Feline Diseases – FeLV

FeLV – Feline Leukemia Virus

  • Veterinarian can perform test
  • Preventative vaccination is available, best to immunize kittens.
  • Vaccinations intervals: initial vaccination is followed by a second dose 3 or 4 weeks later, with annual vaccination essential to maintain immunity.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is a retrovirus (classed as a Y-Retrovirus) that infects cats and is the leading cause of death in cats, killing 85% of persistently infected felines within three years of diagnosis. FeLV can be transmitted from infected cats when the transfer of saliva or nasal secretions is involved, including bites, sharing food and water bowls, and from simply living together. Mother cats can pass the disease along to their kittens, and kittens are more likely to contract the disease than adult cats.

The virus commonly causes anemia or lymphoma, but because it suppresses the immune system, it can also predispose cats to deadly infections.

If not defeated by the animal’s immune system, the virus can cause diseases which can be lethal.

Symptoms of Feline Leukemia Virus

Cats infected with FeLV may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pale gums
  • Yellow colour in the mouth and whites of eyes
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Bladder, skin, or upper respiratory infections
  • Weight loss/Anorexia and/or loss of appetite
  • Poor coat condition / Disheveled or Unkempt coat / Not thoroughly groomed as usual
  • Progressive weakness and lethargy
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Reproductive problems like sterility in unspayed female cats
  • Stomatitis – Oral disease that includes ulceration of gingiva

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