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Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in sick cats in Sri Lanka; prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment

Journal of Dairy, Veterinary & Animal Research
I.V.D.T.P Kumarasinghe, J.Y.C Dharmasuriya

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Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a lentivirus; significant pathogen in cats which causes a syndrome, with many similarities to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The prevalence of disease is currently unknown in Sri Lanka as cage-side test kits for the viruses were not available until recently. This retrospective study evaluated 39 sick cats presented to Rover veterinary hospital since August 2018 till March 2019. They all shared a prior history of being bitten by another cat even though they were presented with different clinical signs. Out of 39, nine cats were positive for FIV anti body which was a share of 23 percent of the population selected. The diagnosis was confirmed by a commercially available ELISA test kit (Idexx SNAP FIV/FeLV Combo ®; IDEXX laboratories, USA); (FeLV-Feline Leukemia Virus).

All the cats were treated for the related diseases along with the treatment for FIV. Lamuvudine was the drug of choice; a class of medications called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) which act by decreasing the amount of viremia. The medication was continued for 3 months in each patient at a dose of 20 mg/kg bid and have stopped once the animal has become clinically normal. The prognosis was determined by the improvement of clinical signs, curing of chronic bacterial infections, improvement of full blood count, FIV/FeLV SNAP and by differential cell count with regards to the lymphoblast percentage reduction in blood smears.

Out of the seven cats who recovered from the secondary infections, constipation and emaciation; blood smears were obtained while they were on Lamuvudine. A gradual reduction or no lymphoblast counts were observed in the blood smear of 4 cats over a period of three months during therapy. Seven cats recovered after the treatment while two cats were ceased. We attained a recovery rate of 77% in critically ill patients.

FIV positivity was associated with a history of bite wounds, male gender. Related clinical signs are most often a reflection of opportunistic infections. Early diagnosis of FIV is important for successful treatment to regain the immunity, better survival rates and screening is essential to prevent the spread of the disease.


FIV, lamuvudine, SNAP, lymphoblast, bites