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FIV and How You Can Protect Your Cat

Fel-o-vax FIV is a vaccine against Feline immunodeficiency virus also known as “cat aids”. FIV is an often-fatal disease which occurs commonly in New Zealand and is passed on by fighting with infected cats.

Surveys throughout New Zealand have found that as many as 27% of cats have FIV. They have also found that 70% of cats that come into vet clinics because they are unwell have had exposure to FIV.

Some of the most common signs seen in FIV infected cats are:

  • Weight loss
  • Recurrent fever
  • Gingivitis and stomatitis (inflammation of the gums and mouth) which means they won’t eat
  • Lethargy
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Chronic or recurrent respiratory, ocular (eye) and intestinal disease
  • Chronic skin disease
  • Neurological disease (in some cats the virus can affect the brain)

The main way that FIV presents itself is through recurrent infections. This is because FIV lowers the immune system of the cat meaning they are susceptible to other infections.

FIV is a disease that has no cure. This means that vaccinations are the best way to protect your pet. This course of vaccinations includes three shots given two to four weeks apart followed by an annual single booster shot.


About the author

North Canterbury Vets are a mixed practice which deals with dairy cows, beef, sheep, deer, horses and alpacas as well as companion animals. Our team has an ethical focus to assist in developing and growing our clients' businesses and providing quality health care to ensure that their livestock and pets live healthy and productive lives.

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North Canterbury Veterinary Clinics operates four clinics throughout the Hurunui region.