FeLV Facts Diagnosis and Transmission

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A seven-month-old kitten who had abruptly stopped eating was recently brought into the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital to see me. A few months earlier, Felix, a fuzzy tiny black and white female, had been discovered running around a dumpster outside a Manhattan grocery store. After some mild prodding, her new owner concluded that a cat was exactly what her quiet studio apartment needed and snatched her up. She brought Felix to a nearby vet, who performed a complete physical examination and administered the standard immunizations. The kitten had undergone spaying shortly after.


Felix was suffering from weakness, lethargy, and a sudden loss of appetite when she was introduced to me around three weeks following her spay procedure. Her gums were ghostly white, which I immediately recognized as a telltale symptom of acute anemia. The remainder of the test, though, was largely routine. I thus performed a FeLV test on Felix as my initial action.

I found it depressing that a vet would examine a kitten obtained off the street, vaccinate her, and have her spayed without first checking to see if she was infected with this lethal virus. I noted that Felix’s prior medical records didn’t show that the feline leukemia virus had ever been tested on her (FeLV). I took a little blood from her leg and performed the test right here. My biggest nightmare came true ten minutes later when Felix’s test result came back positive.

What is FeLV?

One of the most dangerous viral diseases that infects cats is the feline leukemia virus. It is brought on by a retrovirus, which can permanently infect a host by integrating its genetic material into the host’s DNA. Once within the animal, the viral DNA can lead to a number of issues, such as the development of cancerous cells from normal cells. In Felix’s instance, the virus was stopping her bone marrow from creating red blood cells as a result of which she had severe anemia.

Young kittens are particularly vulnerable to FeLV illness and infection. Over 16-week-old kittens and adult cats appear to be less susceptible to this illness and to have a strong natural resistance to it. Even though some infected cats may live for many years, the sickness’ progression varies from animal to animal based on factors like age, general immunity, and the particular viral strain that is causing the infection. Treatment is frequently ineffective once a cat starts exhibiting symptoms; they frequently deteriorate quickly and pass away as a result of this illness.


The virus feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) belongs to the same family. Similar to the feline leukemia virus in how it affects cats, but frequently less lethal. If a kitten tests positive for FIV, her mother is more likely to contract the disease than the kitten (the kitten gets her antibodies from her mother via the milk). When the kitten reaches the age of six months, a repeat examination is advised.

How Safe is Your Cat?

The American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Academy of Feline Medicine Advisory Panel outlined the conditions under which cats should be tested for the feline leukemia virus in a paper titled Feline Retrovirus Testing and Management from 2001. No of the age of the cat, the poll suggests testing be done before adoption. To avoid exposing resident cats to the herpes virus, it is especially crucial if the adopted cat will be put into a home with other cats.


Only cats with habits that put them at risk for exposure to the virus are advised to get the vaccine. Cats who may come into contact with feral, outdoor, indoor/outdoor, or other cats who have the virus should all receive vaccinations. Indoor cats with no possibility of contact with other cats are unlikely to get the disease. It’s crucial to remember that the vaccine only partially guards against illness. Cats at risk should have an initial vaccination as kittens, a booster dose three weeks later, and then an annual booster vaccine.

I was forced to put Felix to death before her illness got worse because she had no viable treatments and a poor prognosis for survival. The advisory panel’s recommendations are followed by the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. All cats adopted through our animal placement division have their feline leukemia virus status checked. Any cat that is offered for adoption must first pass a negative test.

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By catfoodsite.com

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