Feline Leukemia - What You Need to Know

Regardless if you plan to keep your cat completely indoors or decide to allow them to spend some time outdoors, it's important you know about a feline infectious disease called Feline Leukemia Virus.

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is an infectious disease that can be transmitted from one infected cat to another through transmission of saliva, feces, urine, lactation, blood and respiratory secretions. This virus can weaken the immune system, allowing your cat to be susceptible to other infectious diseases. In some cases FeLV can also contribute to the formation of tumors or leukemia which are forms of cancer.

Some cats can be carriers and not show any obvious symptoms, but they can still transmit the disease. This is important to consider if you plan to introduce a new feline into your family. At Carver Lake Veterinary Center, we strongly encourage testing for this infectious disease in a kitten as early as 6 weeks of age. If you have adopted a new adult cat, we recommend testing immediately, especially before introducing this new friend to your feline family at home. The test consists of a simple blood test, performed in the clinic with rapid results, which tests for Feline Leukemia Virus, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Heartworm Disease.

There is no cure for Feline Leukemia, so prevention is key. Be aware that a reliable vaccine is readily available at veterinary clinics. If you have not vaccinated your cat, ask yourself these questions:

Does your cat spend any time outdoors? This would include felines that are allowed access to your deck, porch, yard or free-roam the neighborhood.

Does your indoor cat sit at the door waiting for the chance to escape?

Do you know your cat’s history? Did you adopt your feline friend or has he/she been in your care for years?

Are you looking to introduce a new cat with your current one? If so, please make sure that your current cat has been recently tested for FeLV and FIV. Remember, some felines can be carriers and may not show any signs of illness.

If you have any further questions regarding Feline Leukemia or other feline infectious diseases, please do not hesitate to contact our professional medical team at Carver Lake Veterinary Center for the most up to date information, treatment and prevention options available.


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