Feline Aids is layperson terminology for the Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). FIV was first discovered in 1986. The virus that causes feline aids is related to the virus that causes human aids. The term “aids” stands for “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome“
This is a reworking of the Wikipedia® article in which I define the terms used on the same page and in some detail to make the original statement more readable for people who are less scientifically minded.
Definitions for above paragraph:
Felidae: the biological family of the cats; a member of this family is called a felid. Felids are the strictest carnivores of the sixteen mammal families in the order Carnivora.
Immunodeficiency: Immunodeficiency (or immune deficiency) is a state in which the immune system’s ability to fight infectious disease is compromised or entirely absent.
Virus: A small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Most viruses are too small to be seen directly with a light microscope. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea.
Lentivirus: Lentivirus (lenti-, Latin for “slow”) is a genus of slow viruses of the Retroviridae family, characterized by a long incubation period.
Causative agent: The term disease causative agent usually refers to a biological agents pathogen that causes a disease.
Pathogen: An infectious agent, or more commonly germ, is a biological agent that causes disease to its host.
Taxonomy: The practice and science of classification.
Retroviruses: This is an RNA virus that is replicated in a host cell via the enzyme reverse transcriptase to produce DNA from its RNA genome. The DNA is then incorporated into the host’s genome by an integrase enzyme. The virus thereafter replicates as part of the host cell’s DNA. Retroviruses are enveloped viruses that belong to the viral family Retroviridae.
RNA Virus: An RNA virus is a virus that has RNA (ribonucleic acid) as its genetic material.
Reverse transcriptase: a DNA polymerase enzyme that transcribes single-stranded RNA into double-stranded DNA
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV): is a retrovirus that infects cats. As stated it is different to FIV. The infection results in a range of “syndromes”. These include leukemia, which is cancerous lymphocytes in the bloodstream and lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). The virus also results in immune deficiency leading to an inability to protect the body and bone marrow suppression (white blood cell and platelet production is compromised), which has the same effect. See symptoms of FeLV.
Human immunodeficiency virus HIV: is a lentivirus (a member of the retrovirus family) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections.
Endemic: This word can mean “belonging” or “native to”, “characteristic of”, or “prevalent in” a particular geography, group, field, area, or environment; native to an area or scope.
Rogue an FIV+ rescue cat at a cat shelter, Tree House Humane Society – photo by Alan Chan (Flickr)
Definitions for above para:
Subtype: a type that is subordinate to or included in another type
Nucleotides: are molecules that, when joined together, make up the structural units of RNA and DNA
Viral envelope: Many viruses have viral envelopes covering their protein capsids (the protein shell of a virus). The envelopes typically are derived from portions of the host cell membranes (phospholipids and proteins), but include some viral glycoproteins (proteins that contain oligosaccharide chains (glycans) covalently attached to polypeptide side-chains).
Is there a Feline Aids Vaccine?
A vaccine is available although its efficacy remains uncertain, and cats will test positive for FIV antibodies after vaccination. The development of an effective vaccine against FIV is difficult because of the high number and variations of the virus strains. There are risks and benefits with vaccines. A good veterinarian will advise.
Feline aids symptoms: FIV can attack the immune system of cats, much like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can attack the immune system of human beings. There are three stages. First is the Acute Stage (1–2 months after transmission). Second is the Subclinical Stage (4 weeks to X months after transmission). Third is the Chronic Stage, in which cats eventually succumb to chronic infections due to suppressed immune system function.
Feline Aids – Initial acute symptoms:
- swelling of lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system. They filter/trap foreign particles
- low white cell count (white cells – leukocytes – are also part of the immune system providing a defense against foreign invading objects)
- skin infections
Feline Aids progresses from the early acute signs (above) to latency (up to 3 years) to the chronic phase, the symptoms of which are:
- general ill heath
- severe mouth/gum disease
- loss of appetite
- loss of weight
- URIs (Upper Respiratory Infections)
- ear canal infections
- FLUTD (Urinary Tract Infections)
Definitions for above para:
Lymphocyte: This is a type of white blood cell in the vertebrate immune system.
T cells: or T lymphocytes belong to a group of white blood cells known as lymphocytes, and play a central role in cell-mediated immunity.
Immunomodulator: a substance (e. g. a drug) which has an effect on the immune system. There are two types of effects – immunostimulation and immunosuppression.
Conditional license: A license to use the drug for a period and under certain conditions, during which it is evaluated.
Peptides: are short polymers of amino acids linked by peptide bonds. They have the same chemical structure as proteins, but are shorter in length.
Cation: is an ion with more protons than electrons, giving it a positive charge. Glycoproteins: are proteins that contain oligosaccharide chains (glycans) covalently attached to polypeptide side-chains.
IL-2: Interleukin-2 is an interleukin, a type of cytokine immune system signaling molecule, which is a leukocytotrophic hormone that is instrumental in the body’s natural response to microbial infection.
Definitions for above para:
ELISA: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), also known as an enzyme immunoassay (EIA), is a biochemical technique used mainly in immunology to detect the presence of an antibody or an antigen in a sample. See more here: Feline leukemia test.
IFA: Immunofluorescence is a technique used for light microscopy with a fluorescence microscope and is primarily used on biological samples. See more here: Feline leukemia test.
Western Blot Immunoassay: Like the ELISA procedure, the western blot is an antibody detection test. However, unlike the ELISA method, the viral proteins are separated first and immobilized. In subsequent steps, the binding of serum antibodies to specific HIV proteins is visualized. The ELISA test is used in diagnosing FeLV cats too.
Antibodies: are gamma globulin proteins that are found in blood or other bodily fluids of vertebrates, and are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses.
Feline Aids Transmission: The primary modes of FIV transmission are deep bite wounds and scratches, where the infected cat’s saliva enters the other cat’s bloodstream. FIV may also be transmitted from pregnant females to their offspring in utero. Stray and feral cats are obviously more susceptible to bites acquired in territorial fighting. See also cat abscess.
Feline Aids sources: These are almost exclusively from Wikipedia® – verbatim as allowed under license. The reader is asked to go to Wikipedia® for the exact source. Wikipedia® lists sources, unlike nearly all other sites. In addition Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook by Drs Carlson and Giffin was referred to.