First Time Owner Of Cat With Fiv...need Help

Discussion in 'Cat Health' started by skratikans, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 1, 2017
    Clemson, SC
    Hi,
    I am new to the forum-clearly, lol. I met a stray male cat that I was finally able to tame somewhat and about a month ago I took him to the vet to get neutered and vaccinated- I would have done this sooner but prior to this timeframe he didn't let me touch him.

    It turns out that this poor cat has FIV (he is young...maybe 2yrs). His gums are inflammed and though he eats a lot, he isn't gaining any weight. The vet questioned if I should even bother treating him or keeping him and that getting interferon would be a challange and very expensive. Naturally, I was worried...took deep breathes and started searching the web. I have read that it is not very expensive...and doesnt necessarly mean a death sentance.

    It is pretty sad that I have to be the one researching all of this and not my vet...but I digress. I REALLY REALLY need advice here. I know that there are people here with far more experience and I was wondering if I could start by asking what website is the best for ordering interferon (in terms of price or whatnot). I was going to relay this website to my vet so that he would then write me a prescription for this.

    Any advice would seriously be appreciated.

    Skratikans
     
  2. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Havelock, North Carolina
    First, welcome to TCS, although I am so very sorry that you had to find us under these circumstances! What a devastating thing to be going through after the struggle to get him to trust you in the first place! I do NOT have the experience you need, but I've noticed that once one person answers a post, more tend to follow. What I can do is link you to any articles here on TCS that might help. They are very informative, and written so that even new cat owners can understand them.
    Fiv In Cats

    and some more general information that may be of help:
    35 Signs That Your Cat May Be In Pain
    Pilling Cats: Must-know Tips For Hiding Pills
    How Can I Give A Pill To My Cat

    And because the right vet is going to be your best friend as you deal with this:
    How To Choose The Best Veterinarian For My Cat?
    How To Talk To Your Vet
    Cat Vet Checkup - What To Expect

    I hope some of these will begin to answer at least some of your questions until one of our members with real experience can get here!
     
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  3. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 1, 2017
    Clemson, SC
    Much appreciated, thank you!
     
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  4. theyremine

    theyremine TCS Member Adult Cat

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    MA
    I don't know anything about interferon, but I can offer some hope. My neighbors adopted a stray from the rescue I volunteer for. Through a clerical error, they did not find out he was Fiv until just after they had adopted him. He was a big, skinny year and a half year old b&w tuxedo with a patchy coat. He was treated for a respiratory infection, fleas and flea allergy (skin). No interferon. Just a loving family, a good home and decent food. And a loving feline "brother" who is not positive. Six months later he is a gorgeous "healthy" cat. Now you can see he is a beautiful Maine coon mix.
     
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  5. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Mount Fuji, Japan
    Hi @skratikans Thank you for helping this boy.

    Please find another vet who has more experience of treating FIV positive cats. I've found that some vets still believe it is better to PTS a cat with FIV, but others are much more helpful and encouraging.

    Gum inflammation is very common with cats who have the virus. They usually need to have some, if not all, of their teeth removed. This is a bit expensive, but it makes their quality of life so much better as they can eat properly, so put on weight, and don't have to keep going through courses of antibiotics.

    I've taken care of two feral males who picked it up before they were neutered and I'm currently caring for a female cat who must have been infected by her mother. The males were actually a lot healthier than the female. I'm not sure if how they contracted the virus makes any difference to how sick they get, but if gum inflammation is all your boy is suffering from at the moment it's looking good.

    Here's the thread about my FIV positive girl.

    Sick, possibly FIV+ Feral Kitten

    She's not on any regular meds. I took her to the vet today and she's up to 7 lbs now, which is a very healthy weight for such a small cat.

    Was your cat vaccinated? If you haven't done so yet I suggest that you make sure he has all of his shots but ask the vet to use the killed vaccine, rather than the live one. It will be less of a struggle for his immune system to deal with.

    If he seems to be having trouble eating or if he dribbles a lot consider getting his teeth removed. They can eat well even if they don't have any teeth.

    If he shows signs of getting a cold or any other health problems get his to the vet ASAP. They can't shake off these little health problems the way other cats can. My current FIV girl gets a shot of long lasting antibiotics if she picks up anything. It's a lot easier than trying to pill her.

    Make sure you treat him for worms regularly, for some reason all 3 FIV cats I had got worm infestations easily.

    If he has been living on the streets it will take a while before he starts to put on weight. It can be up to six months of regular feeding before you start to see any improvement. He's building muscle tone, not just putting on weight and that takes time.

    Is he an indoor only cat now? He will stay much healthier if he is, less chance of him picking up any parasites or bacteria if he is indoors.

    Please keep us updated. FIV isn't a death sentence. Gin Kun, the silver cat in my banner below, lived to be 15 years old and you would never have known there was anything wrong with him. There is no reason your boy can't have a long, healthy life.
     
  6. abyeb

    abyeb Charlie's Purrson Top Cat

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    The other posters really covered a lot. FIV cats can live long, healthy lives! Here's a video explaining more:

     
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  7. squirrelymonki

    squirrelymonki TCS Member Kitten

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    Apr 20, 2016
    Florida
    Hey there. I am kind of a newbie too - haven't been on in a while.

    I took in a male stray that was being ganged up on by a bunch of rather feral cats in my neighborhood who turned out to have FIV. I then also ended up rescuing my most recent kitty, Mau Mau, from a shelter where he had tested FIV positive. Mau Mau is sick right now, so I can empathize with the stress and worry this must be causing you - and kitty!

    I think you're getting some rather good advice and input about his care and what to do. What I will say is that these cats are not lost causes. They may require a bit more attention and care than "healthier" cats, but it's worth it. They're worth it. Really, it's a matter of proactive care and attentiveness. My kitties are on a special, grain free diet, they take supplements, and I make sure that I pick up on any "signals" of illness. I may even be a bit too protective and cautious! ;) But it's about what works best for you and your new feline companion.

    I would agree in obtaining a second opinion/an alternate vet that is more informed as well.
     
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  8. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 1, 2017
    Clemson, SC
    Thank you for all the input thus far. I live in Clemson, SC....and every vet around me in a 30mi radius has this opinion... the first thing I need to do is to get him started on interferon..and this way I can start looking

    In terms of indoor outdoor, he is an outdoor only at this point. I have a 10yr old FIV neg cat that is both in and out. Unfortunately, they dont get along. So at night, for the last entire week, I have started taking him into the garage and made him a home there so he can have a safe place to sleep. I have limited my other cat from going outside.

    The FIV stray, I called him Meowki, since he meows for attention like crazy. He has received all his vaccinations when he was neutered and after we found out his status.

    The vet is willing to work with me. So for the short term I will stay with him till I can get a better handle on Meowki's meds.

    In terms of deworming, I actually am going to deworm him for tapeworms...my other cat just got them so I am going to assume he needs it too. I give Meowki the anti flee and mosquito once a month on the skin type gel--can't think of the name right now.

    In terms of supplements, any recommedations? I am thinking of starting him on some lysine.
     
  9. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 1, 2017
    Clemson, SC
    The support on here is amazing, you have no idea how much I cried and how scared I was when I first found his status out.
     
  10. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 1, 2017
    Clemson, SC
    Well, I must say, finding someone that is a competant vet around me is EXTREMELY challenging..it has really opened my eyes as to how under educated they are on the matter. I am going to make more calls but this is really frustrating. I thought that medication would be easy to obtain..I would order and the company would call the vet for approval...but this is not going to be the case. And the worse thing now is that my vet is not really helping.

    The plan now is to call a vet hospital that has specialty vets and see if any of them can point me in the right direction.

    I honestly CANNOT believe how much work and effort has to be put into this...drugs for FIV have been around for decades now....yet vets are so CLUELESS...how is that even possible?
     
  11. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Havelock, North Carolina
    Clemson, SC? USC has one of the best vet schools in the country, actually. They won't be cheap, but if you can manage it, they will be doing cutting edge work. Or, you might call them and ask for a referral to someone with FIV experience. If that doesn't work, try contacting the SCVMA for the name of a specialist:

    South Carolina Association of Veterinarians

    Marie Queen, Executive Director
    1215 Anthony Ave
    Columbia, SC 29201
    Mailing Address:
    PO Box 11766
    Columbia, SC, 29211
    Phone: 803-254-1027
    Fax: 803-254-3773
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Web site: www.scav.org
     
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  12. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 1, 2017
    Clemson, SC
    Update: was just able to get into contact with Upstate animal vet in Greenville,SC and they are willing to work with my current vet...so we will see. This place has 20+ vets that all specialize in different fields...so we will see how this goes.

    From what the receptionist told me....oddly enough they don't treat cats with FIV unless they are exhibiting signs??? Does that even sound right?

    Either way my vet should relay to them that Meowki is most definately showing symptoms of FIV...and hopefully we will get some sort of treatment plan underway till I can get my bearings as to what to do next. Columbia, SC is a two hour drive and right now I just need the poor guy on some medication.

    I definately appreciate the recommendations on the next places to go to...and trust me if this doesn't work out I will be looking there. Right now I hope I have found something closer.

    Must say this has not been an easy process...so glad I have found this forum.
     
  13. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Havelock, North Carolina
    We are just as glad you found us as you are! Be sure to keep us updated every step of the way! You're part of us now, you and your Meowki (love that name).
     
  14. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's great news about the vet.

    Yes, my vet told me the same thing about treating cats with FIV. I think there is a difference between being FIV positive and having full blown Feline AIDS, just as there is between being HIV positive and having AIDS.

    :dunno:

    My vet just told me to monitor their health closely and bring them in if they start showing signs of having a cold, gloopy eyes, drooling etc.

    As I said, Happy isn't on any regular meds and Gin Kun wasn't either. They just get treated for health problems as they occur.

    Good luck, hope everything works out well and you can bring him indoors soon.

    :crossfingers:
     
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  15. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 1, 2017
    Clemson, SC
    Wait, so your cats Happy and Gin Yun aren't on meds like inferon alpha (or some type of immunomodulator)? Or when you say regular, do you mean they just don't take those daily? Sorry, I'm still learning about this and have a lot to learn.

    Also, I know that the probability of FIV transmission in FIV neg and pos cats in a household that get along is low (it think it was around 1% if I'm not mistaken). That being said, does anyone here keep pos and neg cats together? Any luck? I know this is a controversial topic...I was wondering. Meowki is an outdoor cat and I don't want to keep him outside in the winter. That would mean that I would have to try to introduce them and hope they would not fight...
    Hypothetically, let's say they would get along...isn't grooming each other still a concern for transmission... (say Meowki wanted to lick the other cat's face...Im worried about his saliva going near the other cat's eyes)?

    If anyone has any experience on the matter, please let me know...the more opinions the better.
     
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  16. Norachan

    Norachan Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Nope. Happy isn't and Gin Kun wasn't on any daily medication. Happy is supposed to have eye drops daily, but I'm lucky if I can get them in her eyes 2-3 times a week. She has the sniffles at the moment so the vet gave her a shot of antibiotics a few days ago. That's all.

    Gin Kun had similar antibiotic injections. He was a feral tom and had a torn ear and an infected cat bite when I first found him. He also had antibiotics after having some teeth removed. That was all.

    I have 22 cats at the moment, Happy is the only one who is FIV positive. There is no danger of them spreading the disease by grooming, sharing food bowls or toys etc. The disease is only transmitted by deep cat bites or by sexual contact. Gin Kun was with me for over five years and all the cats I have now lived with him.

    Actually Albert, in the picture below, is one of Gin's kittens and he is FIV negative, so I think the chances of it being sexually transmitted might not be as high as you'd think.

    Albert22.jpg
     
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  17. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Clemson, SC
    interesting...thats for the advice. I have seen Meowki fight other cats...maybe I can introduce him peacefully..makes me nervous bc if anyone would start a fight it would probably be him.


    Question, why exactly do they not give meds like interferon then? Or rather, when do they? I always thought FIV need those kinds of meds.
     
  18. Freedom

    Freedom TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Methuen, MA
    Hi there, I think you have received great advise so far! This forum has many helpful members, as you are learning quickly.

    My Bobby tested FIV+ when he was trapped at age 4 months, and again when tested at age 1 year. He is now 10 years old. Bobby has not been on any medication for FIV in all this time. He does not have any symptoms. He mingles with the rest of my clowder, always has, no issues. I will add, they all get along, no fights etc.

    FIV + cats, and feral cats in general, have poor dentition. Bobby has had 3 dentals over the years, with some extractions each time. Once healed, he is great again for several years. I do feed grain free kibble and canned.

    My biggest concern with what you wrote is that Meowki is still being allowed. FIV+ cats need to be kept as indoor only, IMO. First, going out, they can get in to fights and spread the disease. Second, since they have this issue, they have a compromised immune system. So any health issue - injuries from fights, or just the normal 'kitty cold,' becomes a BIG DEAL. I always get Bobby in to the vet asap and get him on some meds to help his immune system deal with whatever. By keeping the cat indoors, you prevent the spread of the disease, and you limit your vet expenses going forward as the cat is not exposed to nearly as many germs, bacteria, viruses etc.
     
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  19. skratikans

    skratikans TCS Member Young Cat

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    Clemson, SC
    I definately agree with him needing to be an indoor only cat. But I must also take my other cat into consideration first. If he can't get along with the other cat, my options become limited. I simply can't have him tearing up my other cat. And he shows aggression to other cats.

    I do have a second option of trying to house him with a place that has two friendly sweet cats...but again, if he can't get along I will not risk their health. So depending on how these situations unravel...my hands are tied.

    Right now Meowki isn't on any meds...but his body does not heal well at all. His area is just now recovering from the neuter and a scab that he has had for over a month is just starting to completely heal. I think that is why I have asked so much about FIV medication. It is clear his immune system is compromised..and yes it worries me about him being outdoors.
     
  20. NewYork1303

    NewYork1303 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Washington State
    We take care of a room filled with FIV positive cats at our shelter. Many have lived with us for 6 or more years since they are hard to adopt out. None of them are on regular medication other than Viralysis. (this is a powder added to their food for immune support. All cats at the shelter take it, not just the ones with FIV since illness is spread easily through a cat shelter.) You can buy viralysis online just about anywhere with no prescription.

    As far as I know there isn't a reason to treat FIV cats with anything specifically for FIV.

    Know that if you take him to any normal animal shelter they will put him to sleep. We are the only shelter in our area that takes FIV cats and adopts them out. The other shelters call us whenever they have a cat test positive and we go to save them. All our FIV cats live very normal lives, they just get sick a bit more than normal cats do.

    FIV+ and FIV- cats can live together without spreading the illness between them. FIV is rarely spread in fights, only through extremely deep bites, which is something that would generally not happen between cats that are neutered an spayed.
     
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