Updated Veterinary Guidelines for Cat Health: FIV and FeLV

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has updated their testing and management guidelines for the feline retroviruses FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and FeLV (feline leukemia virus).

These two potentially life-threatening illnesses can be managed with proper owner education, testing, and vaccinations.  As the AAFP notes in an article on phys.org:

“Education and early testing can greatly assist in the treatment and management of feline retrovirus infections. Routine veterinary care, when cats are well and when they are sick, can lead to better care and decrease the spread of infection…with regular healthcare and reduced stress, cats infected with retroviruses, especially FIV, may live many healthy years.”

The new guidelines are designed for veterinarians in private practice, as well as those in shelter medicine, because these diseases can spread in multi-cat environments.

Testing is key to identifying infected cats, especially when they are in contact with other cats.  FIV is often spread via saliva in bite wounds, especially in adult males.  About 3-5% of cats in North America have FIV.  FeLV is commonly passed from the mother to her kittens, often through grooming and feeding.  4% of cats in North America are thought to have FeLV.

Vets can download the 2020 guidelines via the AAFP website HERE.  Cat owners interested in learning more about FIV and FeLV can download an electronic owner education brochure HERE.  You can learn more about how to spot an infected cat, testing and vaccinations, and how to care for a cat living with FIV or FeLV.

 

 

Meet FACE Success Story Harvey!

How adorable is Harvey?!

This cute 7 year old pup started experiencing weakness in his back legs.  An exam at San Diego’s Veterinary Speciality Hospital showed that Harvey was suffering from a herniated disc and needed spinal surgery.

“The cost was way beyond what we could afford,” said Harvey’s owner.  FACE Life Sponsor Ruggable provided financial assistance to help Harvey get his operation.

He is now on his way to a full recovery at home with his family!

 

Meet FACE Success Story Snuggles!

Poor little Snuggles had a rough start in life.  His mom Debra found him living on the streets.  Snuggles had a mangled leg and his veterinarian suspected that it was due to either a birth defect or a very early injury.

Snuggles needed a limb amputation to prevent infection and improve his overall quality of life.  Debra was unable to afford the full cost of the surgery, so she and her vet reached out to FACE for help.  We were able to provide them with the needed financial assistance.

“I would like to send a great big thank you to the FACE Foundation for donating towards Snuggles’ surgery. He is doing great after seeing Dr. Morris and Rancho Del Oro Veterinary Hospital for his first follow up visit.  Snuggles and I are so grateful.” – Debra

 

The “Placebo Effect” in Veterinary Medicine

The placebo effect is a known factor in human medicine.  It occurs when a patient feels that they are benefiting from a fake pill or treatment, often given to patients in double-blind studies when researchers are testing new medications.

Is there a placebo effect for pets?  A recent article in The Atlantic addresses this question.

While our pets don’t know what kind of medicine they are getting, we as owners do know.  It turns out that placebos can trick owners into thinking that their pets are feeling better.

In one study on a canine epilepsy drug, 79% of owners with dogs on the placebo reported a reduction in seizures.

How does this happen?  Veterinary experts report that we have “blind spots” about our pets, and our perceptions of their health don’t always match up with reality.  This often happens when pet owners are aware that their pets are being studied and they have an expectation that they will see an improvement.

The placebo effect among pet owners is similar to what’s known as the “caregiver placebo effect.”  When a patient—human or animal—can’t speak about how they are feeling, the caregiver must observe and judge the effects of a treatment.

The article points to one canine arthritis drug study where the perceptions of both owners and veterinarians were compared to actual physical exams.  It turns out that even the vets were guilty of the caregiver placebo effect.

The danger of the veterinary placebo effect is that our pets may continue to suffer while we think that they are feeling better.  Veterinarians note that it’s natural for us to want our pets to feel better, we just have to be aware of our perceptions and expectations.

 

Meet Charlie, FACE’s 2,500th Success Story!

We are celebrating a milestone, our 2,500th life saved!

Meet Charlie, an adorable 5 year old Terrier mix.  Recently, Charlie began to show signs of illness.  Her family brought her to the vet where she was diagnosed with pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the uterus in unspayed female dogs.

Charlie needed emergency surgery.  Her human parents are a senior couple struggling to make ends meet.  Charlie’s mom has needed a wheelchair to get around since an accident, and the family credits Charlie with being a key element of her rehabilitation.

“I honestly credit Charlie with saving my wife’s life. Though she is still wheelchair bound, Charlie helped get her through this tough time. Charlie is always by her side,” reports Charlie’s dad.

Thanks to donations from our friends and supporters, Charlie’s vets at VCA Animal Medical Center of El Cajon were able to provide her with the life-saving treatment she needed.

Thank you to all our friends and veterinary partners for making this milestone possible!