many years of research, a vaccine has finally been developed for
FIV . Your cat will receive 3 initial doses of the vaccine each
given two weeks apart, followed by an annual booster.
Unfortunately, there is some question about how effective it is. What is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus?
Immunodeficiency Virus or FIV (also known as feline AIDS), passes from
cat to cat through bite wounds. The virus is present in the saliva.
Once bitten and the virus is transmitted it infects the cells,
replicates and spreads throughout the body.
FIV can also be transmitted by an infected mother to her kittens through nursing.
Unlike Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), FIV does not appear to be spread by casual contact.
all cats exposed to FIV will become ill. It is possible for your cat to
test positive for the FIV antibody without showing any signs of
illness. Some cats can effectively ‘fight off’ the virus, but will
still show a positive test result. Others will harbor the virus for
years before symptoms become visible.
Symptoms for the FIV positive cat who becomes ill can vary greatly; but the most common are:
• Severe Gingivitis (gum disease)
• Frequent and recurring skin, bladder and respiratory infections
• Poor coat condition
• Weight Loss
is primarily supportive care; antibiotics for the recurring infections,
fluid therapy, steroids and even blood transfusions. There is no “cure”
for FIV and it is eventually fatal.
Treatment of Feline Hyperthyroidism
There are actually several treatments available for Feline Hyperthyroidism.
can be given that block thyroid hormone effectiveness. These drugs have
to be given at least twice daily and can lead to stomach upsets in many
cats; especially if the initial dose needs to be increased over time.
Additionally, side effects including scratching or rubbing the face,
decreased white blood cells, elevations in liver enzymes and decrease
in platelets causing increased bleeding problems may occur. It must be
remembered that these drugs do nothing to deal with the enlargement of
the thyroid glands. As time passes, the glands will usually continue to
grow in size, requiring more medication to control the problem.
Periodic laboratory blood tests must be performed to track the disease
and fine tune treatment protocols. Periodic testing also helps us
monitor the appearance of the side effects discussed earlier.
Surgical removal of the thyroid glands is an available option. This
surgery is potentially life threatening. The parathyroid glands, which
control calcium and potassium levels in the body, are very near to the
thyroid glands. If the parathyroid glands are damaged or removed your
pet would require a delicate balance of medications to avoid serious
problems. It is possible for the thyroid gland to re-grow if not
completely excised, which could eventually result in the overproduction
of thyroid hormone again in the future.
treatment requires an injection of a radioactive dye into the blood
that selectively damages the thyroid tissues and effectively stops the
overproduction of thyroid hormone. If all of the thyroid gland is not
destroyed by the radioiodine, it is possible for the thyroid gland to
re-grow which could ultimately result in overproduction of thyroid
hormone again in the future.
A new diet called YD is
available. This provides a minimum amount of iodine so the
thyroid is essentially "starved" for iodine and cannot produce more
than the normal amount of thyroid hormone. This seems to be working
On-Going Care for Feline Hyperthyroidism
most cats diagnosed with Feline Hyperthyroidism are older, many will
suffer from kidney disease as well. Because the disease causes
increased blood pressure in most cats, correction of hyperthyroidism
can cause a lowering of the blood pressure which can adversely affect
the kidney disease. Monitoring this situation with periodic laboratory
blood testing and blood pressure monitoring, and controlling the kidney
disease with diet and proper dental care is also important.
will need to recheck your cat’s CBC (complete blood count) and platelet
count every two weeks for a period of time. We will then need to
recheck the thyroid levels, liver and kidney functions in four weeks.
Assuming no problems develop and we are able to continue the
medication, we can reduce retesting intervals. If we find that
medication needs to be increased in the future, then the retesting
protocol will need to be changed.
Hyperthyroidism is a very serious disease, we can greatly improve your
cat’s life by appropriately responding to the existing problems.
Diagnosis of Feline Hyperthyroidism is just the beginning. Ongoing
management of the disease is the true key to success. What is Feline Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism occurs most often in middle-aged and geriatric cats.
Itis a disease caused by the growth of a tumor inside the thyroid
gland, resultingin the overproduction of thyroid hormone. This growth
is almost always NOT cancerous;but 1-2% of the cases are diagnosed as
The most common symptoms of Feline Hyperthyroidism are:
• Nervousness or hyperactivity
• Weight loss in spite of large appetite
• Increased drinking & urination
• Intermittent fever
• Difficulty breathing
• Signs of cardiovascular disease
• Rapid heart rate
• Hair loss
• Voice changes
thorough physical examination and laboratory blood tests are used to
diagnose Feline Hyperthyroidism. Periodic laboratory tests of both
blood and urine are the most effective tools for early detection of any