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What Exactly is FeLV?

What Exactly is FeLV?

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FeLV stands for feline leukemia virus, which is passed from cat-to-cat through saliva. FeLV requires close contact with an infected feline in order to spread and is commonly transmitted when cats groom each other or share a water bowl. Cats most commonly become infected with FeLV when they are young and later will become ill due to the long incubation period. Additionally, kittens in the womb can be infected through the placenta or their mother’s milk.

What Are the Signs of FeLV?

The FeLV virus can target your cat’s white blood cells, which make your feline more vulnerable to bugs. The average survival time of a cat after a diagnosis is three years. Other signs of FeLV in a cat may include:

  • Anemia which leads to weakness and low energy
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea

Diagnosing FeLV is similar to detecting FIV. A test will be used to detect your feline’s immune system’s response, while a repeat test after three to four weeks will be suggested to look for the presence of the virus.

How Can I Prevent FeLV?

There is no cure for FeLV, but similar to FIP, preventing it is the best way to keep your cat safe. Unlike FIV, FeLV does indeed have an effective vaccination that is widely used. It can be given when your cat is nine weeks old and does require regular booster infection in order to ensure full protection.

If you have any questions on FiV or FeLV, please do not hesitate to contact Garden Oaks Veterinary Clinic at 713-659-0650.