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View Full Version : Hope exists for cats with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus)


catguy262
February 3rd 09, 03:24 AM
My wife and I have been caring for two FIV+ cats for the past three
years now, and I'd like to share some information that we hope will
help others.

Cats with FIV can enjoy a very high quality of life, and for a very
long time, if they receive good care. Unfortunately, many vet clinics
(our former vet clinic included) tell pet owners to
euthanize their cats the moment they test FIV+, even when the animals
have no symptoms yet.

I strongly urge any pet owner faced with this difficult news to get
the facts before making any rash decisions. Best Friends Animal
Society has an incredible article on their site which counters many
common myths about this disease, and "Feline AIDS: A Pet Owner's
Guide" by
Thomas Hapka is a great book that talks about this issue in detail and
offers additional information, including natural treatment options.

In short, FIV doesn't have to be fatal in every case. Many cats with
this disease can enjoy long, healthy lives, so please don't be
pressured into euthanizing your cherished animal companion because of
an FIV+ test result.

Here are the links to the sites I was talking about.

Best Friends - http://bestfriends.org/

"Feline AIDS: A Pet Owner's Guide" - http://felineaids.org/

February 3rd 09, 03:50 PM
On Feb 2, 10:24*pm, catguy262 > wrote:
> My wife and I have been caring for two FIV+ cats for the past three
> years now, and I'd like to share some information that we hope will
> help others.
>
> Cats with FIV can enjoy a very high quality of life, and for a very
> long time, if they receive good care. Unfortunately, many vet clinics
> (our former vet clinic included) tell pet owners to
> euthanize their cats the moment they test FIV+, even when the animals
> have no symptoms yet.
>
> I strongly urge any pet owner faced with this difficult news to get
> the facts before making any rash decisions. Best Friends Animal
> Society has an incredible article on their site which counters many
> common myths about this disease, and "Feline AIDS: A Pet Owner's
> Guide" by
> Thomas Hapka is a great book that talks about this issue in detail and
> offers additional information, including natural treatment options.
>
> In short, FIV doesn't have to be fatal in every case. Many cats with
> this disease can enjoy long, healthy lives, so please don't be
> pressured into euthanizing your cherished animal companion because of
> an FIV+ test result.
>
> Here are the links to the sites I was talking about.
>
> Best Friends - *http://bestfriends.org/
>
> "Feline AIDS: A Pet Owner's Guide" - *http://felineaids.org/

Well... the information is interesting, even if a shill and sales-ad.

And keeping cats with FIV is a tremendous responsibility - they *MUST*
be kept away from unexposed cats, forever and without exception.
Imagine how one might feel if their infected cat 'got out' and wound
up infecting other cats?

Further, every accepted source states that FIV-infected cats *may*
live full lives, but are extremely vulnerable to opportunistic
infections that uninfected cats might not even notice. Further, these
cats can be reservoirs for other sorts of infections that can incubate
enough to affect other animals. They also require very regular vet
visits for proper management.

So, it is all in accordance to the level of responsibility to others
AND the cat one is willing to take on when keeping such a pet.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA

February 5th 09, 07:07 PM
> Well... the information is interesting, even if a shill and sales-ad.
>
> And keeping cats withFIVis a tremendous responsibility - they *MUST*
> be kept away from unexposed cats, forever and without exception.
> Imagine how one might feel if their infected cat 'got out' and wound
> up infecting other cats?
>
> Further, every accepted source states thatFIV-infected cats *may*
> live full lives, but are extremely vulnerable to opportunistic
> infections that uninfected cats might not even notice. Further, these
> cats can be reservoirs for other sorts of infections that can incubate
> enough to affect other animals. They also require very regular vet
> visits for proper management.
>
> So, it is all in accordance to the level of responsibility to others
> AND the cat one is willing to take on when keeping such a pet.
>
> Peter Wieck
> Melrose Park, PA

Well, as a volunteer at an FIV rescue, and having brought more than
five of these cats into my home over the years, I can honestly say
that having an FIV+ cat does not have to be a monumental burden. With
proper diet and good care, these cats, more often than not, go on to
live long, healthy lives.

There are some fundamental misconceptions about how FIV disease is
spread. The disease is NOT casually transmitted. FIV+ and FIV- cats
can exist in the same space, sleep, eat, and play together, all
without sharing the disease. FIV is primarily transmitted through
deep, penetrating bite wounds like those shared between males in
street fights. Unless your FIV+ cat has a history of violent biting,
the risk of him/her infecting anyone is very remote, and many pet
owners successfully maintained mixed households comprised of FIV+ and
FIV- cats without issues. I do as well.

Regarding the long-term outlook for cats with FIV, there are important
variables to consider. If you follow a strictly conventional
veterinary model, which include vaccines, an ordinary diet comprised
of grocery store pet food or veterinary staples like Science Diet, and
that's all you do, then yes, there is a high probability that serious
problems will emerge down the road.

However, if you follow a holistic model, which includes quality pet
food (and in some cases raw foods as well), nutritional supplements,
and other preventative strategies, that changes the outlook
drastically. Such cats often reach old age without complications, and
it's an outright fallacy that they require constant veterinary
visits.

As for the links posted by the person who started this thread, I can
attest to both. Best Friends is a wonderful rescue organization, and
they're doing remarkable work to help homeless animals, and the
article outlines and dispels many of the myths about adopting cats
with FIV.

Regarding Mr. Hapka, I can attest for him as well. "Feline AIDS: A Pet
Owner's Guide" is a great resource for anyone adopting or caring for
an FIV+ cat, and he's given talks at a number of rescues I've
volunteered for. Even our veterinarians have endorsed his book.

I do agree that taking a pet, ANY pet, is a responsibility that must
be taken seriously, but no more or less so in the case of a cat with
FIV.

February 6th 09, 02:04 AM
Please note the interpolations:

On Feb 5, 2:07*pm, wrote:


> Well, as a volunteer at an FIV rescue, and having brought more than
> five of these cats into my home over the years, I can honestly say
> that having an FIV+ cat does not have to be a monumental burden. With
> proper diet and good care, these cats, more often than not, go on to
> live long, healthy lives.

Monumental, no. Tremendous, yes. There is a considerable difference
between the two words. Just as taking on a handicapped cat is a
tremendous burden as compared to a normal cat. One makes choices -
just do so knowingly.

> There are some fundamental misconceptions about how FIV disease is
> spread. The disease is NOT casually transmitted. FIV+ and FIV- cats
> can exist in the same space, sleep, eat, and play together, all
> without sharing the disease. FIV is primarily transmitted through
> deep, penetrating bite wounds like those shared between males in
> street fights. Unless your FIV+ cat has a history of violent biting,
> the risk of him/her infecting anyone is very remote, and many pet
> owners successfully maintained mixed households comprised of FIV+ and
> FIV- cats without issues. I do as well.

FIV is transmitted very similarly to Human HIV - through exchange of
fluids that include sera of various natures. This does not happen via
casual contact. Nor does it happen by sleeping in a pile, or chasing
around. Or by any other sort of gentle activity up to and including
normal grooming. But cats are predators, they have claws and teeth
which they use, and accidents happen. The consequences of an accident
between uninfected cats, or between two infected cats are nil beyond
any physical injury. But between infected and uninfected cats, that
goes to your conscience. Analogy: You park your car on a hill. You
leave it in gear, and you put on the parking brake. But, you _don't_
turn the wheels to the curb. Kids break in and release the parking
brake and drop it into neutral - it rolls down hill and severly
injures someone - what is your moral position? Pretty wretched as you
should have taken _every_ precaution possible, including setting the
wheels.

> Regarding the long-term outlook for cats with FIV, there are important
> variables to consider. If you follow a strictly conventional
> veterinary model, which include vaccines, an ordinary diet comprised
> of grocery store pet food or veterinary staples like Science Diet, and
> that's all you do, then yes, there is a high probability that serious
> problems will emerge down the road.

Actually, that may be the case - but what is arguable is whether this
changes no matter what options are taken beyond standard care and
common sense. Some cats may live many years and show no signs
whatsoever. Some may be dead in a few weeks even with heroic
treatment. Human HIV has the same sort of spread in outcomes.

> However, if you follow a holistic model, which includes quality pet
> food (and in some cases raw foods as well), nutritional supplements,
> and other preventative strategies, that changes the outlook
> drastically. Such cats often reach old age without complications, and
> it's an outright fallacy that they require constant veterinary
> visits.

Any studies or peer-reviewed statistics to support this contention? Or
is it simply wishful thinking or anecdotes? And the entire "raw foods"
issue has all sorts of complications related to it, the most common
being salmonella and various parasites and bacteria that just might
play havoc with a compromised immune system. Similarly nutritional
supplements and the complications related thereto.

Again, no argument at all that infected cats can live full, complete
and healthy lives - and often do. Our vet reports that today with
reasonable care he has cats that are over 16 and still healthy by all
outward appearances and behavior. The question remains as to whether
it is ethical to expose other cats to an infected cat by deliberate
choice. I would strongly suggest not.

> As for the links posted by the person who started this thread, I can
> attest to both. Best Friends is a wonderful rescue organization, and
> they're doing remarkable work to help homeless animals, and the
> article outlines and dispels many of the myths about adopting cats
> with FIV.
>
> Regarding Mr. Hapka, I can attest for him as well. "Feline AIDS: A Pet
> Owner's Guide" is a great resource for anyone adopting or caring for
> an FIV+ cat, and he's given talks at a number of rescues I've
> volunteered for. Even our veterinarians have endorsed his book.

No argument there either. But - again - the issue is if one makes that
choice, one precludes others.

> I do agree that taking a pet, ANY pet, is a responsibility that must
> be taken seriously, but no more or less so in the case of a cat with
> FIV.

True enough. And euthanasia is perhaps an extreme response, and I know
that our practice does not suggest that as a first-option, ever.
However, and this is much more than anecdote, they will tell you that
once a cat in a given family does test positive, any other cats in
that same family will very most likely also test positive within a
year, typically much sooner. Further, they state that single cats do
far better than multiple-cats if only because of the multiple
opportunities for infection. Accidents happen. It is pretty much that
simple.

If one chooses to rescue FIV+ cats, that is great. And the cats will
appreciate it beyond measure. But make that choice knowingly and don't
be so arrogant as to believe that you have the right to expose
uninfected cats to that risk. Sh*t happens even to the best-laid
plans.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA