Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm
BOOK ONLINE NOW!

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Cat fights

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cats typically have a hate-hate relationship with any strange cat in their presence, yard, or environment.

When new cats meet, they fluff up, spit, hiss – more like scream! – and the fur soon goes flying. While the brawl may only last a few seconds, that’s enough time for a few diseases to jump bodies.

Feline leukemia (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus or cat AIDS (FIV), infectious peritonitis (FIP), or nasty bacterial infections are transmitted from cat to cat in saliva.

Outside cats, particularly unneutered males, love to fight. Most times they will end up with a nasty abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus under the skin. It makes a cat very ill because of the bacteria and toxins it releases into the bloodstream. He is feverish, goes off his food, hides and sleeps a lot. Treatment for abscesses involves a general anaesthesia, clipping and cleaning the skin, lancing the abscess and flushing all the pus out, placing a drain to allow any new pus to empty, antibiotics and pain relief. Some cats are so sick they need hospitalisation and intravenous fluids for a night or two.

How do we avoid all this??

  • Desex your cat if he is still entire.
  • Keep him indoors, particularly in the evenings and at night when the brawling usually happens.
  • Keep other cats off your property. A dog on patrol will soon despatch an intruder. Otherwise keep an eye out for a few evenings and frighten strays off with a loud noise.
  • Catch the infection as soon as possible. If your cat has been in a fight bring him immediately for an antibiotic shot to discourage the abscess from forming.
  • Vaccinate your cat against FIV, Feline AIDS. There are three shots in the initial course. A booster at the annual checkup and vaccine review prevents the virus gaining a toe hold.  

Feline FIV and AIDS

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Australia has one of the highest prevalences of FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) in the world BUT testing positive for FIV is not the same as having the disease feline AIDS.

Feline AIDS describes the terminal stages of disease which may not occur for many years – or at all! A positive FIV test means that your cat has been infected by the virus.

 Are my family at risk?No. Although FIV belongs to the same family of viruses as HIV in people, it only infects cats. There is no risk of cross infection of either virus between species.

 Are other cats in the household likely to be infected?

 The virus is shed in the saliva of infected cats and spread by biting. Cats with a history of cat bite abscesses are more likely to test positive for FIV. Spread between cats in a household is unlikely unless they fight. Normal social interactions such as grooming rarely transmit FIV. The best way to minimise the chances of FIV infection is to confine uninfected cats indoors away from aggressive cats.  How is FIV diagnosed?

FIV is diagnosed with a blood test at the surgery which detects an immune response (antibodies) to the virus. If this test is positive your cat is infected. Kittens with immunity passed on from their mother may test positive until 4 months of age. If a young kitten tests positive we retest them at six months of age. Will my cat recover?

Once a cat is infected with the virus it remains infected for the rest of its life but not all infected cats  become ill.  What diseases does FIV cause?

Like HIV, FIV suppresses the body’s defences so that the cat is vulnerable to diseases it would normally  defeat. The cat is vulnerable to chronic or recurrent infections that fail to respond to regular treatment. These include:
  1. Inflammation of the mouth and tongue leading to appetite loss, drooling and mouth pain
  2. Weight loss
  3. Poor appetite
  4. Fever
  5. Signs of brain dysfunction such as aggression, unequal pupils, convulsions and behavioural changes
  6. Swollen lymph glands
  7. Unusual infections like toxoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, chronic flu, pneumonia, skin disease
  8. Tumours especially those of the lymph system
The non specific signs of weight loss, poor appetite and fever occur in many diseases of cats and are usually unrelated to FIV. Cats with FIV are more likely to suffer from these signs and diseases more often and  be less able to throw them off even with treatment. FIV positive cats have a shorter life expectancy on average than FIV negative cats. Is there any treatment?

Secondary infections with bacteria or fungi are treated with antibiotics and anti-fungals but no specific treatment for the virus is available. Trials with anti-HIV drugs such as AZT have reduced mouth inflammation in affected cats but the cost and availability of AZT makes its use in general practice difficult at present. Anti-inflammatory treatment reduces mouth inflammation and peps up the appetite in many cats. Should I have my cat euthanased?

Certainly not on the basis of a positive FIV test!  Like humans with HIV, cats with FIV appear healthy and happy for a long time before getting sick. On the other hand if your cat has succumbed to multiple infections, is no longer responsive to treatment or is suffering from a chronically painful mouth then euthanasia is the kindest solution. How can I help my cat?

 Confinement indoors of an FIV positive cat  reduces the risk of infection with other agents. It also reduces the risk of transmission of the virus to other cats. A good quality, highly palatable diet as well as worming every 3 months and at least annual health checks will enhance the disease free period. Infections especially abscesses require prompt and aggressive treatment. How do we prevent FIV infection?  Desexing and confinement indoors, especially at night, reduces fighting and therefore the risk of infection. We recommend vaccination with FIV vaccine for all cats with access to the outdoors. Cats older than 6 months of age are tested for FIV before the first vaccination. A series of three primary vaccinations is given 2-4 weeks apart and then a booster is given annually.

 

 


Search Blog

Recent Posts


Tags

blood test off food urinating on curtains or carpet Canberra Cat Vet New Year's Eve mouth breathing litter box restless change cta fight training breeder skin cancer allergy anaemia cough rub cat behaviour polish overweight Canberra roundworm outdoor cat teeth enteritis rash spey water award mental health of cats sucking wool fabric snake bite cat containment signs of pain sore eyes jumping blind marking physical activity urine old ACT return home hypertension snuffles depomedrol urination kibble stare into space scratching cat friendly competition cranky toxic food puzzles runny eyes straining pet meat touch blood in urine drinking more insulin paralysis antibiotics dental diet bladder ulcer advantage cystitis panleukopenia hunting indoor cats liver head castration stress pheromone furball tick ulcerated nose bump skin diuretics holes in teeth enclosure best clinic fat wet food ribbon cortisone prednisolone asthma wet litter diarrhoea fight sense of smell stiff kidneys blocked cat fever crytococcosus client night obese high blood pressure eye ulcer old cat microchip sick cat open night spray urinating thirsty dementia herpesvirus poisoning cognitive dysfunction plants dental check weight foreign body yowling worming strange behaviour fleas dry food fear kidney on heat heart disease aggressive sudden blindness skinny cat flu chlamydia feliway behaviour change groom poison lily in season discount thirst new cat photo competition sick arthritis twitching bed aspirin love cat enclosure changed hearing best veterinarian kitten bite weight loss enemies gifts pet cat worms cat fight appointment heaing cage runny nose visit kidney disease hungry flea prevention pred snot grass hyperactive mince rolls senses sneeze urine spraying flu paralysed ulcers fireworks comfortis dental treatment hard faeces best cat clinic activity meows a lot Hill's Metabolic cat vet goodbye abscess dehydration dymadon hairball kitten play feline AIDS breathing difficult thyroid heavy breathing FORLS blindness inflammatory bowel disease cryptococcosis scale rough play lymphoma introduce holidays lilies joints snakes introductions African wild cat bladder stones pain relief attack snakebite body language nose scabs hunters information night lilly vision train slow cat AIDS unsociable desexing panleukopaenia RSPCA whiskers senior brown snake desex poisons moving vaccination paralysis tick gasping lick intestine socialisation diabetes blue constipation sun FIV headache odour examination feline herpesvirus birthday blood vomiting lump introducing euthanasia fits thiamine deficiency annual check exercise hole catoberfest prey pill massage hunched over toxins tapeworm checkup house call face rub introduction aerokat carrier open day dilated pupils kitten deaths worms home paracetamol weight control tumour christmas echocardiography pica petting cat hunter best vet snuffle permethrin painful salivation aggression collapse when to go to vet vocal pancreatitis grooming renal disease tartar poisonous free behaviour computer cancer vet visit panamax scratching post hyperthyroidism kittens litter rigid head eye infection plaque urinating outside litter virus blood pressure new year health check unwell bad breath sensitive furballs calicivirus pet insurance eyes spraying obesity wobbles pain killer holes appetite feline enteritis corneal ulcer flea treatment anxiety adipokines tablet lame tooth cat history fluid pills blockage cat enclosures noisy breathing decision to euthanase allergy, opening hours xylitol poisonous plants sore biopsy conflict learning mycoplasma check-up sore ears new kitten panadol radioactive iodine panadeine drinking a lot vaccine mass snake IBD not eating pain revolution itchy eye hypertrophic cardiomyopathy scratch antiviral sensitive stomach seizures wool vomit nails hospital holiday tradesmen home visit hiding abscess,cat fight string

Archive

A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

Get Directions