A Primer on Feline Leukemia

by Kevin Smith Author

Feline leukemia is an infectious disease affecting around 3% of cats in the United States. Since it can be fatal, pet owners should learn and take the appropriate measures to protect their beloved companions from this illness. Here's critical information they should know.

What Is It?

This highly contagious disease is caused by the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). It spreads when healthy cats come in contact with infected ones for a prolonged time. Large quantities of the pathogen are found in the saliva, and they're transmitted through mutual grooming, sharing food, and biting.


FeLV weakens a cat's immune system, making them prone to other illnesses and complications. Despite its namesake, it isn't a form of cancer. But, it can lead to that. As the disease progresses, infected animals can develop tumors, so it should be detected immediately.

What Are Its Signs?

It's difficult to notice this medical condition since it usually doesn't have signs during its early stages, which last for weeks, months, or years. The infected animal's health deteriorates over time until they show the following symptoms:

·         Anemia

·         Eye Inflammation

·         Fever

·         Lethargy

·         Pale Gums

·         Persistent Diarrhea

·         Recurrent Infections

·         Unusual Breathing

·         Weight Loss

How Is It Diagnosed and Treated?

Owners who suspect that their feline is infected with FeLV should go to a veterinarian who will conduct a simple blood test. Sometimes, a second examination after 8 to 12 weeks is needed to verify whether the cat carries the virus. When the doctor confirms the infection, they'll advise appropriate measures.


Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment to eliminate the virus from a feline's body. If they acquire other infections, the veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics. Their immune system has already weakened, so it's also recommended to keep them indoors to avoid contracting more diseases.

How Is It Prevented?

Knowing that this disease is difficult to treat must be scary for owners, but the good news is it's preventable. The best way to ensure that felines won't acquire FeLV is to vaccinate them, especially if there are many of them inside the house. Veterinarians typically give two injections initially and regular boosters periodically to maintain the animal's immunization. These measures are also helpful:


·         Keep pets indoors to avoid contact with potentially infected animals.

·         If the pet will be allowed outdoors, supervise them.

·         Visit the veterinarian at least twice a year for checkups.


Feline leukemia is a serious condition, so it should be diagnosed right away, if not prevented. Owners who want to safeguard their beloved animals from this illness should look for veterinary clinics that offer a pet checkup in Jacksonville. Through regular screening and up-to-date vaccinations, cats will be protected from diseases. 

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About Kevin Smith Senior   Author

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Joined APSense since, December 7th, 2016, From Utah, United States.

Created on Mar 24th 2020 05:01. Viewed 302 times.


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