Signs of feline leukemia are unmistakable. However, because the virus affects the immune system and results in other illnesses, these signs are often mistaken to be something else. They usually vary with the type of leukemia, depending on whether it is multicentric, chest or abdominal and keep changing as the disease progresses from one stage to the next.
If it is chest leukemia, the cat has difficulty in breathing due to accumulation of fluids in the chest and constricted windpipe and esophagus. Some common symptoms may include coughing, gargling and swollen lymph nodes in the chest region. Signs of feline leukemia of the abdomen include loss of appetite, jaundice, anemia, constipation, dehydration, depression and weight loss. Malignant cells may start forming in abdominal lymph nodes, intestines, kidneys and liver. Multicentric leukemia is characterized by swollen lymph nodes beneath the skin in different areas of the body and tumor formation occurs in several organs simultaneously.
Related Symptoms of Feline Leukemia
Feline leukemia virus can also cause other conditions like ulcers at body openings, immune suppression, reduced stamina, infertility, and immunity related diseases. You might also observe other signs of feline leukemia like more frequent urination, blood in stool and cloudy eyes. The cat sometimes suffers from cystitis, neurological disorders or inflammatory bowel disease. Since FeLV is transmitted via body fluids like tears, saliva, urine, etc., you’ll need to be very particular about their hygiene. Other cats in the household too should be vaccinated and tested two to three times every year.
Pet Insurance for Cats
More than two out of every three cats contract FeLV once in their lifetime. One out of every five sick cats gets diagnosed with feline leukemia. Not only this, leukemia is also responsible for one-third of all malignant tumors in cats. The disease has no cure but there are ways to control and slow down its progress. Given an extremely high rate of incidence and expensive treatment and control procedures, it is advisable that you invest in a suitable pet insurance plan before your cat shows signs of feline leukemia as insurance doesn’t cover diseases diagnosed as pre-existing conditions.