FeLV (i.e. feline leukemia virus) is a virus that is unfortunately prevalent in this area. attaches and weakens a cat’s immune system. FeLV infection may follow one of two pathways. In the first pathway, FeLV attacks tissues and organs of the immune system. This attack leaves the cat susceptible to a variety of infectious diseases such as respiratory infections, skin disorders, anemia, mouth infections, poor wound healing, reproductive problems and FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). Most FeLV infected cats die of these related diseases. Cats with a history of chronic disease should be suspect for feline leukemia.
In the second pathway of FeLV infection, cats develop cancer in the form of tumors or leukemia. Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is the number one infectious disease killer of cats.
FeLV is passed from cat to cat by long term contact and about 30% of cats that are exposed to FeLV become permanently infected. Once a cat is permanently infected, FeLV dramatically shortens its life. Approximately 85% of infected cats die within three years, and almost half of these animals die within the first 12 months. Potential carriers of the infection do not develop the disease at the time of exposure, they carry FeLV in their bodies and may become sick and infect other cats if the disease becomes active.
Minimize contact with other cats. A cat is a potential victim of FeLV if it goes outdoors, lives with other cats, or is boarded when the owner is away. The second, more reliable approach is to have all cats you own routinely vaccinated against FeLV.
Signs to watch for: