Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (cont.)
There is currently no effective treatment for FIV virus infection. However, the massive effort to develop drugs to cure AIDS in humans involves FIV infection in cats as an animal research model. As this research progresses, it can be anticipated that effective treatment for cats may become available. Drugs used in the treatment of AIDS may provide benefit in individual cats. However, these drugs, especially AZT, are more toxic to cats than to humans. ImmunoRegulin, interferon, and acemannan have shown some benefits. Stampidine is an experimental drug that shows great promise.
It is important that the routine care of infected cats be of the highest quality: top-notch nutrition, parasite control, keeping them indoors, and minimizing stresses.
There is a vaccine available for FIV, but it is not generally recommended. There have been problems with cats who have been vaccinated but are not truly infected testing positive for the virus. The most effective way of preventing the disease is to keep cats from roaming and fighting with infected strays. This will dramatically lower the likelihood of infection.
This article is excerpted from “Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” with permission from Wiley Publishing, Inc.
Copyright © 2008 by Delbert Carlson, DVM, and James M. Giffin, MD. All rights reserved.