All About the Feline Viruses FIP, FIV and FeLV

All About the Feline Viruses FIP, FIV and FeLV

FIP, FIV and FeLV are all viral diseases that can affect your kitty cat. Unfortunately, none of these viruses has a cure, however they can all be prevented with proper, responsible care.

What Exactly is FIP?

FIP stands for feline infectious peritonitis. FIP is caused by a mutation of the coronavirus, which is also a common cause of diarrhea and upset stomach for felines. Households that contain multiple cats are the most at-risk of FIP, since these cats commonly share litter trays. Along with multi-cat homes, other locales that are at risk of FIP include shelters, catteries and breeding establishments.

The FIP virus will mutate every time it passes through a cat, which makes repeated contact with feces an increased risk. Due to the weakened immune systems of kittens and elderly cats, they are most prone to FIP infection.

What Are the Signs of FIP?

Signs of FIP in your feline may include:

  • Fever
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen belly
  • Difficulty breathing

Since FIP is caused by the deadly mutated form of the coronavirus, diagnosing it is difficult—there is no way to distinguish between the coronavirus and FIP. However, veterinarians will use evidence from changes in antibody levels to coronavirus, fluid analysis, clinical signs and the presences of specific proteins in order to make a case for—or against—an FIP infection.

How Can I Prevent FIP?

Since there is no cure for FIP, the best way to keep your cat safe is through proper prevention. For FIP, this includes cleaning your cat’s litter trays every day, ensuring each feline has their own litter tray and keeping less than five cats in the same household.

What Exactly is FIV?

FIV stands for feline immunodeficiency virus, which is most commonly caused through wounds accrued from biting and fighting. This disease requires the virus to enter the bloodstream­, and a litter of kittens born to a mother that is positive in FIV have a 25 percent chance of being infected. Felines with a higher risk of FIV are unneutered male cats, as they are the most likely to fight.

What Are the Signs of FIV?

FIV can be difficult to detect since after an infection, a cat may remain healthy for several years. Since an infected feline’s immune system may be weakened, this leaves them vulnerable to serious infections, such as a simple cold turning into pneumonia. Other signs may include:

  • Long-term inflammation of the gums
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upset stomach

To diagnose FIV, there are many different tests which all work in different ways. These tests will often detect the feline immune system’s response to FIV, but they ultimately can’t predict whether the cat will become sick or fight off the infection. A repeat test in three to four weeks will be suggested to make a proper diagnosis.

How Can I Prevent FIV?

There is no cure for FIV, so the best way to avoid it for your cat is by proper prevention. FIV is mainly spread through feline fighting, therefore, neutering your male cat will greatly help prevent this disease, since it decreases your male cat’s desire to wander and get into tussles. Keeping cats indoor and away from other unfamiliar felines also helps.

What Exactly is FeLV?

FeLV stands for feline leukemia virus, which is passed from cat-to-cat through saliva. FeLV requires close contact with an infected feline in order to spread and is commonly transmitted when cats groom each other or share a water bowl. Cats most commonly become infected with FeLV when they are young and later will become ill due to the long incubation period. Additionally, kittens in the womb can be infected through the placenta or their mother’s milk.


What Are the Signs of FeLV?

The FeLV virus can target your cat’s white blood cells, which make your feline more vulnerable to bugs. The average survival time of a cat after a diagnosis is three years. Other signs of FeLV in a cat may include:

  • Anemia which leads to weakness and low energy
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea

Diagnosing FeLV is similar to detecting FIV. A test will be used to detect your feline’s immune system’s response, while a repeat test after three to four weeks will be suggested to look for the presence of the virus.

How Can I Prevent FeLV?

There is no cure for FeLV, but similar to FIP and FIV, preventing it is the best way to keep your cat safe. Unlike FIP and FIV, FeLV does indeed have an effective vaccination that is widely used. It can be given when your cat is nine weeks old and does require regular booster infection in order to ensure full protection. Ask your veterinarian about this today.

Contact Us with Any Additional Questions

At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. For any questions regarding FIP, FIV and FeLV, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

Leave a Comment


Email* (never published)


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.