General information

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) belongs to the family Retroviridae. It is closely related to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) but is not infectious for humans. Since FIV is mainly transmitted through bite injuries, the prevalence of infected animals is highest in the group of uncastrated male cats over five years. FIV infection is spread worldwide. The prevalence in Germany is at approximately 3 – 5.5%. The virus persists for life. It has a clear tropism for T lymphocytes and macrophages. Similar to the clinical symptoms of HIV-infected patients, the course of FIV infection is often divided into four stages, with the final stage also being referred to as AIDS. However, transitions are smoother and the phase with no clinical signs is often longer than in humans. Detection should be performed in chronic recurrent and treatment-resistant infections, particularly in the oral cavity and the respiratory tract.