Feline Leukemia

Today, July 15th, is Feline Leukemia Day. FeLV is one of the most common infectious diseases Fluffy can catch. According to statistics from Cornell University, about two to three percent of our feline friends are afflicted. Read on as a local Anderson, IN vet goes over some basic information about this dangerous disease.


Feline leukemia, or FeLV, is a viral disease that weakens cats’ immune systems, rendering them extremely vulnerable to secondary infections and to certain diseases, such as cancer. A FeLV diagnosis is definitely not good news. The disease can significantly lower Fluffy’s lifespan. However, it’s not the end of the world. Many kitties go into remission, and some show no symptoms at all. With good care, your feline pal may still have plenty of quality time left for playing, pouncing, and being adorable.


While FeLV is often asymptomatic in its early stages, the disease will take a toll as it progresses. Warning signs can vary drastically. Lethargy and weakness are two of the common ones. A kitty with FeLV may not have the energy to do much more than move back and forth between her beds, food dishes, and litterbox. Other signs to watch for include reduced appetite, unkempt fur, fever, and pale gums. FeLV may also cause skin infections, UTI/bladder problems, or respiratory problems. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these things.


There is some good news here. Not all FeLV-positive kitties get sick. Some develop a resistance to the disease, and just go on to live their nine lives as usual. However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook as far as special care. You’ll need to keep up with your feline buddy’s veterinary care needs. Be careful to keep Fluffy inside, as she can still infect other cats. It’s also crucial to have your pet fixed! If she were to reproduce, the kittens may become infected, which wouldn’t bode well for them. 

Diet is also crucial. Provide your furry friend with nourishing, high-quality food. Your vet may recommend adding certain supplements. Aside from that, just be diligent about keeping Fluffy’s beds, bowls, toys, and litterbox clean. Last but not least, make sure Fluffy feels safe and loved. Pets’ mental and emotional health can definitely affect them physically. Keep that motor going!

Do you have questions about feline leukemia? Contact us, your Anderson, IN pet hospital, today!

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