Species affected: Cats
Background: The virus is similar to the HIV virus in humans, and is usually latent for long periods of time before appearing as an immune suppression causing chronic illnesses and infections. The disease in cats is milder than is HIV in humans. It is most common in non-neutered males, as it is transmitted by saliva in bite wounds.
Symptoms: Non-specific signs including fever, weight loss, diarrhea, etc. may be seen. There is usually an initial increase in common diseases, especially respiratory disease, with more extreme symptoms and longer recovery time than expected. Affected animals are more easily infected with diseases such as FeLV or FIP. In the most severe form, there is extreme immune weakness, suppression of the white blood cells, anemia, and death.
Diagnostics: Testing for the virus is available, but no one test is fully diagnostic. There is no vaccine available.
Special Notes: Transmission of the disease requires direct contact and transmission of bodily fluids (most often saliva via a bite).
Principles for Supplementation: Support for the immune system is critical while using herbal products to reduce the viral load.