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AIDS Memoires

We've had the cats vaccinated against feline AIDS. It's a relatively new vaccine which was developed in America. It's an offshoot of research into human HIV/AIDS. Perhaps one day there will be a human vaccine as well...

Anyway, feline AIDS is endemic in New Zealand and about 20% of the feline population has it. It is passed on through bites and scratches. Since my cats are constantly fighting with each other, as well as with any other moggy that wanders into view, it seemed a wise precaution to have them vaccinated. Harpo is particularly prone to fighting. Sometimes when you stroke him, you can't feel anything except half-healed scabs! We were told that the AIDS vaccine is only about 80% successful, but nevertheless we decided that any protection was better than no protection at all.

The initial treatment involves 3 injections given at 3-weekly intervals. After that, there's an annual booster. Since we've got three cats, we've spent a grand total of about $500 on the first three injections for each of them. Cats really are very expensive animals sometimes.

Each time we've taken them in for an injection, the vet has given them a general checkup, just to make sure they are in good health. He put Harpo up on his bench and poked and prodded a bit. Then he stuffed a thermometer up Harpo's bum and waited a few minutes. While he waited, he made casual conversation with me.

"Should be an exciting week, next week," he said. "The World cup final."

I made non-committal noises, being less than interested in football. The vet took the thermometer out of Harpo and examined it closely.

"And there's tennis as well," he said. "In fact, it's the Wimbledon final today."

"How did you figure that out just by reading a thermometer?" I asked him, greatly impressed.

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