This is the virus that causes the Feline Leukemia infection in cats. If
your cat tests positive for this virus, that means that it has been exposed and may or may not become sick. Some cats
are able to fight the virus off on their own, possibly even testing negatively for it in the future. Others may fight
the virus off temporarily but remain a chronic carrier, and can become ill later in life in response to stress or immunosuppressive
drugs (steroids). The remainder who become sick with the virus will succumb within 2 years.
The nature of Feline Leukemia is to suppress the immune system, therefore, there are
no specific symptoms. Usually the cat is just "sickly" (thin, eye discharges, diarrhea, and/or respiratory symptoms).
Cats are often anemic and can have various types of cancer. These symptoms do not occur from the virus directly, rather
the virus impairs the cat's ability to fight off other diseases.
Feline Leukemia Virus is spread through mainly through saliva (grooming, bite wounds,
food bowls, sneezing). It can also be spread through urine, tears, feces, and from mothers to kittens. There is
no treatment except good nursing care when any ill episode occurs. Infected cats should be isolated from other cats
to avoid spread of the virus. Areas where a positive cat has been should be disinfected with a 1:30 chlorox solution
and other cats not allowed there for 30 days.
A 2 dose vaccine is available that offers greater than 90% protection. Kittens
are best vaccinated at 9-10 weeks and again at 12-13 weeks. Animal house requires testing for the virus before vaccination,
since a vaccination could cause a cat that is already positive to begin showing symptoms. Some feel that Feline Leukemia
vaccination is not necessary in indoor cats, but we've seen cases in indoor cats, and there's too much of it around to take the