Cats suffer from AIDS: Can they infect you?

The feline immunodeficiency virus or feline AIDS is a disease that affects three of every ten cats in the world

Cats suffer from AIDS: Can they infect you?

Leer en español: Los gatos sufren de SIDA: ¿te pueden contagiar?

Feline AIDS, produced by the feline immunodeficiency virus, affects 11% of the world population of cats. As in humans, this disease is responsible for damaging and destroying the cells of the immune system, making it vulnerable to other infections and can trigger the death of the animal at its most advanced stage.

The form of transmission of the disease is, generally, by scratches or bites of other infected cats. According to the newspaper Mis Animales, until now it has not been proven that feline AIDS can be transmitted through sexual intercourse or through the mother during pregnancy.

You can also read: Are you a dog or a cat person? Find out here 

Since the virus acts destroying the cat's defenses, some of the symptoms, according to the newspaper El Mundo, are:

  • Fever
  • Inflammation of the tongue and gums
  • Difficulty to breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological disorders that cause disorientation
  • Alterations of the balance, as well as the loss of electrical impulses in the nerves of the extremities

If your pet has any of these warning signs it is essential that you go to your trusted veterinarian to perform a VIF test in which, only with the animal's blood, results will be obtained. Try doing it twice to be sure of the diagnosis.

Is feline AIDS transmitted to humans?

According to Janet Sandí, veterinarian of the organization Animalia, it is impossible for a cat to transmit the virus to humans because its DNA is genetically incompatible with ours.

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"That's a myth, people have the bad idea that by a bite a person is going to transmit this type of AIDS," explained the doctor.

"In case you bite someone, the treatment is the same as that which should have a person who puts a rusty nail in the foot, you should wash the wound and go straight to the doctor," Sandí added for the newspaper La Teja.

In addition, it is not possible to transmit the virus to dogs or to any animal other than the same cats, that is, it only infects those of the same species.

Can this disease be avoided or treated?

As explained by veterinarian Luis Tabilo of the University of Chile, there is still no vaccine to treat the disease, so the best way to prevent the spread of your pet is through sterilization or avoiding interaction with stray or unknown cats.

However, with the proper care, a positive cat with the virus can live for ten years. A balanced diet that avoids raw meat, eggs and unpasteurized milk will be enough to reduce the risk of contracting food bacteria and with deworming every two or three months.


LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez
Translated from "Los gatos sufren de SIDA: ¿te pueden contagiar?"

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