In addition to common feline diseases such as distemper, herpesvirus and calcivirus, feline leukemia (FeLV) is another serious disease to understand. While we normally associate leukemia with a blood cancer, it’s not the same for cats. FeLV is actually a viral infection that can suppress a cat’s immune system and leave them vulnerable to bacterial, viral, fungal, and other infections, and it can even cause certain types of cancers in cats. The worst part of all? Once a cat contracts the virus, symptoms can be managed, but the disease can not be cured.
This is a contagious disease and generally transmitted when a cat comes into contact with saliva from an infected cat. An infected cat can pass it on to a healthy cat during normal kitty social behaviors such as grooming or sharing food and water bowls. An infected mother can also pass FeLV to her kittens and the kittens can be born with the viral infection. FeLV can also be found in lesser amounts in tears, urine, and feces. Do your cats share a litter box? This could be a source of infection in multi-cat households or anywhere that multiple cats reside.
Although this disease cannot be cured, it CAN be prevented! VIP Petcare can test your cat for FeLV with a simple blood test at your next visit and give your cat the protection they need with a vaccine. We begin vaccinating cats against feline leukemia at 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age and recommend vaccination every year after that.
Vaccinations are and should be seen as an important part of your cat’s healthcare routine, especially to protect your cat against diseases that can’t be cured! Our veterinarians will be happy to answer any questions you have about recommended health care for your indoor cat during your visit to a clinic. If you have questions, feel free to visit our staff at a Community Clinic near you or call our HelpDesk at (800) 427-7973.