04 Sep Feline leukemia
Although feline leukemia bears this name, leukemia, is a very dangerous viral disease (not tumoral, although it can cause them), without cure, and highly transmissible between street cats and cats not properly vaccinated. So it is very important its early identification in the veterinarian and prevention through vaccination.
As we have said feline leukaemia, or FeLV, is a very common retrovirus among cats to whom the affectation causes a depression of the immune system. The affectations that causes mostly are growth problems in small cats and increase the possibility of developing some type of cancer, but can lead to death in cats.
The main symptoms of feline leukemia in cats can be very varied. They usually suffer from various diseases, febrile states, lethargy, loss of appetite and weight, poor hair quality, generalized weakness, anemia, infections … and often develop some form of cancer.
We want to emphasize above all that the feline leukaemia virus does not affect other animals or humans, only cats.
The transmission of feline leukaemia occurs by direct contact and exchange of body fluids between cats. This means that it can be transmitted from a sick cat to a healthy one through grooming, fighting, biting, mating or sometimes even sharing feeders or drinkers. It is also transmitted through breast milk.
When a cat is infected with feline leukaemia the degree of disease depends on its immune system; three things can happen. A part of the cats, the strongest, are immunized. Other cats outgrow the virus, they do not get sick, but they remain as carriers with the latent virus that can be reactivated at any time. The last part of cats are infected; they can continue with a good quality of life thanks to veterinary treatment or they can develop diseases related to the feline leukaemia virus.
There are no medications or veterinary drugs to treat feline leukemia virus; the only thing the veterinarian can do is to do supportive treatments for symptoms and diseases caused so that cats have a good quality of life.
As feline leukaemia is a disease without cure that affects our cats is so important its prevention through the vaccination of the veterinarian. The feline leukaemia vaccine is able to prevent infection of healthy cats, but if a cat is already sick it will not be effective. Healthy cats can be liberated, with an efficiency of almost 100%, from the feline leukaemia disease. It is therefore advisable that the veterinarian vaccinate all cats, both those who leave home and those who do not.
In the veterinary center Animal Salut we launch a campaign of detection and prevention of feline leukemia; for all those cats that have spent the vacations in camping sites or houses of vacations.