This page: Vets and scientific publications list several illness they attribute to FIV - How valid are their claims, what should you look out for?

More about FIV - Illnesses

What are FIV-related illnesses?

This follows on from 'What are the symptoms of FIV?'

The truth is, FIV on its own will do little more than slowly confuse and slow-up the immune system. Without other influences, the process is so slow that most cats would come to the end of their lives quite naturally before the FIV had progressed far enough to be noticed.

Remember, most cats with FIV have also suffered 'straydom'; so, proportionately more cats with FIV have potentially suffered damage to the immune system and possible major organs, due to malnutrition, untreated wounds and infections, all of which will lay these cats open to greater risk of various problems.

It is the 'other influences' that will determine whether or not an FIV cat has illnesses that relate to a confused and slow immune system. The amount of influence on this caused directly by the FIV virus is almost impossible to determine, and it will vary from one cat to another.  The FIV is simply 'one more thing' the cat has going on, which may or may not have a noticeable effect on the cat's health.

There are various 'problems' that are often quoted as being FIV-related - what this really means is that they have been observed in cats that have FIV - but they also occur in cats without the virus. They are really related to a poor immune system, which, as we have already discussed, can come from many other causes more likely to affect them than FIV.

Often quoted FIV-related problems are: mouth and digestive problems, that are also common in many without the virus;  also tumours, which may be more specific to immune-suppressed cats, but not necessarily FIV-caused.

Our own experience with the cats in our sanctuary has shown us the often quoted FIV-related illnesses are no more prevalent with our FIV cats than with any other group of rescued cats - see our sanctuary health record for details - this is also the experience recorded in the 1000 FIV cats project.


There can be many other causes of a poor immune system, but FIV is the easy one to test for.

FIV will often get the blame - quite wrongly!

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