive and efficiently has his tech call your old
vet(s) to verify any and all records. FIV is enigmatic and is different in each kitty, and it's all about immunity system development and supression. Having recurring eye infections does not always mean a compromised immunity system. I want nothing but the best outcome for you and your little guy.
post #15 of 16
Oh I'm so happy to hear that Maverick finally has a clean bill of health . What an unecessary nightmare you had to go through with your baby. I'm so happy to hear that you are happy with your new vet.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
thanks guys,

my vet said to wait until shes better before we do any blood tests as we dont want to stress her out any more than we need too.

shes said its very unlikely she has it so thats good enough for me. poor little thing, sometimes its a good thing that our cats cant speak human or else she would have been all worried for nothing! lol
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