Shannon's regimen was a bit more aggressive, as he was in an advanced stage of FIV when diagnosed. The normal low range for a WBC count is 4,900 to 20,000. Shannon's was 2800 the firs month and 1400 the second, which indicates the virus is rapidly destroying his white blood cells (2000 is considered critical). For that reason we treated Shannon with Interferon, which helps by stimulating the production of certain types of immune system cells needed to help keep the virus under control. We also added vitamins, anti-oxidants and Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to his diet to further help his immune system. Finally, I kept an eagle eye trained on Shannon for any sign of associated problems, such as skin irritations, diarrhea, or another bladder infection.
Shannon's 18th birthday was celebrated shortly after his diagnosis. He had already beat the odds by living past the average age of cats, and with the aggressive program I've outlined he lived another year of comparative comfort prior to his passing in July of 2001.
1Subsequent to this article's first publishing, an FIV vaccine was developed; however there is controversy as to its effectiveness vs its benefits. Read more about the new vaccine here.
Resources for this article:
Blood Cells and Complete Blood Counts
An Overview of Feline Viral Diseases
How do Cats Get FIV?
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus