Feline Leukemia Virus is a retrovirus that lowers your cats immune system and can leave your cat prey to a multitude of secondary illnesses. If your cat has a weakened immune system it can be susceptible to blood disorders , infections and even cancer. Feline Leukemia is the chief cause of cancer in cats.
2 to 13 percent of all cats in America have feline leukemia and it is more common in high risk cats like cats that live outdoors , young kittens and cats living with already infected cats.
It is important that you know that there are two stages of feline leukemia. They are primary viremia and secondary virema. But once it reaches the secondary stage there is nothing that can be done for the cat. Secondary illnesses will eventually take the cat with secondary virema but life expectancy after diagnosis will depend on various factors. Some cats have been known to live a few years while others make it only a few weeks.
And you should know that feline leukemia is not leukemia at all but is a retrovirus instead. Yes the disease is a virus and not a cancer.
How to Care for a Kitten : Understanding Feline Leukemia
Please note that cats with feline leukemia can spread the disease to other cats and quite often do. The virus can be spread through saliva , the litter box , biting another cat , using or eating from the food dish of an infected cat and from kittens nursing from their mothers infected with feline leukemia.It is known that the virus can live up to 24 hours in a damp moist environment like a litter box.
What feline leukemia does is cause immunosuppression in healthy cats and then the cat comes down with secondary illnesses. Feline leukemia can have a wide range of effects on cats. Some cats can fight off the infection while others can get the virus and be completely healthy carriers giving the virus to other cats.
Vaccines are now available for feline leukemia and you need to discuss this with your veterinarian. Prevention is always the best medicine.
Some of the signs of feline leukemia are.
1. Aborted litters of kittens in pregnant females.
2. Eye Problems.
3. Neurological disorders, seizures , or behavior changes.
4. Diarrhea that does not get better or go away.
5. Hair falling out or other skin infections.
7. A poor coat with missing spots of hair.
8. Weight loss all at once.
9. Loss of appetite or the cat suddenly stops eating a treat it has always loved.
If your cat has one or more of those symptoms you should make an appointment with your veterinarian and voice your concerns.
You can prolong a cats life that is diagnosed with feline leukemia. But the cat should be confined or quarantined so it can not spread the virus to other cats. If it has not been spayed or neutered it needs to be done now. You don't want a female cat with feline leukemia to become pregnant and have kittens because the odds are that the kittens will be born infected with feline leukemia. The cat will need a nutritious diet and it will need to see the vet on a regular basis. Before you adopt or purchase a cat or kitten they should be tested by your vet for feline leukemia.
Vaccination is recommended for cats that.
1. Go outside on a regular basis. They can easily get exposed to cats with feline leukemia this way.
2. Cats that live in a household where it is known that a cat with feline leukemia already lives.
3. Cats that run any risk of coming in contact with a cat or cats that you do not know the feline leukemia status for.
I hope that the information on this hub page about feline leukemia helps you if you are looking for information on feline leukemia. I strongly suggest you make a appointment with your veterinarian if you think there is any chance your cat may have feline leukemia. You can also discuss if your cat needs a vaccination against feline leukemia.
The content on this page was produced on December 31 2009 for this page by Thomas Byers and is not to be reproduced or copied in any way. If you like this page please link to it.