Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Feline AIDS
The statistics are staggering -- up to one in 12 cats in the U.S. carries an extremely contagious virus known as feline AIDS. There's no cure - but it's highly preventable. Health Specialist Marilyn Mitzel shows us how in protecting your pet.
(WSVN) -- Joy King, Silver's mom: "To say spice had a rough start in life - is putting it mildly. He's cross eyed and his little tail has been cut off and he's minus an ear."
So did Silver.
Joy King Silver and Spice's mom: "He was found on the street in Miami Beach."
Before Joy King rescued these stray cats they got feline aids while living in the streets.
Like aids in humans - the virus destroys their immune system.
But rest assured - you couldn't get it from your cat.
They can't give to other animals.
Only cats get it.
Dr. Michael Fusco from Adams Veterinary Clinic: "Exactly -- like most viruses -- this is a species specific virus."
How common is it?
Dr. Michael Fusco: "feline aids is very common in south Florida because of our feral cats or wild cat population."
To protect your cat - limit their contact with other felines.
Dr. Michael Fusco: "It's transmitted from cat to cat by direct contact with bodily fluids -- saliva, urine, feces -- it's probably easier for a cat to contract aids if they have dental disease or sores in their mouth or some type of gingivitis."
But all felines are at risk - especially outdoor - older and cats who fight.
Kittens can get it during birth and from nursing.
Symptoms include fever - loss of appetite - diarrhea - weakness - swollen lymph nodes - mouth sores and a dull coat.
A simple blood test can detect it.
A vaccine can prevent it.
Dr. Michael Fusco: "To play it safe -- really all cats should be vaccinated."
Hey spice -- say I have got beautiful eyes.
While there's no medication to treat feline AIDS - Silver and Spice King can live a rich life with lots of T.L.C.
Joy King: "Just love them they you know they need a lot of affection they need a lot of quality time."
Before bringing any kitten or cat home have it tested for feline AIDS.
For more information: