Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is considered the most common cause of death from infectious disease in cats. When the virus enters the cat’s body it prevents the immune system from acting properly making it more susceptible to all kinds of infections.

Transmission occurs through direct contact with the saliva or nasal secretions of an infected cat, so common sources of water or food effectively result in infection. Transplacental transmission through lactation and venereal can also occur.

Clinical symptoms can be non-specific such as lack of appetite, weight loss, depression, vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms may arise from secondary infections of a specific organ system and neoplasms.

Currently there is no cure for Feline Leukemia, so the best way to prevent your pet from contracting FeLV is to prevent it. This involves keeping the cats indoors, avoiding sharing common sources of water and food, and performing the disease screening test before introducing a new cat.

Vaccination can be considered in seronegative cats at high risk of infection (ie in contact with other cats). Infected cats should not be vaccinated hence the importance of screening. However, owners should be aware that the potential effectiveness of the vaccine is less than 100%, so a vaccinated cat exposed to the virus may contract infection.

Infected cats must also be kept indoors to prevent infection from other cats outside and at the same time to avoid infection by opportunistic agents.

Screening for FIV and FeLV can be performed using a rapid blood test (ELISA). In this way, you can more effectively fight diseases that can compromise the kitten’s health and vitality at home.

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