Leukemia in Cats: causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Feline Leukemia Virus (FLV) is another name for leukemia in cats. When compared to trauma, it is the second most fatal condition for cats. Within three years of the diagnosis, 85% of cats who have it die.

Feline leukemia typically causes anemia or lymphoma, but because it also compromises the immune system, it may also pave the path for the emergence of viruses that are more dangerous.

It’s crucial to remember that a cat may not die after being exposed to the feline leukemia virus. Seventy percent of cats who contract the virus are either able to stave off infection or get rid of it on their own.

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causes of leukemia in Cats

Feline leukemia is a contagious illness that can only be passed from cat to cat and not from person to person or animal to animal. Spit, blood, urine, and cat feces are the most common ways in which it is spread from one cat to another.

However, the virus only typically survives for a short time outside of its host’s body. The most typical method for the virus to spread is through fighting amongst cats. In the womb or during breastfeeding, kittens can also contract the virus.

Cats do not show many symptoms of the virus, which is typically transferred by healthy cats. This means that a cat who appears healthy could actually have the illness.

symptoms of leukemia in cats

Here are some of the symptoms that could be exhibited by a cat who has developed leukemia: 

  • Yellow colors in the mouth and white area of the eye;
  • Swollen lymph nodes;
  • Pale looking gums;
  • Fever;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Reproductive issues in female cats;
  • Difficulty in breathing;
  • Weakness;
  • Poor coat condition;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Weight loss;
  • Respiratory infection.
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diagnosis of leukemia in Cats

In many different methods, the veterinarian can identify the illness. He can start by doing an ELISA, a quick blood test that determines whether FELV proteins are present in the body. It is possible to detect early infections in cats using this highly sensitive test. Stronger-immune cats occasionally succeed in curing the infection in a matter of months and will finally test negative.

Another blood test called IFA, which can be performed by the vet. By doing so, the infection’s advanced state can be ascertained. Cats who test positive for the virus are unlikely to be able to rid themselves of it. Instead of in your vet’s office, the IFA test is carried out in a laboratory.

Treatment of leukemia in Cats

Leukemia-infected cats typically pass away three years after receiving a prognosis. However, regular trips to the vet’s office and excellent health practices will lessen any pain a cat may feel and guard against subsequent infections of many kinds.

Additionally, laboratory tests, parasite control, and twice-yearly physicals for your cat are recommended since they help avoid difficulties and catch issues early. FeLV-positive cats need to be neutered and kept inside.

Unfortunately, there is currently no treatment for FeLV infection in cats. However, subsequent infections can be treated when they manifest, and chemotherapy can be given to cats who have cancer. Cats with extensive lymphoma or compromised bone marrow cannot be treated, nevertheless.

How to prevent your cat from developing leukemia

  • Cats who spend more time outside are more likely to develop leukemia. Keep your cat inside and away from diseased cats as a result.
  • Cats who are at a high risk of contracting the virus through exposure can also receive vaccinations. Prior to receiving the vaccine, cats should have tested negative for leukemia. A minimum of 30 days should pass after any potential exposure before the test is conducted.
  • Before moving into a home with numerous cats, cats older than 8 weeks should be tested for the virus. Additionally, even after vaccination, new cats shouldn’t be brought into a home with a cat who has leukemia because they run the danger of contracting the disease themselves.
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