FIV+ Ferals - interesting article - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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FIV+ Ferals - interesting article

Someone on the FIV+ internet group I belong to pointed out the following article about re-releasing FIV+ ferals rather than putting them to sleep (which is the norm). Its quite thought-provoking if anyone is interested. You will need software that will open PDF files (like Adobe Acrobat Reader). The article starts on page 1 and is continued on pages 5 and 6.

http://alleycat.org/pdf/fca_spring01.pdf

All comments appreciated.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 06:28 AM
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I'm not even going to click on the link because I was just reading it earlier today I got their newsletter via email today.

Are you referring to how it states that the percentage of FIV positive cats was no higher in feral colonies than it is in homes with pets?

Astounding isn't it? Sure does suggest to me that it's perfectly acceptable to have FIV+ cat live in a home with a negative cat and you wouldn't even be compromising their health either. That's a really great finding.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 06:57 AM
 
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I had Digger's mom who was FIV positive (as was all the kittens when they were tested very young, but tested again later, and they were all negative). I had her roaming here with my other 4 at the time, and was quite comfortable with it. I had read alot of articles and spoke with a few vets and came to the conclusion that the risk was very low. Eventually, she was adopted into another home with a male cat (that was her twin in colour and size) and he also had FIV. Happy Ending!!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AddFran
Are you referring to how it states that the percentage of FIV positive cats was no higher in feral colonies than it is in homes with pets?
Hmm ... I think this may be a different article although it does say that the incidence of FIV in feral cats is no greater than in the domestic population. This one asks whether its valid to mass test feral cats for FIV and put to sleep all those that test positive for the virus rather than neuteur them and release back into their colonies. The article suggests that only 10% of FIV+ cats go on to have the full blown disease and questions why its moral to put to sleep otherwise healthy feral cats with the virus when our pampered domestic FIV companions are allowed to live happy lives. It mentions in particular the value of TNR programs for ferals in decreasing FIV transmission though mating or fighting and asks whether the money used to test ferals for FIV and then kill those that are positive should be spent elsewhere.

If nothing else, I think it gives food for thought. People are so terrified of FIV but as a virus its nothing like as bad or as 'evil' as most people consider it to be.

I often see posts on here where people are testing their cats for FIV and what I have always wanted to ask is - if they did test positive, what would you do?

"FIV != PTS"
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 12:07 PM
 
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It is certainly an intriguing article. I think a lot of valid points were made, especially when looking at the numbers involved. There are so many risks that feral cats live with everyday that it would certainly seem that FIV is one of the LEAST dangerous. That is to say, if those statistics are accurate, the number of cats in a given population of ferals that comes down with the full blown disease or actually suffers complications because of it is probably smaller than the percentage that are killed by cars/tainted food sources/predators/ etc, and is certainly even less than the number that becomes ill for any number of reasons. And even if we ARE supporting euthanizing those that test positive, the testing process sure does cost a lot of money only to remove relatively few cats (who may not even need to be removed) from the populace. And I don't think feral kittens that test positive ought to be euthanized at all, under any circumstances - on the one hand, they may never come down with anything, and the positive test might even be false; in addition, many of these kittens would be young enough to be "tamed" and to lead a healthy life in a home. I see FIV positive cats and kittens up for adoption through rescues all the time, and I'm sure there are groups who would rather foster a tamable and *possibly* positive kitten than see it euthanized.

Also, like the article says, feral cats are not a lot different from other wild species, and we don't screen them for anything. The TNR process itself should help to eventually reduce the population, and as with any disease and group of wild animals, perhaps FIV ought to be left to run its course. How many pet owners have FIV + cats that live long normal lives? I would think ferals should be given the same chance. Sure, they are probably exposed to more things that could potentially complicate the illness, but all ferals are exposed to more things than their indoor cousins. We don't run around euthanizing them because they don't have as pampered a life as our pets have, and because something awful/painful MIGHT happen to them. We put our pets down when they are suffering, have no chance of recovery, and we feel the overall quality of their life is suffering - why should it be any different with a feral? I would say there is nothing humane about euthanizing an otherwise healthy cat/kitten.




Quote:
Originally Posted by melysion
I often see posts on here where people are testing their cats for FIV and what I have always wanted to ask is - if they did test positive, what would you do?
Well, I think it's important to know. Personally, it wouldn't alter the way I felt about or treated my cat, but I would certainly be more careful of my cats health. That is, I probably wouldn't play the wait and see if a vet trip's needed game if the cat showed symptoms of being ill. I also think it's good that all cats are screened during the adoption process - in the case of many of the local rescues, it doesn't mean the cat/kitten is euthanized, but it IS something in the cats background that a future adopter should be aware of, if only to insure that we can help our companion have the fullest life possible.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 12:11 PM
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Nope, it's the same article. I just thought maybe that's the part you were referencing.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 12:40 PM
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I agree that in an all-feral cat population, you shouldn't worry too much about FIV. The whole idea of trap-neuter-release is to let them live somewhat as the wild animals nature has made them. I'd feel a whole lot better about letting nature take its course with the whole colony, than rounding up individuals and euthanizing them, especially if they were still healthy.

But where I live, we don't have isolated feral cat colonies, we have a handful of feral cats who live in neighborhood alleys and mix with domestic cats whose owners let them roam. Neutering them cuts down on the potential for fighting and infecting each other, but I doubt it eliminates it. How do you decide in that situation?

I've been giving this a lot of thought already, because I've recently learned that we have FIV in our neighborhood now. I know of two cats that have it, and I've gotten them off the street, but there are probably others. I haven't gone looking for any, but if I end up with another feral that I know is FIV+, I don't know what I would do.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 01:07 PM
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Allie, I'll move this to the Feral forum, so that those who visit there will also have this information.




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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AddFran
Nope, it's the same article. I just thought maybe that's the part you were referencing.
Ah I see.

What i thought was encouraging was the statistic that only 10% of FIV cats go on to develop full blown FAIDS. But I wonder if thats really true.

Hmmm ...

Its good to know though that a FIV+ cat can live with a negative cat and the risk be very small.

Oh dear. I might be in danger of getting kitten fever again ...

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 03:24 PM
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Here's some more information for you, Allie. An FIV positive cat could live many years without any symptoms. I am trying to find an exact percentage of times the full blown virus manifests itself. So far, the information is more general.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
• FIV behaves similarly in a cat's body to the way HIV (AIDS) behaves in a human body. FIV is not contagious to humans or other species.

• FIV is contagious to other cats, but difficult to transmit - FIV is transmitted primarily through deep bite wounds resulting from fighting or rough play.

• A positive screening FIV test does not necessarily mean a cat has FIV. A Western Blot test or IFA test should be conducted. Re-testing and the timing of re-testing should be discussed with your vet. Note that positive FIV test results for kittens under 6 months of age are not considered valid - such kittens should be re-tested each month using the SNAP test until they test negative or exceed 6 months of age. If a kitten still has a positive SNAP test result at 6 months of age, it would be appropriate to run a confirmatory Western Blot test.

• The good news about FIV is that symptoms may never appear or may not appear for years. That means many FIV-positive cats can have a normal life span.

• Providing a home to a healthy FIV-positive cat is just like owning a healthy non-positive cat, with the exception of being extra sensitive to symptoms of illness. The cat simply stays strictly indoors and preferably has no contact with non-positive cats - although introducing another FIV-positive cat would be fine. A good diet, lots of love and attention - and the cat's all set. Remember, the primary means of transmission are through bite wounds resulting from fighting and rough play. Casual spread of FIV does occur, although it is uncommon.

Important note on test results for both FeLV and FIV: A positive test result may be a false positive, for example, due to a faulty test kit or a test administration problem.

This is why re-testing is so important when the first test is positive. Also, any cat given the new FIV vaccine, Fel-O-Vax FIV, will test positive for FIV.

http://www.maumeevalleysaveapet.org/positives.html

Here's a snippet from another source:

Cat-to-cat transmission of FIV in multiple-cat households where there is no fighting among cats appears to be quite uncommon. Many FIV-positive cats are not diagnosed until after they have lived in the multicat environment for years. Ideally, any infected cats in such households should be separated from the non-infected ones, but in reality, if fighting or rough play is not taking place, the risk to the non-infected cats appears to be low.

http://www.nhahonline.com/f_infectiousd.htm




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