How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 33257
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Dr. Michael Salkin is online now

I have been told that FIS eventually reaches the affected

This answer was rated:

I have been told that FIS eventually reaches the affected cat's brain. Are there known symptoms, and can anything be done? My cat (16) has been diagnosed with FIS and is showing what seem to be spastic twitches. He also has epilepsy for which he has been prescribed valium (quarter of a 5-milligram tablet daily), and has remained seizure-free since taking it - approx. 13 years. The FIS diagnosis was about one and a half years ago. Thank you. Alice Zechbauer

Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
Alice, would you please clarify what the FIS acronym stands for? Cats can contract the viruses FIP and FIV but FIS has stumped me.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Dr Salkin,

Thank you for your response, and please accept my apologies for stumping you: I thought "Syndrome" and wrote "S".

On 14th June 2014, our cat tested positive for FIV but the antigen Fel.V was negative. He was not viraemic. Since then he has been relatively healthy with one very hefty dose of gingivitis in August of last year. It required two consecutive ten-day courses of anti-biotics to clear it up. Generally, he eats well but sometimes eats virtually nothing while, at others, he binge-eats everything in sight. The twitches I mentioned occur at intervals, but yesterday evening they were particularly marked. Additionally,from time to time, he appears to be disorientated and even fearful. On such occasions he hides under a table with a floor-length tablecloth for hours on end. He is very much an outdoors cat, free to come and go as he pleases.

I hope I have clarified the situation somewhat. Our vet has recommended he be given Renes Viscum Comp., a homeopathic support for his kidneys which appear to be compromised. I give it to him every day and it does stop his vomiting.

Thanking you for your patience and help,

I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Alice Zechbauer

Thank you! To answer you directly, the twitches represent simple partial seizures which would be consistent with his diagnosis of epilepsy but also with a newer diagnosis of brain tumor at his advanced age - a meningioma is most likely. Yes, FIV can cause neurologic signs as well and in those cats, antiviral treatment can be considered. This would involve treatment with AZT (5 to 10 mg/kg orally every 12 hours).
A cerebrospinal fluid tap and MRI are the advanced diagnostics necessary to clarify the etiology of those twitches but I don't believe either to be appropriate at his age. Presumptive therapy with a more potent anticonvulsive drug and/or AZT would be more reasonable to me.
Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Dr Salkin,

Thank you for your answer. It is much appreciated.

At the time of diagnosis, our vet said he did not think AZT would contribute much to the cat's well-being, apparently, since it is not as effective in cats as in humans, and cats can live a fairly normal life with FIV, as has been our experience so far.

Now that his symptoms have worsened,as it were ,I'll take the cat to see our vet but, considering his age, I do not wish to cause him too much unnecessary distress. Visits to the vet cause him to panic, with the result that he disappears afterwards, making it difficult to ensure that he receives his medication. I agree with you that a more potent anti-convulsive drug may be needed, but I'll have to have it prescribed. I shall also discuss further diagnostic tests re a brain tumour with our vet, but he will probably be of your opinion.

I looked meningioma up. Since it seems to grow slowly, the cat's age is certainly a basic consideration.

Thank you again for your very valuable advice.

Yours sincerely,

Alice Zechbauer

You're quite welcome, Alice. I appreciate your pragmatism.
I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you, Dr Salkin and I will let you know what our vet here in Vienna (Austria) says.

Alice Zechbauer

Speak to you soon!
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.
Please disregard the info request.