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Found out Scrappy is FIV Positive Today. Help?

Hello All,

I love this site. The kind and thoughtful members helped me make a very difficult decision to put my beloved 15 year old kitty, Max to sleep several years ago when he had bone cancer in his paw.

I'm writing today because I now have two wonderful cats: Orlando (6) and Scrappy (4). I bottle fed the orphan, Orlando from the time he was 2 weeks old. He was an indoor cat for 4 years in NYC. Then I moved back home to California two years ago and a stray, Scrappy adopted us. Well, I should really say he adopted Orlando. The two of them flirted on either side of the window for a month before we took Scrappy to the vet to get him tested for FIV and Feline Leukemia. He was negative, so we let him in to our home and our hearts. Because Scrappy was an indoor-outdoor cat, we decided to let Orlando give it a try, too. He LOVES it. He's happy as a clam and doesn't fight with other cats. Scrappy, on the other hand, fights with any and everyone. He's an ABSOLUTE love to humans. I don't think I've ever met a sweeter cat. But he's a hellion outside. Anyway, we took him back to the vet AGAIN today for another infection from cat bites. The vet tested him for Leukemia (negative) and FIV (positive). She's doing a Western Block test this week to confirm it.

Please share any experiences you've had with FIV, converting outside cats to inside cats, and boosting a cat's immunity. Also, is there any chance that Scrappy might be FIV positive, but never get the AIDS virus full blown?

Thank you! Love, Amy, Orlando, and Scrappy
 

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FIV positive is nowhere near as bad as FeLV+ would have been. You should watch him more closely for infections and he may have more tooth problems. The main thing is, especially if he is a fighter, that he should be kept as an indoor cat so he will not transfer the virus to others. FIV is most often transferred through deep bite wounds.
 

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Thank you, Sue

Thank you, Sue. That's helpful. Scrappy has been indoors since Friday afternoon. He's not happy about it, but it's going better than I had hoped. Any thoughts about life expectancy for a 4 year old FIV+ kitty? I suppose we'll need to find out the results of the Western Blot test before we know for sure if he just has the antibodies or is already in fullblown AIDS. Thank you!
 

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Hi all,

My kitty Scrappy (4 years old) was just diagnosed as FIV+. They have taken his blood to do a Western Blot Test. Anyone have experience with this? What exactly does it test for? My kitty was FIV- 2 years ago when he came to us as a stray, so I'm assuming that means he doesn't have antibodies from his mother (if she was FIV+). He has gotten into many scraps over the past few years and had several abscesses. We thought about making him an indoor cat, but he would whine and whine and whine all night to go out. He's been indoors since the diagnosis on Friday and we are keeping in him no matter what so he doesn't infect other kitties or get sick himself.

Also, our vets are great, but not one of them until Friday (2 years and MANY cat fights after we first brought Scrappy to them) suggested to us that Scrappy might get FIV outdoors. Nor did any of them test Scrappy for FIV until a vet we'd never had before did it on Friday. Doesn't that seem negligent? I haven't had an outdoor kitty since I was a child and I don't remember any talk about FIV then. I think it might be a more recent development in kitty diseases. I grew up in the late 60s - 70s. Thanks, All. Love, Amy and Josiah and Orlando and Scrappy
 

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I just adopted a cat and there was an FIV+ cat at the shelter. They said she would probably live her regular lifespan if kept inside - FIV+ cats are more susceptible to viruses (like HIV+ people) and so will get illnesses more severely. I think you should probably keep both your cats indoors. First, the FIV- cat is more likely to get FIV now (I believe it spreads by saliva, but not as readily as FeLV). Secondly, you don't want him bringing in bugs to infect the FIV+ cat.
 

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I had a cat who was FIV+ for at least 8yrs. I had to euthanize him 4 mos ago at the age of 13y/o. I had taken him in to the vet for his yearly exam and bloodwork 2 wks before the crisis. My vet called me wirh the results and said he had the blood work of a 2 y/o. 2 weeks later he was back d/t abd pain and vomiting and an abd US showed multiple cystic masses in/on multiple organs. The masses were not palpable which is why they hadn't been picked up on the prior exam or for that matter the current exam. He lived a happy life indoor life for the last years of his life. The bottom line is yes these kittys can have close to or a normal life span without a lot of vet visits or illnesses. I didn't get Smudge posted but I believe his cancer was immune mediated d/t the FIV. All I can say is keep him safe indoors as all infections stress the immune system and that's one thing the kitty's don't need. GL B
 

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Hi all,

My kitty Scrappy (4 years old) was just diagnosed as FIV+. They have taken his blood to do a Western Blot Test. Anyone have experience with this? What exactly does it test for? < snip >
Just going to jump in here with some technical info...

A "western blot" is a way of detecting specific proteins in a sample; in the case of FIV, you're looking for the antibodies produced in response to the virus (which is, incidentally, one reason to not vaccinate against FIV; should a vaccinated cat be lost, they'll test "positive"... unless someone's shelling out to also run a "PCR" (polymerase chain reaction) that can detect the presence of the virus directly).

Very basically, you
(1) (optional) separate all the proteins (including antibodies) in a sample from each other (by size and/or charge),
(2) put some (FIV-specific) antigen on the sample that will bind to any (FIV-specific) antibodies that are present. Then you
(3) stick on another antibody that you've tagged with some molecule to make it visible, and that also binds to the antigen. Voilà! You can now see if there's any of the antibody you were interested in (FIV-specific antibodies, in this case).
 

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I'm sorry about the positive result. I know a lot of cats with FeLV and FIV as I do volunteer work with them; they can live a long life, sometimes for several years they'll appear perfectly healthy as long as kept safely indoors with a proactive approach to any potential health concerns... and there are many to watch out for, lots of strange things can happen with FIV cats. A lot of cats will have mouth issues, needing teeth pulled and eventually may end up with no teeth even if they otherwise seem fairly healthy, so that's one thing to keep in mind and prepare for; dental work is expensive.

I know an FIV cat who could possibly be FeLV positive as well that's 16 and has had it for at least 10 years... this isn't to say he's totally healthy, but he's doing well considering.

Also, our vets are great, but not one of them until Friday (2 years and MANY cat fights after we first brought Scrappy to them) suggested to us that Scrappy might get FIV outdoors. Nor did any of them test Scrappy for FIV until a vet we'd never had before did it on Friday. Doesn't that seem negligent?
I don't really consider it negligent, the vets I see are great but they suggested against the tests on my semi-feral cat when we first took her to the vet. She was healthy, always has been, and since we don't know her history outside of the fact that she's already been spayed and has an impossible to read ear tattoo, the test may not be accurate, especially since she doesn't get into cat fights outside. If she had been given the vaccination against FIV at some point in her past the results would come back as positive...
 

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FIV and FeLv mimic each other. You will find a lot more info on FIV than FeLv on line. We had a cat tested with the snap test and he came back negative. He was an indoor outdoor cat. We had him vaccinated when I TNRed him.

Fast forward several years. He worked his way to live indoors most of the time and is now living inside with my sisters cats I took him to the vet with an infected injury from an outdoors experience and the vet found a big red angry looking spot in the roof of his mouth. He wanted to test him again. I immediately went into denial and said he was OK. But the snap test came back positive for Felv. Snap tests can register positive because it is detecting the vaccination. We sent out a sample to a lab in Alabama that can detect the difference between the vaccination and true shedding of FeLv. It came back positive.

This cat had been in with my sisters cats and occasionally mine for several years. The vet wanted us to put him down. We took him home to discuss it. We decided after a week of discussions that a cats life is all about quality of life. We loved him dearly and he loved all the other cats inside. We decided not to put him down. He didn't fight with the cats inside so it would be hard for him to transfer the disease to his companions. (according to another vet friend of mine)

He has been healthy and doing well for several year now. We think he is probably about 9 years old. Recently he has been sleeping a lot and not acting peppy. He has given up his position of alpha cat in the house. Lost some weight. I'm watching him closely so when he really starts to fail I will help him humanely transition to his next life. This last week he has snapped back and is acting normal. The brat brought a hummingbird home to me last night so he back to being peppy.

I would approach this from the quality of life perspective and give your cat all the love, attention and great vet care you can flourish on him. Our companion animals are here to teach us lessons and journey with us in our lives. Count everyday you are together as a blessing and enjoy him.
 

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Thanks, all. You are so kind. Scrappy is cuddling on my lap right now. We've had him indoors for a week now and he seems to be doing okay with it. He's such a dear. We cherish him and will do all we can to keep him healthy until we have to put him down eventually when he gets too sick to be comfortable. Thank you. xo
 
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