FIV+ and coronavirus

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Ruthmart
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FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Ruthmart » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:35 pm

Hi there, I adopted two lovely cats (former strays) from a local shelter In January - both were health checked and vaccinated (but not tested for viruses) by the shelter before we took them home. They had runny eyes when we collected them but the shelter told us it was probably just a cold or blocked tear ducts. Unfortunately in the past few weeks both developed more serious health issues.

About a month ago (just four months after we brought her home) the little 18 month old female suddenly became very ill. The vet ran blood tests and told us that she tested positive for FIV and FIP. Despite treatment over several weeks, she repeatedly had a high fever, was unable to eat, her condition worsened and she was really suffering. She developed mouth ulcers and lost her teeth in less than a week. Sadly we had to put her to sleep two weeks ago. This was heartbreaking for us as she'd really settled in despite being quite timid at the start and was such a sweet, playful little cat. She really deserved more time to enjoy her loving new home.

Just over a week later her companion (4 year old male) became lethargic, lost his appetite, started sneezing and had discharge from his eye. The vet found that he had a high fever and ran the same tests. He recovered within about 24 hours of seeing the vet so I had hoped he had simply been brought low from the stress of losing his close companion but the tests show that he is also FIV positive and the vet said he is positive for FIP as well. When I queried the FIP results the vet admitted that this is actually only an indication of being exposed to the coronavirus and not necessarily a confirmed diagnosis of FIP.

My question is: does anyone have any experience of owning a cat that has tested positive for FIV and coronavirus? And do they have any advice? I'd like to know more about the prognosis and what to look out for. My vet has just said all we can do is watch closely but he seems pessimistic. I'm dreading the thought of watching our cat succumb to the virus(es) in the same way as his companion.

Ruth

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Lilith
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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Lilith » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:42 pm

Hi Ruth and welcome and I'm so very sorry to hear about your cats.

I can't answer your question but there are a lot of people on here who can give veterinary advice and support. I must say though that I'm shocked that any rescue shelter should rehome cats to you without a more thorough health check ... guesswork about a 'cold' is just not good enough in these circumstances and I feel you and the cats have had very bad luck.

Good on you for being so devoted to that poor little girl and you must feel as if you're sitting on a time-bomb with your boy; fusses to him and hugs to you. I agree it doesn't sound good with the FIP but you will get support and info on here. All the best, Lil x

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Kay
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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Kay » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:56 pm

A good few years ago I had two kittens from different breeders, and both got the coronavirus - one went on to develop FIP and had to be euthanized at 5 months, but the other recovered and lived another 13+ years, and although he was never tested, he did not pass on any virus to other cats I had subsequent

Boycie's symptoms started with very bad diarrhoea, and he was given something to stop it by the vet, and I have always wondered, although I have no veterinary knowledge to back it up, if he might not have got FIP had the dreadful diarrhoea been allowed to run its course, as it is the body's way of shedding a virus - so when Trigger also got very bad diarrhoea I didn't get any treatment for him, and after a few weeks it gradually stopped and he stayed well

Boycie was treated at the Veterinary College in Bristol, and they advised me that the best chance of keeping Trigger well was to avoid stress, which is believed to contribute to the mutation into FIP of the coronavirus - and that if he was still well after 6 months he could be considered out of the woods

I do hope you might have a similar outcome for your boy

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Ruthmart » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:01 pm

Hi Lil,

Thank you so much for your kind words.

Unfortunately I think I was quite naive as a first time adopter and perhaps a little too trusting that the two of them had both been given a thorough health check.

I can’t regret adopting them as they both deserved a good home and at least I know Ruby (the little girl) had a happy few months but it has been a very painful experience.

My boy has been enjoying a lot of fuss and seems to be well for now so I’m watching closely and keeping my fingers crossed for him.

All the best,

Ruth

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Ruthmart » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:11 pm

Hello Kay,

Thank you for your reply. I’m very sorry to hear about your experience with Boycie but I’m pleased to hear Trigger stayed well.

I have read that coronavirus doesn’t necessarily mean FIP is inevitable. Although I’m worried about whether the fact that Rocky (our boy) is also FIV positive would mean that he may be more likely to succumb due to an already compromised immune system.

Either way I feel you’re right about avoiding stress as I believe that can trigger FIV symptoms too - sadly he has been affected by the loss of his friend Ruby but we’re giving him all the fuss and reassurance he wants. I think that’s probably as much as we can do for now.

Ruth

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by booktigger » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:03 pm

I'm so sorry about this - corona isn't generally tested for because it doesn't really indicate anything. Cats immune systems react in one of 4 ways to corona (which at least 80% of cats come into contact with), if they have a strong immune system, they will deal with it, shed it and be fine for life, if they have a moderate immune system, they will deal with it, but it will lie dormant in their system, it may rear again, but if so, generally over the age of 12, if they have a mild immune system, they will develop dry FIP, which while not curable, can be managed and I have known cats have over 12 months, especially if given interferon. If they have a poor immune system, they will develop wet FIP, which is sadly very nasty. Due to it being connected to their immune system, it generally only affects cats under 6 months or over 12 years, which is probably why your other cat seemed poorly, but bounced back. As well as stress, it is passed on through faeces, so it might be best to keep him as an only cat. Out of interest, what test did they do to determine FIV? I sadly lost a cat to FIP, we were told she was 5, so not the normal cat to develop it, I had another cat at the time, I was told that he needed to stay an only cat for 6 months, just in case, but he never showed any signs of being ill.

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Ruthmart » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:04 pm

Hi booktigger,

Thanks for your reply. I'm really sorry to hear you lost a cat to FIP.

I will be keeping my boy as an only cat - I wouldn't want to risk another cat being infected. He was very unsettled at first since losing his companion but thankfully seems to have settled a bit now and we're giving him all the fuss and attention he wants.

His blood was tested for FIV, FELV and FIP - although I believe that the FIP reference is potentially misleading as my vet later said that the test indicates exposure to coronavirus rather than a diagnosis of FIP and that he could just be a carrier. It was an Idexx test basic screen.

I'm a little worried that his FIV may mean that his immune system is compromised so he could develop FIP especially with the recent stress of losing our other cat but I suppose all we can do try to keep him happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Ruth

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by booktigger » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:35 pm

If I remember rightly, the IDEXX ones are the snap test, which means you get an instant result, but any positive should be followed up be a second test, as they can show a false positive. How long had he been in rescue when you adopted him?

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Ruthmart » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:00 pm

I think you may be right, perhaps we shouldn’t rely too heavily on the one test. He’d been in the shelter for about 7-8 weeks going by his vaccination record. His companion was brought in later so she’d only been there for a few weeks but I think she would have found the experience more stressful. She was a tiny little thing when we got her - not much more than 3kg/6 pounds although she put on a bit of weight during her time with us. He is a big robust boy and weighs about 6.5kg/13 pounds!

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by booktigger » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:53 pm

I would definitely ask for the more reliable one and the vet should have explained that to you. Was he neutered before he went to the rescue?

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Ruthmart » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:00 pm

Unfortunately I don’t think my vet has been terribly clear about the tests and what they reveal - I really had to push him to clarify whether or not the test actually confirmed FIP or just exposure to coronavirus after I’d done my own homework.

No, he wasn’t neutered before he went to the rescue :(

I think it’s likely he has FIV given his background but I’m more concerned about the positive test for coronavirus/FIP. I haven’t been able to find out much about whether the coronavirus is more likely to mutate into FIP in a FIV cat given that their immune systems are already compromised. FIP does seem to be more common in much younger or much older cats.

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by booktigger » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:45 pm

Personally, I would get the more accurate test done first, just to make sure he is FIV+. If he is, I think you would be in the same position as me and Kay, a 6 month wait, then you could possibly have a retest to see if his levels are dropped. However, the fact he had similar symptoms but recovered in 24 hours is a positive sign

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Ruthmart » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:53 pm

Thank you very much for your advice, I really appreciate it.

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Sniper1 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:45 am

The chances of cats developing FIP due to a positive fiv status are only very slightly increased so try not to worry too much and just be prompt with treating any illness that may effect him in future most cats have coronavirus antibodies especially when they've been through rescue a positive test really has no significant relevance to his future health at all especially as that type of test is so basic and only measures positive or negative not actual antibody level which is the guideline usually used to measure a cats FIP risk

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by Ruthmart » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:08 am

Thank you. We are now constantly on the look out for any signs of illness especially given what happened with our other cat. Unfortunately we’ve had to take him to the vet three times in the last couple of weeks for mouth pain - LPGS - and he has just had two teeth removed (he already had two removed at the rescue centre before we got him). He was in so much pain that he had gone off his food. Nothing to do with coronavirus as far as I know but I’ve read that it’s a common symptom associated with FIV.

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Re: FIV+ and coronavirus

Post by booktigger » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:57 am

Aww, poor thing.

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