What is Feline Leukaemia Virus?
Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is a “retrovirus.” This group of viruses, which include human AIDS (HIV), are viruses which stay hidden in the effected animal for months or years before starting to cause disease. Unfortunately, once persistently infected, there is no cure, and the disease is fatal, although cats may live many healthy years with the virus before becoming unwell.
What signs to look out for
Feline Leukaemia Virus causes disease of the immune system. Therefore, there are lots of different symptoms that may not all be present in every cat. It is a good idea to test most unwell cats who may have been exposed. Signs include:
- Weight loss
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Recurring infections
- Dental disease
How do cats catch FeLV?
Cats can pass the virus between themselves through saliva and close contact, including from their mother as kittens, sharing a food bowl, or fighting.
How do we test for FeLV?
We have an in-house test for FeLV (and FIV) that can tell us in 10 minutes whether a cat is infected by Feline Leukaemia Virus. This test is up to 99% accurate, but we do sometimes recommend re-checking a healthy cat’s result with a second lab test, or repeating the test in a few weeks time, depending on circumstances.
How do we treat FeLV?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for FeLV. We can help treat the symptoms associated with the disease, but unfortunately, persistent infection is invariably fatal.
More information can be found here