Signs Of Feline Leukemia
Feline Leukemia Virus (also called FeLV) can cause serious health issues in cats with deficient immune systems. An apparently healthy cat can also be a latent carrier of the virus, which is why it is important to regularly present your cat to the veterinarian for annual testing. More than fifty percent of the cats which have entered in contact with the virus are able to fight it on their own in a few months and become immune to it, subsequently testing positive.
However, even an immune cat to FeLV can transmit the virus to another cat, which is why it is extremely important to keep a positive tested cat indoors, rather than leaving it free to roam outdoors. Cats which do not have the disease can be vaccinated against it. The owners however, need to pay great care, as a vaccinated cat can also be infected with the virus if not properly supervised.
The Feline Leukemia Virus is transmitted through blood or saliva, which is why fights between cats as well as grooming needs to be minimized. A fetus can also receive the disease while in its mother?s uterus or through its infected mother?s milk. In some cases, even feces and urine have proven to be a cause. This is the reason why healthy cats and those infected with FeLV should be kept separate in the household, using different box litters, if possible, otherwise the virus may keep spreading.
More than eighty percent of the cats identified with the virus at a recurrent testing can be expected to have a negative prognosis in the next three years from the first diagnosis. Medication cannot cure the disease, but regular checkups from the veterinarian can help prevent secondary infection, which is the main cause that cats with weakened immune system due to FeLV die from.
This is why it is important to recognize the signs that a cat may silently show when infected with the Feline Leukemia Virus and go with them to the veterinarian for a checkup, usually twice a year. In the early stages of infection, the cat may not show any visible signs. Later, they may experience loss of appetite, consistent weight loss, bad looking coat, a persistent fever, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or inflammation of the mouth (stomatitis), pale gums.
The virus infected cat may also display an infection of the urinary bladder, the skin or the respiratory tract as well as enlarged lymph nodes. Persistent diarrhea and abortion in females, as well as developing an eye condition are also common signs that the cat may be infected with FeLV. After the infection progresses even further, the cat may suffer from seizures and neurological disorders. Lethargy and breathing difficulty, as well as pale gums are also signs common to an infection with the Feline Leukemia Virus.
An infection with FeLV can cause the immune system to weaken and will cause anemia and, in some extreme cases, lymphoma or cancer of the blood cells. This is why it is really important to monitor your cats recently infected, in order to avoid the progression of the disease.