Feline Leukemia is a fatal virus that affects the immune system. It is also responsible for some cancers like lymphosarcoma, which is a cancer of lymph nodes. Noticing and knowing what the signs and symptoms of feline leukemia is crucial in getting it diagnosed early. It sometimes goes by FeLV for a shorter term.
After accidents, Feline Leukemia is the number one thing that kills cats. One in ten cats is a carrier of Feline Leukemia Virus, thus able to pass it to other cats and spread the infection to other cats. It is a disease that mimics and has the same crippling effects of human AIDS. The virus knocks down the natural immunity to a degree that the bacteria or virus can then multiply undetected and cause the disease. The virus and its bacteria are in the cat’s mouth, nose, lungs, skin, and such at all times.
Symptoms that are usually noticeably exhibited by infected cats are usually results of a secondary infection that has occurred because of the cat’s immune system becoming weak. Most symptoms that are first noticed are a lack of activity or loss of energy, swollen lymph nodes, or a fever. Although these could be a mood swing or caused by something other than Feline Leukemia Disease, they still should be noted and watched.
As time passes and the disease progresses, symptoms of feline leukemia become more obvious. There could be blood in the stool, a loss of appetite, coughing, gagging, tumors, poor coat, weight loss, loss of gum color, jaundice, difficulty swallowing, and ulcers at openings of the body i.e., ears, mouth and nose. If one or more of these symptoms are noticed the cat should be taken to a vet for a more extensive medical evaluation.
Sadly, there is no cure for feline leukemia. Once diagnosed, the best thing for an owner to do is to accept it and take precautions to stop the spread of the virus to fellow cats. An owner can protect their beloved cat from becoming infected with a vaccine that can aid in warding off such a virus.
Making sure that your cat is vaccinated and testing all cats before bringing a new one into your home are good measures to take in the prevention of spreading FeLV. Being that some many numbers of cats are carriers of Feline Leukemia, it is easy to see why it is the number one natural killer of felines. This makes it that much more important to vaccinate your cat or to be aware if your cat is positive.