Menu

Location

Feline Leukemia Virus: What You Need to Know

feline leukemia
Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a virus that weakens your cat's immune system. Unfortunately, when the immune system does not function properly, your cat may be more likely to develop other diseases, such as cancer and blood disorders.

How Cats Contract Feline Leukemia

Cats get feline leukemia from other cats. The virus is spread in saliva, urine, feces, nasal secretions and milk from nursing mothers. When an infected cat bites or grooms another cat, that cat may develop the virus. If a pregnant cat has feline leukemia, the kittens might be born with the disease or may develop it after nursing. Because kittens have weaker immune systems than older cats, they are more likely to suffer from the virus. Cats can also spread the virus by sharing food dishes or litter boxes; although this does not happen very often.

Symptoms of Feline Leukemia

There may be no symptoms of the disease during the earlier stages. In the later stages, symptoms may be similar to those that are also typical of other types of viruses. Depending on the stage of the disease, a cat infected with feline leukemia may experience:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Gradual weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Eye disorders
  • Pale gums or inflammation of the gums
  • Poor coat
  • Anemia
  • Skin, bladder or upper respiratory tract infections
  • Seizures
  • Behavioral changes
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Diagnosis and Treatment

Feline leukemia is diagnosed via a blood test that detects a protein found in the virus. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease. Many infected cats die within two to three years of being diagnosed. Although there is no treatment for feline leukemia, symptoms can be treated to keep your cat more comfortable. If weight loss is a problem, nutritional supplements will help your cat receive necessary nutrients. Your cat may get sick more often because of his weakened immune system, but these infections can often be treated with antibiotics.

Prevention

The FeLV vaccine will help prevent your cat from developing feline leukemia, but it does not offer an absolute guarantee that your cat will never get the virus. The best way to protect your furry friend is to keep him or her indoors. When cats roam, they are more likely to come in contact with infected cats that may transmit the virus through a bite.

Before you bring a new pet into your home, make sure that it has been tested for the feline leukemia virus. If one of your cats does develop the virus, separate it from your other cats to prevent the spread of the disease.

Has your cat had an examination and feline leukemia shot recently? If not, give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:00 am

7:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:00 am

7:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:00 am

7:00 pm

Thursday:

7:00 am

7:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am

7:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am

1:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Testimonial

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Dr. Hart and Madison were ABSOLUTELY AMAZING with my dog. Both of them made me comfortable the entire time. My dog can be a bit overwhelming to those that don't know her because she LOVES people. I kept apologizing for her wanting to be hugged and so excited. It can be embarrassing sometimes. They both assured me that it wasn't a problem and they both actually showed love to her. That really made my heart happy! Thank you all so much I really appreciate it."
    Maranda A.
  • "Wonderful visit! Caring Doctors and staff really make this a top shop vet office. Recommend without reservation!"
    Elizabeth L.
  • "Less than 24 hours after our visit, our dog's symptoms have improved dramatically! He is feeling a lot better already. This is why we always turn to PVVC!"
    Raina C.
  • "We took our bunnies to Dr. Hart and she was the best! One of them had an infection and Dr. Hart was so sweet and gentle with her in her treatment. My son had been very distressed about the situation and she treated him so nicely. We will definitely be back!"
    Annissa F.
  • "My Harley loves going here because he feels loved back by everyone. Dr Mike takes very good care of him."
    Jan R.