Cat Leukemia




Cat Leukemia
Cat Leukemia is a retrovirus, its called a retrovirus because of the way it acts within cells it affects. Once in a cell they are able to produce enzymes that create copies of them selves in the affected cell.
Affected Cats may very depending on such things as:

  • Age

  • Health

  • Environment

  • Lifestyle

Cat leukemia virus is not that common among cats with only around 3% of cats in America being affected. The % goes up when it involves cats that are ill, young or have a higher risk of becoming ill.


Diagnosing Cat Leukemia Virus
A blood test is the most common way of diagnosing Cat leukemia virus, with their being two types of this test. Both test, test for the protein part of the virus. The first test that can be carried out can normally be done at your veterinary clinic and test for enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. This test shows the first and second stages of the viruses infection. Indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay must be tested at a laboratory and diagnoses the second stage of Cat leukemia, if positive then your cat will have Cat leukemia for the rest of their life.
Your vet will most probably use the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay test in order to identify if your cat has the Cat leukemia virus. If positive, your vet may test indirect immunofluorescent antibody essay to find out weather the virus has reached the second stage and become irreversible. Your vet may even decide to carry out this final test more than once to make sure the result is correct as false results are possible.

Preventing Cat Leukemia Virus
You can prevent your cat from catching Cat leukemia virus by stopping them being exposed to it. You can achieve this by keeping your cat indoors and if let outside, keep a close eye on them so they do not come into contact with other cats that may have the virus and pass it on. Make sure that if you have an uninfected cat and are introducing another, that the new cat is free from the virus. A vaccination is also available and should be discussed with your vet about the advantages and disadvantages of administering it.

Managing your Cat Leukemia Infected Cat
To begin with it may be a good idea to confine your cat to your home so they cant interact with other animals and catch other diseases that may create more problems, and to prevent spreading the virus to other cats. If your infected cat has not been spayed or neutered, it may be a good idea to do so. Give your cat a balanced and nutritious diet as this will help keep them healthy. Its best to avoid feeding your cat any food that is uncooked as foods like raw meat and eggs have bacteria that will have a greater affect on your cat.
It may be a good idea to twice a year, take your cat to your local vet for an examination and also keep an eye on their behaviour as this can indicate something being wrong.

Life expectancy with Cat Leukemia
This is very difficult to determine. Your cat could live for months or even years, it all depends on how they are affected by a low immune system. If they catch a serious illness then their life may be very short.


Spreading Cat Leukemia Virus
Cat leukemia virus can be spread by:

  • Saliva

  • Nasal Secretion

  • Urine

  • Feces

  • Milk from a cat

Ways it can be spread:

  • Bite wound

  • When a cat grooms another cat

  • When cats share a litter box

  • When cats share a feeding bowel

  • Possibly from the mother cat to her kitten before birth

  • By the affected mothers milk when feeding her kittens

Cat leukemia virus can not last very long outside a cats body, it may survive only a couple of hours. Your cat will be at a higher risk of catching Cat leukemia if around another cat that has it. This could be from another cat in your household or if your cat is allowed outside unsupervised.
Kittens are a lot more susceptible to catching Cat leukemia when compared to an adult cat. They are about 70% more likely to catch Cat leukemia if exposed compared to an adult cat who may only have a 30% chance of catching Cat leukemia if exposed.

What does Cat Leukemia Result in
Cat leukemia virus can affect your cat in many ways such as causing cancers and blood disorders. It can also lead to an immune deficiency resulting in your cats body being unable to protect its self against other illnesses. With a lower immune system your cat is more likely to be affected by the likes of bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi. These can all affected your cat during day to day life and become a big problem.

Signs of Problems Caused by Cat Leukemia
If your cat has Cat leukemia, it may take weeks if not months or years for signs to appear. Your cats health may get worse over a long period of time and this may include reoccurring illnesses. Signs of this may be:

  • Less interested in food

  • Steady weight loss

  • Bad fur condition

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Constant high temperature

  • Pale gums

  • Pale mucus membranes

  • Inflamed gums

  • Inflamed mouth

  • Infections on the skin

  • Infected bladder

  • Respiratory tract infection

  • Prolonged diarrhea

  • Seizures

  • Behaving differently

  • Eye conditions

  • For fertile female cats, failing to reproduce.

The Two Stages of Cat Leukemia
First stage: primary viremia is the earliest stage of Cat leukemia, with some cats immune system being able to fight the virus of. If the antibodies are unsuccessful, this results in the second stage.
Second stage of viremia: This results in the bone marrow being infected and is at the point of no return meaning your cat will have the virus for the rest of their life.


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  • What are the symptoms of Cat Leukemia ?
  • Cat Leukemia treatment
  • Does my pet insurance cover for Cat Leukemia ?
  • Questions about Cat Leukemia ? Seek advice from your veterinary surgeon !
  • Is Cat Leukemia contagious ?
  • Can I vaccinate my cat against Cat Leukemia ?
  • Is Cat Leukemia a serious problem ?
  • Need information about Cat Leukemia ?
  • Symptoms of Cat Leukemia health problems
  • Can I insure my pet cat or kitten against Cat Leukemia ?
  • Guide to Cat Leukemia - a cats health problem

Cat Leukemia


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The intensions of this site is to give you helpful information about the health of your pet cat. It is to provide helpful facts and information to help aid in raising your cat or kitten. This site and its information is not for self diagnosing your pet cat with any illness or sickness. Professional help should be sought - Visit your local veterinary surgeon or practitioner, you may also need to consider whether your pet cat or kitten should be taken to a Cat or cat hospital. Be warned vet bills can be very costly, we strongly recommend the purchase of pet insurance before health problems occur. Cat health insurance is a must as Cat illness can be very expensive, insurance will give much needed help in affording health related bills.

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