The feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) cannot be transmitted to humans, a veterinarian said on the eve of World AIDS Day on Sunday.
FIV bears similarities to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and causes an AIDS-like syndrome in cats.
Cats infected with FIV might show symptoms such as weight loss, loss of appetite, rough fur texture, diarrhea, anemia, and inflammation around the mouth and gums, said Hsieh Yu-ta (謝侑達), a veterinarian at a government-run animal treatment and rescue center in New Taipei City.
However, some felines might not display any symptoms at all, Hsieh said, adding that FIV cannot be transmitted to humans, just as HIV cannot be transmitted to cats.
There is no treatment for FIV, and the most effective method for prevention is not allowing house cats to come in contact with strays, he said.
Cat owners should not worry too much if their cats are infected with FIV, as the virus is not as deadly to cats as HIV is to humans, with most infected cats living normal and healthy lives, said another veterinarian at the Bali Animal Shelter in New Taipei City.
However, to prevent the virus spreading, infected cats should not be let outside, he said, adding that neutering a cat can lower its desire to roam.
Meat should be thoroughly cooked before being fed to an infected cat to kill parasites, which, if ingested, might cause health complications, he said.
New Taipei City Department of Agriculture Director-General Lee Wen (李玟) said he wanted to raise awareness of FIV on World AIDS Day as part of the department’s efforts to curb the spread of the feline disease.
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