Feline Leukemia: How Does It Affect Cats?
Like humans, cats experience various diseases but perhaps the most dangerous or fatal of them all is what is referred to as Feline Leukemia Virus or FeLV. Though similar to the virus which causes the immunodeficiency virus or what is commonly referred to as FIV and human AIDS, Feline Leukemia can not be contracted by another animal nor could it be transmitted to a human.
Feline Leukemia is one of the most common reasons for cat's death. In fact, a 21% of these cats bought to health experts of veterinarians report that such cats are afflicted with it while thirty percent have developed malignant tumors already. This is usually contracted by other cats through exchanges of fluids like saliva, urine, feces of afflicted cats and or tears. Heating however neutralizes the virus. It can also be passed through bites, grooming and sharing of foods or liquids between cats with either one having the virus. Fleas and mosquitoes are also carriers of the said ailment since they suck the blood of carriers then transmit it to others cats.
The good news is that seventy percent of these cats having contracted the virus for a long period of time eventually recover. Some even show no signs at all that they had contracted such a disease. However, weaker cats or kittens in particular have difficulty fighting of the ailment. This can be dangerous or fatal when an afflicted cat resides in a cat-filled residence.
Conducting medical tests at kittens is a reliable preventive measure. Cats establishing a resistance or the antibodies against the said virus through vaccines do not get sick though it does not signify that the disease has been totally eradicated. Cats experiencing stress or suffering from lack of immunity due to incorrect medication can fall ill again from FeLV.
Feline Leukemia usually starts with the mough tissues being infected which gradually spreads through the lymph glands. At this point, the cat can still do something about it but if spreads the bone marrow then the cat is doomed for life. It will eventually spread through blood circulation which eventually infects the tear glands, salivary glands and urinary bladder. Because of the widespread, the cat becomes an effective carrier of the virus. Other related conditions can include but not limited to the following; blood in stool, immune system failure, bleeding, increased in fluid intake and urination ulcers and many more.
With all these said, perhaps the best way to prevent the virus from spreading is to quarantine the infected cat. Vaccinations can also be a solution though some disagree in conducting such an approach especially to those already afflicted since it tends to weaken the immune system of the feline, which makes it more susceptible to the disease. And even though the cat is already injected with a vaccine, it is still not recommended to have it mingle with other cats.
It is always advisable to have a cat undergo a ELISA or kit test or IFA, a slide test before it is introduced to a new cat environment or before it is even bred with another. ELISE being conducted in a veterinarian's clinic can potentially detect the initial and secondary stages of the disease after it has reached the bone marrow. The IFA on the other hand can find the virus in its secondary stage.
And even if the results are negative, it does not immediately mean that the cat is free from it since the virus has a long time incubation period. And such cats can still potentially infect other virus-free cats. Blood counting, blood chemistry, x-rays are but a few diagnostic tests which a cat may undergo.
Unfortunately, with all this information, there is still no reliable cure for Feline Leukemia. It can only be controlled. Other than a stream-lined diet and high-doses or vitamin Cs and other standard treatments, a cure is still yet to be discovered. The best approach would probably to prevent any possibility for a cat to contract such a disease through the aforementioned means.