While it goes without saying that outdoor kitties are often at risk for more health issues than their indoor counterparts, one easy way owners can keep them healthy is through routine testing and vaccination for FIV/FeLV.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a disease that weakens a cat’s immune system. FeLV stands for the feline leukemia virus, which also affects the immune system along with the bone marrow. Both are highly contagious diseases common in outdoor cats spread through infected saliva. Both diseases can be present in a cat’s system for many years without showing any signs of illness. Symptoms of the diseases are similar and can include fever, lethargy, repeated respiratory infections, dental issues and in some cases, chronic eye and skin conditions, in addition to diarrhea and weight loss.
Because there are so many varied symptoms associated with these diseases, it’s a good idea to have your cat tested if they become ill—especially if they are an outdoor cat (this increases their odds of contracting these diseases substantially). Tests can be run by your veterinarian to determine if FeLV or FIV are the cause of your cat’s illness. The good news is that there are also vaccinations to help protect cats against both FeLV and FIV and are available through your veterinarian. Call Little Traverse Bay Veterinary Clinic at 231-622-6363 for additional information about FIV and FeLV and how you can protect your feline friend from these diseases.