Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a viral infection that attacks the immune system of cats. It is a retrovirus similar to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and a syndrome similar to AIDS occurs in cats. Affected cats may have a variety of symptoms including infections caused by a poorly functioning immune system, anemia and low blood-cell counts, infections of the gums and mouth, cancer or neurologic disease.

FIV is not contagious to people; it is an infectious disease spread from cat to cat, primarily by biting. FIV has been found in the mother’s milk and can be transmitted from mother to kitten. Transmission among household cats through normal contact is thought to be unlikely. Outdoor and male cats are predisposed.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • FIV is diagnosed through blood tests such as an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), IFA (indirect immunofluoresence) or Western blot test. Cats that have been vaccinated for FIV will have positive test results. For this reason, only unvaccinated cats should be tested.
  • Treatment depends on the disease process, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Nutritional support is important to maintain health. Masses may be biopsied and surgically removed.  Affected cats should be kept indoors to prevent spread of the virus. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.


What to Watch for*:

  • Chronic infections
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite


*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday:
Walk Ins: Check-in starts at 9:45am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)


Saturday Hours

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM


24 Hour Emergency Care:


Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA



4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA

VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA

Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue

North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd



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