FeLV (cat leukemia)
Cat lymphocytic virus is a highly contagious retrovirus that causes immunosuppression (immune depletion), secondary infections of various organ systems, and numerous neoplastic (tumorous) and blood abnormalities. FeLV is the leading cause of death in cats whose cause is transmitted through saliva and blood. As FIVs disease is aggressive, so FeLV is a disease of benevolent cats. It is spread by cuddling together, playing and sharing food and water jars. The kittens are at greatest risk up to 4 months of age because they can be infected by their mother (still in the womb, during delivery, through milk, while their mother is cleansed …).It is important to say that they do not harm all cats exposed to the virus. There are three ways to fight cats against viruses that are very important in FeLV diagnosis (which sometimes requires repeating the tests several times):
1. The cat’s immunity is strong enough to completely eliminate the virus from the body.
2. The virus enters the circulation and causes acute illness (most commonly in a short period of time).
3. The virus enters the bone marrow, quiescent, and after a period of time (sometimes more than 4 years) enters the circulation and leads to death.
Diagnosis is most commonly based on the clinical picture together with the positive blood test.
Leukemia should be suspected in every cat with this disease although it may have been FeLV negative for testing. Common clinical findings of FeLV-positive cats include anemia, thrombocytopenia (reduced blood platelet counts), inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) or whole oral cavity (stomatitis), elevated body temperature (hyperthermia), increased lymph nodes, secondary respiratory tract infections, Reproduction (abortions, dead babies, infertility), weakness, lack of appetite, urinary disorders, poor hair quality, and the like.
Infected cats are predisposed to tumor development for several months to several years after infection, most commonly with malignant lymphomas and lymphoscopy. In such cats, a frequent finding is difficult breathing due to the presence of tumors in the chest cavity.
Cat’s leukemia is an unbearable disease and unfortunately, 85% of cases are dead within three years of diagnosis. FeLV-positive cats require veterinary examinations immediately after the first symptoms of the disease to respond as soon as possible.In addition to quality nutrition and vitamins, the use of immunogenic preparations and antiviral medicines, cats need to provide life with as little stress as most often means that the cat should not be out but would be just a home cat in the apartment or home.
The positive side of this whole story is that there is a vaccine against cat leukemia. Prior to vaccination, it is necessary by testing to confirm that the cat is FeLV-negative. Vaccination is repeated once a year. It should be noted that, like any vaccine, vaccination does not represent a 100% protection, but significantly reduces the risk of illness.
Testing on cat aids and leukemia is routinely carried out with a snap test and simultaneously checking both the diseases. Several drops of blood are needed, and the results are visible in 10 minutes.