Feline Leukemia Virus Disease: A Major Threat to your Cat

 

Just like humans, cats can develop very deadly medical conditions. One of the most common and fatal kinds of disease a cat can contract is feline leukemia virus disease, known as FeLV. Leukemia, also found in humans, is a disease of the white blood cells. There are three major types of this leukemia. Today, we can protect our cats from FeLV with a vaccine, so it is essential to have your pet up-to-date with medical care.

With FeLV, there are three disease categories. The first is leukemias, similar to what leukemia is like in humans. This is cancer of the white blood cells. However, not all FeLV diseases are cancer. Lymphosarcoma is the second category. Also cancerous, this disease begins in the lymphoid tissue around the lymph nodes. It affects the intestinal tract, kidneys, liver, spine, brain, blood, and bone marrow. The third category is the non-cancerous diseases that fall under the umbrella of FeLV and include immune suppression, anemia, and arthritis. Some of these medical conditions may also be fatal.

Cats are most commonly exposed to FeLV when they get into fights. FeLV is a virus spread mainly through saliva, and the wounds a cat receives from bites during a war provide an entry point into the body. Cats can also get FeLV from sharing food or water bowls, grooming one another, and transmitting from mother to kittens. If your cat contracts FeLV, there may be many possible outcomes. However, some forms of the disease cannot be treated, so prevention is essential. Remember, though, that a cat can live with the disease for many years, so your vet can help you choose the best course of action. Cats infected with FeLV are dangerous to other cats, so they must live in confined single-cat homes, or you can choose euthanasia.

So far, no studies have found any correlation between this disease in cats and conditions in humans, so your family should be safe. That said, high-risk individuals should avoid contact with a sick animal. This includes newborns, senior citizens, AIDS patients, and chemotherapy patients. Because the virus cannot live for more than a few hours outside the cat, you can safely have cats return to your home as soon as two days after the infected cat is gone. Talk to your vet for more details.

Leave a Comment