Feline Leukemia & How to Address It
Specific Transfer Risks
The primary transfer vector from one cat to the next is bodily fluids. Whether through saliva or urine, once a cat has been exposed, the risk of infection increases. This can happen in several ways, including cats grooming each other, sharing food and litter areas, catfights, and general physical contact with places infected cats have been in. The virus usually doesn’t spread in the first instance of potential contact, but cats that have increased repeated exposure to an infected cat eventually become infected without a vaccination. From veterinarian observations, mother-to-kitten transmission is widespread, especially among stray cats.
Symptoms and Pet Care for FeLV
Common symptoms of a cat suffering from FeLV include cancer tumor development, anemia, being prone to other infections with a weakened immune system, failure to reproduce successfully, internal swelling and inflammation in the intestines, inflamed mouth area, and internal malfunction of a cat’s immune system in that it starts to attack itself. In addition, infected cats often suffer from various problems, as FeLV creates complications and opportunities for other infections to settle in.
Veterinarians typically apply a blood test on the first exam of any cat, especially one that has just been bought from a private party or adopted or picked up as a stray. After that, a test may be applied a second time in about a month to confirm the diagnosis and a clean bill of health where a cat has been in a high-risk environment for an extended period.
Again, FeLV cannot be cured, even at an animal hospital. Instead, the goal is to make life as easy and comfortable as possible for an infected pet and ensure the cat doesn’t spread FeLV to other felines. Most times, infected cats must be contained inside, restricted to a special diet, and their environment needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly to avoid accidental infection spread. In addition, regular veterinarian visits are increased to monitor for other complications and diseases as the cat’s immune system becomes weakened by the virus. Most cats, with the best conditions, can live up to another two and half years on average once diagnosed.
FeLV Help is Available
Our animal clinic at Georgetown Animal Hospital can confirm a FeLV diagnosis and provide expert guidance on related pet care. Because FeLV remains contagious after diagnosis, proactive maintenance and protection are critical, especially if the cat is around other animals in the household. Call us at (937) 378-6334 to schedule an exam at our animal clinic and for help with FeLV if you suspect your feline is not doing well. We can help, and your cat, even with FeLV, can still live an extended, comfortable life.