Feline Leukemia A Serious Threat To Cats

feline leukemiaHas your cat been tested for feline leukemia?  Is your cat at risk for feline leukemia?  These are important questions because there is no cure and it is 80-90% fatal with most cats dying within three to four years from diagnosis. 

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is one of the most infectious diseases that infects cats.  Cats infected with the FeLV shed a large amount of virus in their saliva, urine, and feces.  Infection to another cat occurs through long-term contact with these bodily fluids.  This can occur through bite wounds but more commonly from mating, grooming, and sharing of food and litter boxes.

 

 

The most important thing you can do for your cat or new kitten is test them for feline leukemia virus.  You can prevent the transmission of this disease by isolating infected cat from all other cats.

Signs of feline leukemia:

  • Anorexia
  • Fever
  • Anemia

Although leukemia or other types of cancers can be caused by FeLV, it is more common to see cats sick from other diseases due to a decreased immune system.

Diagnosis is a simple blood test that can be performed at Guthrie Pet Hospital.  The staff will be able to tell you the results of this test within ten minutes.  Dr. Anna Coffin recommends testing all kittens and any new cat that you bring into your home.

There is no treatment for FeLV.  Cats with symptoms can be treated for secondary infections and often respond initially.

Dr. Anna Coffin says the best way to prevent feline leukemia is to prevent exposure to cats with unknown FeLV status.  If you choose to allow your cat outside, there is a vaccine that will help prevent infection.  However, no vaccine is 100% protective.  If your cat has never had the feline leukemia vaccine, it will need a set of two boosters one month apart and then every year after that.

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