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Feline Leukemia (FeLV) Fighter Pack

Vet-Formulated Natural Support to Help Fight Feline Leukemia

USD $83.90
Feline Leukemia (FeLV) Fighter Pack USD $83.90 Add to Cart

Vet Talks: Understanding Feline Leukemia

Vet Talks 3 min read
feline leukemia

In our veterinary practice in Virginia, we are fortunate to work with such a variety of patients—from chickens to dogs, cats, horses, and more. Sometimes, it’s a quick fix to get our patients happy and healthy, and sometimes the issues are far more complex; but the one constant on the road to good health is an informed animal caretaker. This is true, especially for one of the more devastating diseases we encounter in our clinic— the Feline Leukemia Virus or (FeLV), which has a staggering 85% fatality rate within 3 years of infection.

Prevention and Control through informed cat caretakers are essential to survival. In fact, some cats with feline leukemia virus infection can live without major diseases for several years if they have good supportive care.

So what exactly is Feline Leukemia Virus in Cats?

Feline leukemia virus is a retrovirus that infects cats throughout the world. It is known to cause a variety of cancers, with persistent infection leading to immune suppression and severe anemia.

What cats are the most at risk for FeLV?

  • The virus tends to affects kittens and cats under the age of 2 years old.
  • However, any cat can get FeLV with infection being directly in proportion to the population density of cats (multi-cat households, outdoor cats who mingle with infected cats.)

How does the FeLV Spread?

  • Persistently infected healthy and at-risk cats are carriers of the virus. They can spread the virus through their saliva, which contains large amounts of the virus.
  • Other methods of transmission are urine, blood, tears, and feces.
  • The virus can also spread from mother to kitten, either in the womb or through milk.

What Disorders Are Commonly Caused by Feline Leukemia Virus?

  • Immunosuppression
  • Tumors in cats
  • Lymphoma
  • Reproductive Problems,
  • Inflammation of the Intestines

There are two stages of the FeLV infection in cats.

  • Primary viremia is the early stage of infection. Some cats at this stage can produce an immune response that eliminates the virus from their bloodstreams and halts progression to the secondary stage.
  • The secondary stage is viremia, which is characterized by persistent infection of the bone marrow and other tissue.

What are the symptoms of FeLV infection in cats?

  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures or neurological disorders
  • Poor coat condition
  • Gingivitis and stomatitis
  • Urinary infections
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Persistent diarrhea

How is Feline Leukemia Diagnosed?

We recommend testing for FeLV for all kittens at their first veterinary visit and new cats that will be entering into a household with uninfected cats. Although cats can be tested at any age, it is important to note that infection in newborn kittens may not be detected until weeks or months after birth. Hence, several FeLV tests during the first six months of life may be necessary to feel completely safe.

Infection in newborn kittens may not be detected until weeks or months after birth, so several FeLV tests during the first six months of life may be necessary.

Testing for FeLV involves blood tests, and sometimes x-rays and bone marrow testing.

For testing feline leukemia in kittens, we always recommend the ELISA blood test.

Prevention

We recommend vaccination as a preventative measure depending on the lifestyle of the kitten, or cat (are they living in a multi-cat household, or do they roam freely outdoors).

Indoor cats and cats with no possible exposure to feline leukemia are safe to leave unvaccinated. However, if your cat is mingling with other cats of unknown leukemia status, we recommend giving them kitten boosters.

Treatment and Control

The treatment for Feline leukemia is mainly supportive and includes the treating of infection, anemia, and immune suppression that occurs from this disease.

Leukemia-positive cats and kittens should be kept indoors to keep them from contracting other diseases due to their weakened immune system and preventing them from spreading the disease.

Pet parents should be aware of stress in cats as it lowers their immune system, making it more difficult for them to fight off other infections that they may contract.

There are a few natural supplements that we like to use to aid with the disease.

  • NHV Matricalm is great to help with stress.
  • Felimm helps to combat the overall symptoms of the virus, including strengthening a weakened immune system and increasing the ability to fight infections.
  • Milk Thistle is a great addition as it helps support the liver.

In addition, we recommend a high-quality diet—which is high in protein, clean water, and a clean environment. Adding antioxidants and overall vitamins like NHV Multi Essentials and fish oils like PetOmega further increases the chance for survival.

As we said at the beginning of this blog, an informed cat-guardian is the best chance of survival for kitties everywhere. If you need any additional advice, you can contact us for an online veterinary consultation.

Dr. Hillary Cook DVM

Dr. Hillary Cook DVM

Dr. Hillary Cook is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for over 20 years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets including dogs, cats, and chickens. When time allows, you can find her in the garden or on the tennis court!

Published: June 29, 2015

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